Alcoholism is a common condition. In the US, 17.6 million adults have identified alcohol dependence issues. Several million more engage in risky alcohol consumption, which could manifest into addiction. Between 2010 and 2012, alcoholism was a contributing factor in 30 percent of those who died from alcohol poisoning.
Identifying alcoholism can be tricky. Some people drink in excess for one night, and never think about touching alcohol again. Others find that the desire to drink becomes uncontrollable and intoxication quickly becomes a way of life. When it comes to alcoholism, it’s not just quantity or frequency of alcohol consumption, but the impact it has on your life.
Susceptibility Of Alcoholism
Genetic predisposition can play a big role in the development of alcoholism. Over 50 percent of adults are predisposed due to family ties to alcohol dependence. Socioeconomic, psychological, and the use of other substances can also increase the chances that alcoholism will develop. Studies have concluded that:
- 75 percent of alcohol poisoning deaths involve adults between the ages of 35 and 64.
- The majority if alcohol deaths are among male Caucasians.
- American Indians and Alaskan natives have the highest concentration of alcohol poisoning deaths per million.
- Starting to drink earlier in life can greatly influence your relationship with alcohol later on.
Excessive drinking increases the likelihood of developing some form of dependency. Excessive drinking is defined by binging, heavy drinking, or any alcohol consumption by pregnant women or people who are underage. Binge drinking is defined as consuming 4 or more drinks for women, or 5 or more drinks for men, during a single occasion. Heavy drinking is defined as consuming 8 or more drinks per week for women, or 15 for men.
Identifying a predisposition to alcoholism can work in your favor, as you are able to be more mindful of your relationship with alcohol. If you find yourself questioning whether or not you are an alcoholic, there may be some issues that need to be addressed. Alcoholism is best identified when you consider the place that alcohol has in your life. Many people are unaware of the impact of alcoholism until something catastrophic happens. Knowing the symptoms can help prevent such occurrences. Some symptoms of alcoholism include:
- Legal, relationship, or work troubles due to alcohol use
- Inability to control consumption once you’ve started drinking
- Spending a lot of time drinking and recovering from the effects of alcohol
- Drinking at inappropriate or dangerous times, like while driving a car
- Blacking out without memory of your time under the influence
- Hurting yourself or others while under the influence
- Continuing to drink despite damage to health, or warnings from a physician
- Concern from loved ones that your drinking has gotten out of hand
- Making excuses for excessive drinking, or you hide it altogether
- Drinking alone, or first thing in the morning
- Being concerned with alcohol supply, and feel anxiety when alcohol can’t be obtained
- Feeling guilty for your drinking, but continue to drink
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you are not under the influence – Fever, chills, gastrointestinal discomfort, clamminess, agitation, depression, and anxiety.
There is a big difference between looking forward to having a beer after work and fixating on the beer until you get home. If you rely on alcohol for fun or function, this could be a red flag for you. If you feel that you spend too much time with, or recovering from, the effects of alcohol, it may be time to seek help. Addressing these issues swiftly can prevent more unfortunate circumstance and aid in regaining control of your health.
Help For Alcoholism
Alcoholism affects the lives of millions of people every day. While it is not easy, many of these people require some form of treatment to get better. Identifying the warning signs of alcoholism in oneself is the first step in finding a solution to the problem. If you believe that you are an alcoholic, you may wish to pursue treatment. There are many options for finding sobriety, including inpatient or outpatient rehab, AA, and one-on-one therapy. These methods of treatment have help many people regain control in their lives, and can help you, as well.
We Can Help
If you believe that you are addicted to alcohol, you may wonder where to go from here. The caring staff at AlcoholTreatment.net is here to help. We can guide you through the treatment process and help find resources for maintaining sobriety. Contact us today.
Al-Anon is a free international program founded by Lois Wilson, the wife of one of the men who founded Alcoholics Anonymous. She thought that a separate group needed to be formed, one that would focus on the loved ones and family members of those who suffer from addiction. As a result, it helps create a support group for families, one that will help them move and grow together through addiction. These 12-steps have been adapted from the program created by Alcoholics Anonymous, but have been adapted for family use.
The biggest change comes in the final step: instead of specifying reaching out to people who just struggle from alcohol addiction, it focuses Al-Anon on reaching out to other family members and friends of addicted individuals. That helps separate Al-Anon from other recovery programs.
Step one: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
Acknowledging the problem is the very first step to regaining control over alcohol addiction. While members may find this step challenging, it is possibly the most important step on the road to recovery.
Step two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Step three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
By placing hope in the hands of a greater power, addiction can be viewed from a more dynamic perspective. The journey to sobriety has a guiding hand to help aid in struggling. While Al-Anon is not affiliated with any religious organization, faith is an integral part of the program. Understanding that everyone interprets God differently allows members to find their own higher power and release some of the burden to him.
Step four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
Step five: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
Categorizing your positive and negative aspects can prove challenging. The idea of accountability for negative behavior can also be met with the good in every member of Al-Anon. Opening up about wrongdoings can help people in recovery achieve accountability for their actions. Admitting fault can lead to dedicated improvement in the lives of someone struggling with alcohol addiction.
