Consuming alcohol is widely prevalent within American society. According to the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), of adults surveyed in 2014 in the United States, “71 percent reported that they drank in the past year. They continued to say, that of this percentage “16.3 million adults ages 18 and older (6.8 percent of this age group) had an alcohol use disorder (AUD).”
When alcohol is causing distress to a person in a capacity that is causing them notable harm, oftentimes an intervention may need to occur. This intervention may be a person interceding on their own behalf or it may be done by a family member or through a court order. Today, there exist numerous tools to help determine the extent of this damage, and the prevalence of alcohol use and abuse within a person’s life. One of the most commonly used tools to ascertain the presence of an AUD is the Alcohol Use Inventory (AUI).
What Is An Alcohol Use Disorder?
An alcohol use disorder is a term that medical personal use as a diagnosis for an individual who has encountered a significant measure of harm or disruption in life due to drinking. Previously, the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) listed two disorders that dealt with these scenarios—either alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence. Currently, in the most recent 5th edition of the DSM, this designation has been changed. Now, these two disorders have merged into one—what we now call an alcohol use disorder. This disorder is classified into the following as a diagnostic tool: mild, moderate, and severe.
Drinking, though socially acceptable and encouraged, is not without danger. NIAAA reports that “nearly 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making it the fourth leading preventable cause of death in the United States.” These deaths may have stemmed from a variety of alcohol-related incidents, two of which include binge or heavy drinking. Most importantly, these deaths can be preventable with intervention, proper education, and treatment.
The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence advises us of further dangers, stating that “over time, excessive alcohol use, both in the form of heavy drinking or binge drinking, can lead to numerous health problems, chronic diseases, neurological impairments and social problems.”
NIAAA defines binge drinking as “a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men—in about 2 hours.” This illustrates that even on the nights that a person is drinking socially, he may in fact be endangering his health and wellbeing. As defined by SAMHSA, heavy drinking is “drinking 5 or more drinks on the same occasion on each of 5 or more days in the past 30 days.”
Why Do We Assess People’s Drinking?
In order to provide the most effective treatment, a provider must understand the extent by which a person’s life is effected by alcohol. Some individuals may exhibit worrisome drinking, but may not yet have a dependency. This use and abuse may stem from various life circumstances or emotions, including loneliness, boredom, fear, a desire to fit in, or possibly to be more socially inclined.
If they’re not careful, some of these people’s drinking behaviors may progress into heavier and more constant drinking, which could form a dependence. For others, as this drinking may be vastly situational—and at times temporary—if the aforementioned situations resolve themselves or a person alters their perception or perspective, they might curb their drinking and again consume only what is considered to be social or low-risk drinking. Some of these people may even stop drinking altogether. The capacity to change like this is because these people were not struggling with a dependence.
For an individual who struggles with alcohol dependence, the body has reached a point where it has become physically dependent on alcohol. Tolerance has increased, he may struggle with the inability to quit, and if he does succeed in quitting, he will experience withdrawal symptoms.
Denial is a hallmark of substance abuse. It is a very dangerous and crippling emotion, one that can stunt a person’s growth towards sobriety and prevent them from receiving the care that they need. An assessment or screening can go beyond this and provide a clear picture of the reality of the situation so that a person can receive the help that they might not yet know they need.
A person who suffers from a dependency or alcoholism will require a different mode of treatment than a person who abuses alcohol without symptoms of physical dependency. Certain elements, such as therapy and education, might be the same—and in the case of a person who is drinking heavily for a period of time without dependency, this might be enough to achieve resolution. However, in the case of alcoholism, a person might need to receive treatment that is more in depth and requires a level of intensity that may be best served in an inpatient or outpatient treatment program.
For those who suffer from a dependency, there are greater health concerns, including the risk of withdrawal. Withdrawal can be very serious and can at times even be life-threatening; this is not something that a person should go through on his own. Thoroughly assessing a person’s drinking habits can help a provider to determine if he is high-risk for withdrawal. This will help them to plan accordingly and provide supportive care for this critical time.
What Is The Alcohol Use Inventory?
Just as each person is unique and comes from a background and current life circumstances that are different from the next person, each person will have different attitudes regarding behaviors and engagements with alcohol. This test is beneficial for the reason that it recognizes these things and allows for a unique representation of alcohol’s effects on a person’s life.
The AUI is a self-report inventory, which means that when you take it you are taking it on your own and not being interviewed. A potential downfall of this methodology is that it requires complete honesty. As we’ve discussed before, denial is commonplace for those who suffer from alcohol abuse. This, along with any confusion or deliberate attempts to mislead, could sway the results. If you find yourself in a situation that presents you with the opportunity to take this inventory, remember—it is in your best interest to be honest so that you can get the help you need to get your life back on track.
This inventory consists of 228 questions that are broken down into 24 scales. These questions focus on the following, as defined by NIAAA:
- Perceptions of benefits derived from drinking
- Styles of drinking
- Ideas about consequences of drinking
- Thoughts about how to deal with drinking problems
This assessment provides a provider—whether it be a doctor, therapist, or an individual who works at a rehabilitation facility—a venue by which to determine how often, how much, and for how long a person’s has been drinking for. The results of this inventory will be compared to any other determinations the substance abuse professional may have made, which may include interviews, other assessments, or screening tools. Combined, these things can also help to illustrate how these alcohol-related factors impact a person’s life or how they perceive their drinking and the effects on their life; oftentimes these two things may be radically different.
Let Us Assist You In Determining The Help That Is Right For You
Please don’t let your fear or shame get in the way of gaining control over your drinking. If you’re worried that your drinking has gone beyond what you once considered to be social, if you find that you engage in binge or heavy drinking, or if suffer the symptoms of an alcohol dependency, please give us a call today. Our staff has the resources to help you find answers to any questions you have and the tools to help you succeed in your sobriety. Contact us today at AlcoholTreatment.net.
It is estimated that one in twelve Americans have a problem with alcohol abuse or dependence. When searching for a definition of what constitutes alcoholism, one thing is clear: it is not only how often you drink, but also the manner by which you drink, the quantity in which you drink, and the effects of drinking on your life, that allow for the idea of addiction or alcoholism to be applied to alcohol consumption.
What Is Considered Moderate Drinking?
Dietary Guidelines for Americans considers the following to be moderate consumption: up to one drink per day for women and up to two drinks per day for men. However, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse considers low-risk drinking as “no more than 3 drinks on any single day” for women and “no more than 4 drinks on any single day” for men. It is important to note that this standard applies to a singular day, and is not intended to be a guideline for usage over the course of several days. If, for instance, a woman consumed three drinks every day for a week, totaling 21 drinks, she would be severely over 7 drinks per week; which is considered the maximum amount to stay within the low-risk category.
Excessive Alcohol Use and Its Characteristics
The CDC notes that “excessive alcohol use includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, any alcohol use by people under the minimum legal drinking age, and any alcohol use by pregnant women.”
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as “a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level to 0.08% or more.” Binge drinking occurs when alcohol is generally consumed within a two-hour period at the rate of four or more drinks for women and five or more drinks for men. Heavy drinking reflects on an individual’s weekly consumption; for women that amount is eight drinks or more, whereas for men it is fifteen.
When considering an individual’s drinking habits, it is important, no matter what the frequency, to be on the lookout for these warning signs: routine drinking, changes in habit, and physical changes. When any or all of these behaviors become present it can be indicative that social drinking may have progressed into the more dangerous realm of alcohol abuse, or dependency.
Is There A Difference Between Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism?
Yes. And when considering the ramifications of alcohol use on an individual’s life it is very important to become educated and understand the similarities and differences between the two. Both alcohol abuse and alcoholism are harmful to your health; each require specific treatment and are best handled under the care of a trained professional. It is especially important to understand that alcohol abuse, if left unchecked to continue long-term, can turn into alcohol dependence.
Above, we’ve outlined the generally accepted guidelines for low-risk, moderate drinking. Alcohol abuse is anything that surpasses this in amount or frequency. Alcohol abuse constitutes a pattern of drinking that negatively impacts your life. This behavior has harmful repercussions on health, both physical and mental, relationships, and also in one’s ability to perform work properly.
Alcoholism is a dependence on alcohol characterized by a habitual use of alcohol; it is both a physical and mental addiction. According to the American Society for Addiction Medicine, “alcoholism is a primary, chronic disease with genetic, psychosocial, and environmental factors influencing its development and manifestations.”
For an individual addicted to alcohol, they have an excessive preoccupation with alcohol in regards to its use and effects. This mental absorption can result in both attention and responsibility being diverted away from crucial areas of a person’s life and commitments. As their functional tolerance increases, they find themselves drinking more to achieve the desired effect. They also find themselves committing increasing amounts of time to the cycle of drinking and recovering, while taking that time away from their relationships with others.
For someone struggling with an alcohol addiction, they often lack the ability to cease or control their drinking. When they do stop, this sudden abatement is accompanied by physical symptoms, including: nausea, sweating, shakiness, anxiety, an irregular heartbeat, or even seizures. Alcohol is one of the most dangerous drugs to withdraw from. These dangerous withdrawal symptoms are called delirium tremens, or more commonly DTs; they may be potentially deadly. Please be advised, that anytime a person attempts to reduce or cease their consumption of alcohol, it is best undergone with the supervision of a trained, medical professional.
How Do I Determine If I, Or Someone I Love Has A Problem?
Individuals who struggle with alcohol abuse or dependency may have a hard time admitting the full impact of the drug on their life. We’ve compiled the following list of signs and symptoms that might be indicative of an underlying problem:
- Having trouble quitting or “staying on the wagon”
- Memory loss or “blackouts”
- Drinking more or for longer periods of time then you intended
- Increased tolerance
- Decreased interest or involvement in activities that were previously important to you
- Engaging in situations or activities while under the influence that can potentially be unsafe to yourself or others
- Finding that your drinking is interfering with relationships, school, work or other responsibilities
- An increased preoccupation with drinking
- Hiding or disputing that you have a problem
In addition, one of the simplest and most widely used tests is the CAGE questionnaire that follows. Answer the questions as honestly as you can.