Step six: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
Step seven: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
Surrendering control over the past while moving forward helps members to focus on recovery. Having a higher power to answer to and rely upon is an important step. While accountability is imperative, freeing oneself from the total burden is thought to encourage growth.
Step eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
Step nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Step ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Finding peace after wrongdoing is an important step. Making amends can free those suffering from addiction and allow members to realize spiritual growth. In addition, those on the receiving end may feel more at ease with with what has happened, potentially rebuilding the relationship.
Step eleven: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Step twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Spiritual growth is a key element in the Al-Anon program. Seeking answers from a higher power, members can receive personal guidance through prayer and meditation. A will to find spiritual enlightenment can open the door to other endeavors for those in recovery. Helping others may provide a purpose to the individual, boost esteem, and aid overall life improvement.
We Can Help
If you, or someone you know could benefit from Al-Anon meetings, do not hesitate to contact the caring staff at AlcoholTreatment.net. We are here to help you find the right programs and resources to fit your needs, and live a healthier and happier life.
If you’re thinking of attending an alcohol treatment center, you’re probably concerned about success rates. After all, you don’t want to invest your hard earned money into something that may not work. Thankfully, alcohol treatment centers have been shown to be a successful way for most people to quit drinking forever. And there are multiple things you can do to increase your chances of obtaining the sobriety you want and deserve.
The Success Rate of A Typical Center
Assessing the success rate of an alcohol treatment center is relatively difficult, because there are so many centers throughout the country. However, there are multiple sources that indicate a generalized success rate. For example, Alcoholics Anonymous did a survey of people in its group who have finished rehabilitation treatment and found that 35 percent of its members were sober for more than five years.
That is a success rate of just over a third and that’s only for one organization. Alcoholics Anonymous utilizes the 12-Step program, which is a common guideline throughout most alcohol treatment centers. However, treatment centers also utilize a variety of other treatment options that are designed to help you physically, emotionally, and psychologically overcome your addiction.
Each step in this process is likely to add at least a 10 percent increase in your chance of success. For example, if you receive dietary guidance to overcome malnutrition after suffering from alcoholism, you’re going to feel stronger, healthier, and more resistant to returning to alcohol use.
Longer Stays Equates To More Success
There are multiple stay limits for alcohol treatment, the most common of them being 30, 60, and 90 days. Some people may be able to successfully detoxify and rehabilitate from alcohol addiction in 30 days, but studies have shown that longer stays greatly increase your chance of success.
Just how long is necessary? The Centers for Disease Control have reported that 90 days seems to be the most successful rehabilitation stay time. Remember: you’re going to go through multiple steps and each of these steps can take several days to several weeks to finish, depending on each individual. The longer you have to focus on each step, the more successful your rehabilitation.
Consider this study from the Archives of General Psychiatry. They tested the relapse rates of people who attended 30- and 90-day programs and discovered that 35 percent of the people in a 30-day program relapsed while 17 percent relapsed from the 90-day program. That huge decrease in relapse indicates why it is so important to stay in rehab as long as you can.
The Process Involved
Alcohol addiction rehabilitation is much more than the 12-Step program. While the 12-Step has proven to be a successful guide, alcohol rehabilitation has moved beyond that process to include a wide variety of vitally important methodologies. This new diversity of treatment options helps increase your success rate by ensuring every aspect of your addiction is treated. These treatment options include:
- Detoxification – monitoring your withdrawal symptoms to ensure they are as pain-free as possible. May include replacement medicines or other medical treatments.
- Psychological treatment – assesses the psychological and emotional contributions to your addiction. Once these contributions are found, methods for dealing with these problems will be implemented.
- Behavioral adjustment – helps eliminate problematic patterns of behavior that lead to alcohol abuse. For example, if you use drinking as a way to monitor depression, treatments like cognitive-behavior therapy will help you find healthier coping methods.
- Aftercare – attending regular meetings to keep your counselors assessed of your progress. It can also include sober living tips (such as how to turn down drinks at a holiday party), job placement help, and more.
- Alternative treatment options – designed for people who have struggled with the 12-Step program or who simply want a different option. These treatments include dialectical behavior therapy, massage therapy, wilderness treatments, and much more.
The addition of the spiritual aspect of the 12-Step process can help you find peace with yourself and soothe any mental turmoil that contributes to your addiction. Completing this full process in a 90-day window helps your success rate shoot through the roof.
Other Ways You Can Boost Your Success Rate
Success in alcohol addiction treatment centers is only partially reliant on the center itself. Successful treatment is also heavily dependent on you making the dedication to get sober and following each step of rehabilitation carefully.
Thankfully, there are several simple ways you can increase your success rates during rehab and after. These steps include:
- Always attending your meetings and taking them seriously
- Fully committing to the program’s process
- Honestly opening up during psychological assessment
- Finding a sober buddy after you finish
- Attending aftercare treatment
- Avoiding people, locations, and events with alcohol
- Exercising and eating properly (to avoid depression that can lead to relapse)
Following these steps are crucial to improving your success rate. If you utilize these steps and successfully complete your rehab, there’s a good chance your success rate will be near 100 percent. And that’s the kind of reward you simply can’t live without.