- Have you ever felt you needed to cut down on your drinking?
- Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?
- Have you ever felt guilty about drinking?
- Have you ever felt you needed a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover?
If you answered yes to two or more of the questions, it is quite possible that you may have a problem. It is important to remember that proper education is necessary to fully understand what constitutes alcoholism; the observation of a trained professional can be the most useful tool in determining the extent of an individual’s problem. We recommend that you seek help, to assist either you or your loved one navigate your situation and the treatment options that are right for you.
Reach Out To Us Today
Please contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net if you have any further questions about an alcohol addiction, its signs or symptoms, or if you would like information about entering into a rehabilitation facility. We are here to help you get on a healthy path to recovery, so reach out to us today and get your life back on track.
For college students, it’s that time of year again: final exams, holiday parties, and the excitement of winter break. While the holidays can be a joyful time of year for these students, too much partying and drinking can be problematic.
This is especially true of college students, as they remain one of the highest consumers of alcohol in the country. It’s prevalent in many functions throughout the year: football games, parties, fraternity and sorority events, etc. There are many reasons why young adults turn to alcohol, and for college students, alcohol remains their drug of choice.
In a survey conducted in 2009 by the National Institutes of Health, it was found that 4 out of 5 college students drink at least occasionally. More troubling is the fact that 40% of college students admitted to binge drinking at least one time within two weeks of taking the survey.
Binge drinking involves consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time with the aim of becoming intoxicated. For men, binge drinking consists of drinking five or more standard drinks in a row. For women, binge drinking means drinking four or more drinks in a row. The National Household Drug Abuse Survey notes that binge drinking has the highest prevalence for those aged 18 to 25, with 21 being the peak age for binge drinkers.
Why Many College Students Drink Alcohol
For many students, college is the first time they are away from home. For students under the age of 21, alcohol is often viewed as forbidden fruit. Under-aged college students may view alcohol as a way to fit in with their peers or even as a “rite of passage” into adulthood. Some students may think that drinking alcohol is just “experiencing college life” and want to focus on living in the moment at parties or other social events.
But these are not the only reasons college students abuse alcohol. Hazing is another unfortunate event that happens on many college campuses. Students involved in athletic, Greek, or other organizations can be exposed to hazing that involves alcohol or other activities that are abusive, dangerous, or even lethal. The National Study of Student Hazing reports that more than 50% of college students that are involved in clubs, organizations, or teams are victims of hazing.
Another reason for college aged drinking is that youth view alcohol as an escape from the pressures of college coursework. Many times, students cannot cope with the pressures to get good grades from professors, parents, or the pressure they put on themselves and turn to alcohol to reduce stress. Others work hard to receive good grades and feel they can cut loose on the weekends.
According to the National Institutes of Health, 25% of college students that drink suffer consequences in their academic performance such as: missing class, failing exams, struggling with assignments, falling behind, and even receiving lower grades.
Even worse, the National Institutes of Health notes that 1,825 college students aged 18-24 die each year due to alcohol related injuries. Abusing alcohol at any age can impair your cognitive functioning and decision-making skills. Impaired cognitive decisions while under the influence of alcohol can lead to disastrous results.
More Serious Risks
Drinking alcohol can also lead to other serious consequences. The more a college student drinks, the more they increase the chances for the following:
- Unprotected Sex: 13% of college students reported having unprotected sex after a night of heavy drinking
- Assault: Each year, 690,000 students aged 18-24 were assaulted by another college student that was currently under the influence of alcohol
- Driving While Intoxicated: Every year, more than 3.3 million college students aged 18-24 drive while intoxicated
- Injuries: Each year, about 599,000 college students sustain injuries related to alcohol use
- Sexual Abuse: 97,000 college students per year are victims of alcohol-related sexual abuse or date rape
Seek Help Today
There are many other signs to look for if you are concerned a college student you know is struggling from alcohol addiction, such as: decreased interest in favorite activities, hanging out with those that influence them negatively, lying about their behaviors, stealing, rapid mood swings, or denial of the problem.
Addiction is a serious mental illness that needs to be addressed professionally. To learn more, contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net today. We can help you find the right treatment option for you or your loved one.
Struggling from alcoholism and mental illnesses, such as bipolar disorder, is called a dual-diagnosis, dual-disorder, or co-occurring disorder. A dual-diagnosis of bipolar disorder and alcoholism occurs in 50% of individuals struggling from bipolar disorder.
If you or someone you know is struggling from bipolar disorder and alcoholism, there are many dual-diagnosis rehab facilities that will treat both illnesses
A Dangerous Combination
Bipolar disorder and alcoholism are a very dangerous combination. Often, individuals suffering from bipolar disorder seek alcohol as a temporary fix for their symptoms. However, mixing bipolar disorder and alcohol actually worsens the symptoms and severity of both bipolar disorder and alcoholism. Having bipolar disorder and alcoholism can increase your chances of violence, depression, mood swings, and suicide.
The Three Possible Factors
While medical professionals and scientists are still trying to fully understand how bipolar disorder and alcoholism are associated, there are three possible factors that likely play a role:
- Depression And Anxiety
Some individuals drink as a temporary fix to ease the pains of depression, anxiety, and other bipolar disorder symptoms. Initially, drinking may seemingly ease bipolar disorder, but it actually worsens those symptoms. Unfortunately, this can cause an individual to attempt to treat those symptoms with more drinking, which results in a vicious cycle of abuse.
- Inherited Traits
Genetic disposition also appears to play a role in bipolar disorder and alcoholism. Differences in genes seem to affect the brain chemistry linked to bipolar disorder. The same traits may also play a role in how the brains of those struggling from bipolar disorder respond to alcohol and other substances.
After a depressive episode, an individual with bipolar disorder may experience an intense burst of euphoria (elevated mood) and hyperactivity. The euphoria causes individuals to have bad judgment and lowered inhibitions. During this stage of euphoria, the individual is even more at risk of abusing alcohol or other substances.A common misconception is that a person in a manic state is happy. This is not always the case. The key to focus on is “elevated mood”. Some individuals, while in the manic state, are frightened, become edgy, or are even irritable.Other signs of mania can include: frivolous spending; decreased or inability to sleep; and the inability to control thoughts or actions. While a patient is in a manic state, it may be very difficult to reason with them.
Contact Us Today
While it is common to think that bipolar is a rare mental illness, bipolar disorder affects around 5.7 million American adults, or 2.6% of the population aged 18 or older. This is a very serious problem that must be addressed. Treating alcoholism only and not treating bipolar disorder or vice versa can lead to relapse. Contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net to learn more about rehab centers near you that can help you regain a sober lifestyle.
Living with a spouse who excessive drinks too often is a difficult problem, and if they suffer from an addiction to alcohol, it’s even worse. Not only will their behavior change, but their physical appearance and their overall health can severely deteriorate. That’s why it’s important to understand how to get your loved one to quit drinking. This process takes a carefully measured and monitored approach.
Knowing When Your Spouse Has A Problem
If you’re concerned about your spouse’s drinking, it’s important to gauge if they truly suffer from an addiction to alcohol or if they are a binge drinker. There is a fine line between binge drinking five beers on a Friday and drinking 3-4 beer every night. For example, people who truly suffer from an alcohol problem often show severe withdrawal symptoms whenever they stop drinking.
Feelings of nausea, headaches, paranoia, confusion, and even delirium tremens can and will occur in a person who suffers from true alcohol addiction and force them to continue drinking. A binge drinker may be sober six days in a week without any kind of physical withdrawal symptoms.
Other signs that your loved one may suffer from an addiction to alcohol include:
- Neglecting personal responsibilities to drink
- An increasing number of fights between you
- Using drinking as a form of relaxation or stress relief
- Legal problems associated with drinking
- Refusal to quit, even when it’s clear there is a problem
If your spouse is a binge drinker, you should still try to get them to stop drinking. Binge drinking can be physically and emotionally dangerous, especially if it leads to fights between the two of you. It can also lead to your spouse developing a real addiction to alcohol.
Alcohol Is Not Just A Problem With Men
When people think of a “drinking spouse,” they probably most often think of a husband. While studies have shown that men do suffer from alcoholism at a higher rate than women, that doesn’t mean women don’t. In fact, a wife suffering from alcohol addiction can be just as problematic and dangerous to a relationship.
And studies have backed up the fact that excessive alcohol consumption rarely does marriages any favors. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) has stated that dual alcohol addiction had led to a variety of marriage problems, including:
- Difficulty communicating
- Severe violence
- Problems with financial stability
- Separation and divorce
These problems, whether you’re a husband or a wife, can tear your marriage in two. That’s why you need to find a way to help your spouse quit drinking and to steer them in the direction towards lifelong sobriety.
Breaking Down Addiction Triggers
Before talking to your spouse about their problem, it’s important to understand their drinking triggers. Everyone who suffers from addiction has activities, situations, or people that trigger their problematic behavior and your spouse is no different.
Maybe they drink after you guys have a fight or whenever you go out to eat as a couple. Perhaps a visit from their favorite cousin (a lifelong drinking buddy) pushes them into excessive bouts of drinking. Whatever the trigger, identifying them can help you work together to eliminate their negative influence.
Follow this process to identify your spouse’s drinking triggers:
- Pay attention to when they drink
- Write down instances that cause them to drink more
- Rate their triggers by severity
- Brainstorm ways to lessen or eliminate these influences from their life
Discussing Addiction Consequences
Sit down with your spouse and discuss the consequences of their drinking. This shouldn’t be a personal attack or a threat. Behaving in a negative or aggressive way will only cause further problems. Instead you need to calmly explain the problems associated with their drinking. Specific examples may include:
- Loss of friends
- Stalled career
- Disassociation with family (especially children)
- Marriage problems you’ve suffered
- Financial or legal problems caused by drinking
During this discussion, you’re going to have a lot of accusations thrown at you. They may even try to blame their addiction on some of your past behaviors or actions. Don’t get defensive, but instead, apologize for any legitimate problems you may have caused. This will encourage them to reconcile and admit they have a problem.
An honest, loving, and caring approach to discussing these consequences (and dealing with past issues in a constructive way) can help you and your partner move forward towards designing an addiction recovery plan.
Design A Recovery Plan
Once your spouse is ready to move forward in recovery, the two of you can work together to create a sobriety plan. This plan will recognize their drinking triggers, work to eliminate their occurrence, and create a plan that promotes emotional and physical sobriety.
Start by eliminating any of the physical triggers that may cause your spouse to drink. These acts may include no longer visiting certain friends or taking new routes around past drinking spots. Next, you need to work on eliminating emotional cues, such as fights between you or looking to drinking as a “relaxing” habit.
Implementing a plan that addresses these concerns should be more than enough to help your spouse quit drinking. However, you also need to create a relapse plan in case of an emergency.
Getting Help If You Need It
Attending rehab is a relapse plan that has been proven to be effective. Rehabs with programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, cognitive-behavior therapy, detoxification procedures, and even holistic alternative therapies are often effective. If your spouse is trying to quit drinking and needs help or has relapsed after a period of sobriety, please contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net.
It’s a Friday night. Your buddies are telling you to relax and grab some drinks. You know you probably shouldn’t, but they keep pressuring you, so you finally give in. You’re watching a football game with your best friends on a Saturday night. Your peers are cheering you on to drink just a few more. Your team is winning, so why not celebrate? So, you drink. Or maybe you’re in college and the alcohol is flowing at a party. You want to fit in. You don’t want to be “that guy” or “that girl.” So you drink, and drink, and drink.
Alcohol abuse and social acceptance of drinking alcohol is a vicious cycle. You have a tendency to drink and the culture you are around (a party or college atmosphere, a celebration, etc.) lulls you into a false sense of security. If they are drinking, it must be okay. You want to fit in and be accepted. You’ve had drinks before and you try to tell yourself that you’re just a “social” drinker or a “weekend” drinker. Or maybe you are in college and you tell yourself that once you graduate, you’ll stop drinking. But the truth is that you are using social acceptance of alcohol as an excuse for your alcohol abuse. And hey, that’s not okay.
More Acceptance + Less Stigma = A Bad Combination
Alcohol is one of the substances that is more socially accepted than other drugs. It also doesn’t carry the same stigma that other drugs might. Parties, weddings, many college campus atmospheres, birthday celebrations, and other events encourage and supply alcohol. With alcohol so prevalent in our lives, we begin to normalize it into our daily behaviors. We might even mistakenly think that alcohol abuse is a term left for extreme circumstances. But alcohol abuse is very prevalent in our society. In the U.S., 17.9 million Americans (1 in 12 adults) suffer from alcohol abuse and/or dependence and millions more have risky drinking behaviors that could lead to alcohol abuse. Because alcohol is so prevalent, many people are desensitized to its dangerous effects.
Are We Really Being Desensitized To Alcohol?
Maybe it’s not obvious how much exposure you may have to alcohol on a daily or weekly basis. We really are bombarded a lot in our lives by alcohol. Here are some examples of how you could be exposed to alcohol in your daily life in a socially acceptable way:
- TV, radio, magazine, or internet ads that mention alcohol in a positive light
- Attending a party/celebration/wedding, etc. that offers alcohol
- Exposure to alcohol in different environments such as home, school, or work
- Attending a sporting event that sells alcohol
- Exposure to billboards advertising alcohol
- Portrayals of alcohol in a positive light by movies, TV shows, and song lyrics.
- Peer pressure to drink amongst friends or even a romantic partner
- Social media posts about friends or family drinking or partying
- Attending a holiday party (Independence Day, Labor Day, etc.) where alcohol is present
- Going to a concert that offers alcohol
This is not an entire list, but it should be easy to see how much we are exposed to alcohol in our lives. We might not realize it at first because it is so prevalent. Increased alcohol exposure leads to more social acceptance and also desensitization.
Do I Have A Drinking Problem?
One of the first signs of an alcohol problem is that you have built up a tolerance to alcohol. You constantly must increase your alcoholic intake in order to feel the same buzz or relaxed feeling you once had with less alcohol.
Another sign you may have an alcohol addiction is withdrawal. When you haven’t been able to drink, do you experience headaches, vomiting, irritability, shakiness, anxiety, fatigue, sweating, etc.? If so, you may be going through withdrawal. This is your body’s way of telling you it needs more alcohol, and that is not good. In extreme cases, you may even experience a fever, seizures, confusion, hallucinations, or agitation. Call emergency services immediately if you experience these extreme withdrawal symptoms.
And finally, there are other signs that may point to alcohol abuse or dependence. These signs include:
- Losing control of your drinking: you drink more amounts or for longer than intended
- Desire to stop drinking but can’t: you desire to stop or cut back, but are unsuccessful
- Losing interest in other activities you once enjoyed because of alcohol.
- Devoting more time to drinking, recovering, or thinking about your next drink.
- Drinking even though you realize it’s causing harm to your body.
- Denying you have a problem or downplaying your situation.
- Blaming others or circumstances for your drinking behaviors.
- Stealing money from someone so that you can drink.
- Lying to friends or family about your drinking habits.
- Blacking out after drinking.
- Friends and family are concerned about your drinking habits.
- You feel ashamed or guilty about your drinking patterns.
- All your social activities involve drinking alcohol.
Should I Seek Help?
YES! If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol abuse, the best thing you can do is seek help. Alcohol abuse is being perpetuated by social acceptance of drinking alcohol in our society. If you are struggling from an alcohol addiction, seek help today before it’s too late. Alcohol abuse can lead to death, so don’t wait another minute to reach out. Seeking help is a courageous thing to do. You can help stop the vicious cycle of alcohol abuse and social acceptance of drinking alcohol by seeking help. We’re here for you at AlcoholTreatment.net. We’re ready to answer any questions you might have and here to listen and help.
Labor Day and its surrounding parties can be seen as a fun exclamation point that sends off summer with one last big blast. Unfortunately for people recovering from alcohol abuse or addiction, it often serves as a dangerous period of potential relapse. If you’re concerned about suffering from a relapse during this Labor Day season, keep these simple sober living tips in mind.
Talk About It First
Talk to the hosts of any party you plan on attending and explain your position. Most hosts will understand your personal needs and will try to respect it by offering non-alcoholic alternatives. When you’re at the party, politely decline any alcoholic drinks that may be offered to you. A majority of the people there should understand.
Just be aware that some people may actually become suspicious and resentful if you tell them you are recovering from addiction. Resentment like this is called the “lobster effect,” because it resembles the way that tanked lobsters behave when one tries to escape: they pull them back down.
In other words, people feel that you are labeling their drinking as a problem by abstaining or speaking of your own drinking as a problem. Many of them may even try to convince you that you don’t have a problem and pressure you to drink. Don’t fall down that slippery slope: just politely explain that you are not judging them, but are simply trying to take control of a situation that has been taking over your life.
Bring A Sober Buddy
Drinking is often a social situation and if being surrounded by so many drinkers severely tests your willpower, bring along a sober buddy. This friend can be someone who doesn’t drink or who is also going sober. They can steer you away from the temptation to drink and can also serve as a great companion if the drinking gets too hot and heavy.
Staying sober in a heavy drinking situation can also serve as a great example of how you may have behaved when you were still struggling with addiction. Seeing the silliness of typical drunken behaviors from the outside ruins the nostalgia you may still associate with partying.
Bring Your Own (Non-Alcoholic) Drinks
Bringing your own non-alcoholic drinks to a party ensures you have something safe to drink. Excellent non-alcoholic drinks that you can enjoy at a Labor Day party include:
- Orange juice
These drinks should be all that you and your sober buddy need to stay alcohol-free. However, if these drinks feel too “kiddish” or simple for you, there are several high-quality non-alcoholic drinks you can bring. However, for some people recovering from addiction, drinks like this can often seem very close to mixed drinks, and may trigger relapses.
Avoid Possible Trigger Situations
Before planning to attend any Labor Day party, take a moment to consider your common trigger situations. Are there any people at the party that may trigger a relapse? What about the location: is it at a home or a cottage where you have excessively drank in the past? Or the food: is any of the planned cuisine something you often paired with alcohol?
Relapse triggers are often psychologically difficult to resist, and if necessary, you may simply have to avoid going to any Labor Day party: avoiding hurt feelings isn’t worth the risk of relapse.
Search Out Sober Activities
If the temptation to drink is too strong at parties with alcohol, you can try out any of the sober activities offered by AA and non-12-step rehabilitation groups, such as The Camping Trip. People who attend these events have access to a wide range of activities, including:
- Sporting events
- Camping activities
- Friendly competitions
- Sober group discussions
Having a support group filled with people recovering from alcohol addiction can give you the strength you need to create a sober Labor Day.
Know How And When To Escape
If you’ve followed all these tips, but are still struggling to avoid taking a drink, make a quick exit as soon as possible. Don’t just stick around to be polite, because even taking one drink may start a chain reaction of relapse. Bringing your own car is the most sure-fire way to ensure you have a suitable way to escape.
Don’t worry too much about saying goodbye to anyone at the party: if your temptation is too strong, just go without explanation. If you fear any misunderstanding, call the host later. Any good friend will understand and support your need to escape.
Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help
If you are interested in learning about even more sober Labor Day activities or tips on staying alcohol-free, please don’t hesitate to contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net. Our free information can help you stay on the path to sober living this Labor Day.
Binge drinking has become an epidemic in America: one in six adults in the country admit to binge drinking eight or more drinks at least four times every month. Most of these binge drinkers fall in the age range of 18-34. What effect does all that alcohol consumption have on these young adults? It turns out it could be creating an entire generation of insomniacs. And that lack of sleep could be seriously damaging both mentally and physically.
Understanding The Sleep Pattern
Sleep is not one monolithic state with an unvarying pattern: it progresses through several patterns throughout the night. There are two basic states to the cycle: slow wave sleep or SWS and rapid eye movement or REM. Most people have heard of REM, as it is the state under which we dream.
However, over 75 percent of all sleep is in the SWS state. SWS is when our body goes through the physical maintenance procedures associated with rest, such as repairing injuries and supporting the health of cells. After about 90 minutes of SWS sleep, our body shifts to REM sleep for five to 30 minutes. REM repairs mental damage, calms our mind, consolidates memories, decreases anxiety, and rebuilds brain cells.
Alcohol, even in amounts much smaller than that consumed during a binge, seems to disrupt both SWS and REM states.
The Effect Of Alcohol On Your Sleep Pattern
Many people enjoy a drink or two a few hours before bed as they believe it helps them fall asleep. This “night cap” may contribute to a relaxed state of mind and increased drowsiness just prior to bed, but even one drink has been shown to actually decrease your restfulness at night.
A study by the Edinburgh Sleep Center found that small amounts of alcohol would decrease the amount of time a person spent in the REM stage. Time spent in SWS also decreased, which can cause people to wake up earlier than necessary feeling physically and mentally exhausted. Even worse, nightcaps have been shown to actually aggravate the symptoms of sleep apnea and sleepwalking, two conditions that are often self-medicated with a few drinks.
Binge Drinking Increases Those Risks
Extending the occasional nightcap to binge drinking produces a severe increase in the likelihood of developing insomnia symptoms. A study performed at the Bloomberg School of Public Health tested people who suffered from insomnia and found that 26.2 percent of them binged two or fewer times a week, while 3.1 percent binged more than twice a week.
In fact, the study states that binge drinkers are 84 percent more likely to suffer from frequent bouts of insomnia. And not getting enough sleep at night leads to sleep deprivation, a problem that can develop into sleep deficiency.
Sleep deficiency is a severe and sustained state of sleep deprivation that throws your body completely out of balance. People who suffer from sleep deficiency often experience dangerous physical problems, including:
- Heart disease
- Kidney failure
- Severe depression
The Connection Between Sleep Deficiency And Decreased Cognitive Performance
Sleep deficiency doesn’t just cause physical problems: it can extend to decreased cognitive skills. A sleep deprivation study published in the medical journal Sleep categorically showed that sleep deprivation is one of the leading causes of poor grades among college students.
The doctors performing the study found that binge drinking and sleep deficiency are often intricately linked: binge drinkers often stay up late partying. That lack of sleep can cause them to do poorly in school, which can can lead to increased levels of stress and, cyclically, even more more nights of self-medicating with binge drinking.
All that alcohol consumption inevitably increases the chance of developing a physical dependency. As a result, people long past college age often end up remaining binge drinkers who rarely sleep and whom have problems that are both physical and cognitive.
Help From AlcoholTreatment.net
Having a sleeping issue can be a catalyst for abuse of alcohol and can even lead to addiction. Contact us immediately at AlcoholTreatment.net if you or someone you know is a binge drinker or is suffering from alcohol-related sleep problems. We can help in offering services and support to those who need help. Facilities offering life skills lessons on how to get back to a healthy routine are just a call or click away. Contact us today and get your life back.
In America, alcohol-related disorders claim around 88,000 lives per year. Because of this, alcohol-related fatalities are the third leading preventable cause of death in America. A new government study that was released early this June found that more Americans are drinking more than ever before (and binge drinking is largely to blame). Around 33 million Americans have struggled with an alcohol-related problem, which is equal to 1 out of every 7 people. And more troubling still is that 1 in 3 Americans have suffered from an alcohol use disorder during their lifetimes. A staggering 80 percent of those who have an alcohol use disorder never seek any treatment at all.
An alcohol use disorder is a revised term created by psychologists to describe drinking behaviors that become problematic and severe. In the recently revised DSM-5 (or Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), psychologists have now combined “alcohol dependence disorder” with “alcohol abuse disorder” and made them into one term: “alcohol use disorders.”
How do you know if your drinking behaviors are problematic?
According to the new DSM-5, if you meet 2 of 11 symptoms, you could be classified as such. Having around 2 or 3 symptoms ranks the individual in the problematic category and having over 6 qualities lists the individual as having a severe problem. Some of the problems include having issues in your home/school/work life, failure to reduce your alcohol intake, and even having consistent hangovers.
Who is most likely at risk for alcohol-use disorders?
If you are a male, Caucasian, or Native American, you are at more risk than others to develop problematic drinking. Also, if you are younger (Americans under 30 years of age), have never been married, or even have low income, you are at a greater risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. And for city dwellers, you are more at risk of developing problematic drinking issues than those who live in rural places.
Treatment For Alcohol Use Disorders
While many may not realize that alcohol use disorders impact America in a big way, it is estimated that $224 billion are lost annually due to car accidents related to alcohol, DUIs, and medical expenses from alcohol use disorders. To get a better idea of how serious problematic drinking can be, every 22 minutes someone on the road is killed by an alcohol-related incident. With more prevention and attention to alcohol use disorders, these accidents can be avoided and many lives can be saved.
The first step: if you think your drinking habits are abnormal, you should seek professional guidance. Oftentimes though, those who meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder do not realize (or may not want to accept) that their drinking problems are abnormal and may even try to rationalize their behaviors as “acceptable,” “normal,” or “okay.” In those cases, a loved one or a close friend may need to intervene in convincing the individual to at least seek a mental healthcare professional’s opinion of their situation and habits. Concern for your health means that someone close to you cares a lot about you and although your first reaction may be on the defensive, realize that those who raise concerns are only trying to help.
If you are concerned for your own health but are embarrassed of your drinking habits, do not hesitate to seek help. Remember that you are not alone and that 33 million Americans struggle from alcohol use disorders. You deserve to treat your body well and not become part of the 80 percent who do not seek treatment. Dare to break the mold and don’t become a statistic. Even if a mental health professional determines that your current drinking habits are not problematic, at least you will gain insights into what is considered normal and problematic drinking behaviors. This can help you keep your drinking in check so that it never turns into an alcohol use disorder. And as they say, knowledge is always power.
Seeking Help Today
If you think you or someone you know is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, it’s always best to seek professional help. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Alcohol use disorder is preventable. Contact us at alcoholtreatment.net for more information and help getting into the best treatment for your addiction today.
Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS), also called “wet brain”, is a type of dementia that some people going through alcoholism might develop, usually towards the end stages. It’s caused by a deficiency in vitamin B1 (thiamine), which helps the body turn food into energy.
Thiamine is an important nutrient and all of the tissues in the body, including the brain, need it to function correctly. The body then takes thiamine to make a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that transports energy within cells. A deficiency in thiamine can seriously impact the nervous system, the heart and brain function.
Symptoms Of Wernicke-korsakoff Syndrome
Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome is a combination of two separate conditions; Wernicke’s encephalopathy and Korsakoff psychosis. Together, the two produce a long list of symptoms:
- Dramatic changes to vision
- Loss of muscle coordination
- Speech impediments
- Hard time swallowing
- Memory loss and confabulation (when an individual makes up stories to fill the gaps of memory loss and claiming them to be true)
- Inability to make sense when they speak
Separately, Wernicke’s encephalopathy occurs when there’s damage to the brain’s thalamus (which controls several processes, like sleep and sensory perception) and the hypothalamus (which controls body temperature, food and water intake, hunger and thirst, etc.), and Korsakoff psychosis occurs because of the damage to these parts of the brain where memories are created and managed.
Sometimes these symptoms can be hard to figure out in a person who is habitually intoxicated, but the very first sign of something wrong is a sudden feeling of confusion that is not caused by drinking. This differs from intoxicated confusion because it lasts even when the individual hasn’t been drinking. In the beginning, the ability to form new memories will be damaged; the end stage of WKS is coma and death if left untreated.
The Causes of Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome (WKS)
Although WKS is not caused solely by consuming alcohol, the typical lifestyle of a person habitually drinking alcohol where good nutrition is also often neglected does increase the likelihood of developing the disorder. The individual who lacks a proper diet over long periods of time, can lead to several nutritional deficiencies, especially thiamine. A lack of thiamine in a person’s diet can interfere with glucose metabolism and weakening the brain.
If caught early on, WKS is treatable through thiamine injections, which can improve an individual’s brain function and tissue condition. Most who find their way towards recovery can benefit from regaining all of what was lost, including vision and memory. Others who are treated later will have to deal with what was done to them from WKS, but can adapt to the change and abstain from alcohol completely with the proper care and assistance. Medications used for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease can also prove beneficial with helping the individual improve their memory.
However, if WKS has developed into the later stages and has been previously untreated, the brain is less likely to recover. In this instance, the best course of action is to prevent any additional deterioration by abstaining from further alcohol abuse.
Preventing Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome
The absolute best way to avoid WKS is to eat a balanced, healthy diet and not drinking alcohol, or to only drink in moderation, though sometimes this isn’t always the case. Those who consume alcohol heavily may be able to reduce their risk of WKS by taking regular thiamine supplements, though they would still be at risk from the additional side effects of long-term alcohol abuse.
If you believe that you or a loved one are starting to show signs of WKS, we are here to help. We can provide you with personalized treatment that is tailored to your specific needs and connect you to the right team of medical professionals and offer support to friends and family members. Remember, you do not have to face this alone; contacting us is the first step to recovery and a life free from alcohol abuse.