Interested In Learning More?
Success in an alcohol treatment center requires a lifelong commitment to sobriety and the willingness to make the changes you need to succeed. If you’re interested in learning more about how alcohol treatment centers can help you, please contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net today. Our helpful counselors have free information that is crucial for your sobriety goals.
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.
Many people own a smartphone today or know of someone who does. Another tool that can help you or a loved one recover from an alcohol addiction is through apps on your smartphone. These alcohol recovery apps can help recovering individuals by tracking their sobriety, connecting them with meetings, contacting a sponsor, monitoring emotions and triggers, and more. While recovery apps are never meant to be used in place of treatment (or be the sole method of recovery), you might find that they can assist you on your journey and keep you on track.
Most of us use cell phones every day, so adding an alcohol recovery app and using it can help you continue along a good path. Many of us have our phones in our hands or at the ready throughout our day, so just looking at an alcohol recovery app on your phone could help remind you to stay on track. Some apps even offer to send inspirational quotes or messages daily to your phone. So, if you are interested in trying an app or two, you may wonder, what are the 10 best apps for alcohol addiction recovery?
12 Steps AA Companion App
This app is for iPad tablets, iPhone, iPod touch, and Android. It has a sobriety calculator that tracks the number of years, months, days, and hours you have been sober. If you are looking for an original app that has been used by members of Alcoholics Anonymous, then this is the app for you. It also features a Big Book reader (the Big Book is the writings that are the basis of AA), a search tool, the ability to add notes and copy text, an AA contact database, and more. You can purchase the 12 Steps AA Companion app for $2.99 in the Apple app store and $1.99 in the Android app store.
AA Big Book And More App
Pre-ordered Pre-oIf paying for an app is not your thing, you should check out the AA Big Book and More app. It is called the “AA Big Book and More” in the Apple store, and is simply called “AA Big Book Free” or “Big Book Alcoholics Anonymous” in the Android store. Both apps are free and contain the Big Book text, sobriety calculator, and also will deliver a daily motivational message to your phone.
AA Speakers To Go App
The AA Speakers to Go app is found on Apple products (iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch) and Android devices. If you are busy and don’t have time to read, this is the perfect app for you. This app comes with over 400 speaker tapes dating from the 1930s to the present, a Big Book study that was recorded in Nashville, and more. You will hear stories just like in an AA meeting. Whether you are on the road or just want to listen (and not read), this app could be right for you. It’s free in the Android store, and only $4.99 in the Apple store.
Today’s Step: Recovery App
The Today’s Step: Recovery app does not have a sobriety tracker like some other apps. However, if you love to receive daily inspirational quotes and messages along with video exercises to help you maintain sobriety, this is the app for you. It’s a great app that can give you the reminder you need to keep you on track. It has stories from people who are also in recovery, and also offers meditation assistance. This app is available for $2.99 for both Apple and Android products.
I Am Sober App
The I Am Sober app does not offer a Big Book study guide, so this app is best used along with an app that does offer the Big Book. However, this app’s simple yet easily navigable design and clean interface is appealing to users. It’s an easy way to track your sobriety and marks milestones on your sobriety journey. The I Am Sober app can be purchased for $1.99 at both the Apple and Android stores.
RecoveryBox Addiction Recovery Toolbox App
While not available for Android, the RecoveryBox Addiction Recovery Toolbox app might be a good option for those with Apple products. This app not only allows you track your sobriety, but it also allows you to track your triggers and activities to monitor your sobriety. It’s $1.99 in the Apple app store.
Twenty-Four Hours A Day App
The Twenty-Four Hours a Day app is offered for both Apple and Android users. If you have been to a 12-step program (or the like to utilize meditation on your road to recovery), this app could be the perfect fit for you. With this app, you will receive daily meditations (from the best-selling meditation book) on your road to recovery. You can share messages with your friends via sync to email, bookmark your favorite meditations, search meditations by keyword, get a reminder notification each day to read your daily message, shake your phone to get a random inspirational message, customize the font size, and more. The price is $4.99 for both Apple and Android products, but with so many features, it’s definitely worth the price. Android and Apple users give the app 5 stars.
Joe And Charlie Big Book Study App
Joe and Charlie Big Book Study can be found on the Android store. If you are an Apple user, look up the app under the name, “Joe and Charlie.” This app also allows you to track your sobriety and gives you access to recorded tracks of Joe and Charlie (members of AA) speaking about recovery. These tracks were recorded in 1988 after Joe and Charlie were sober for 20 years. Joe and Charlie are witty in these tracks, but they also have a serious side. It also offers text of the Big Book, the serenity prayer, a sobriety calculator, the AA Preamble, and many more things to help your sobriety journey. The app free and ready to install on your Android device right now, and just $2.99 in the Apple app store.
Sober Grid App
All of the apps so far have been some of the best apps out there to help with your alcohol addiction, but Sober Grid is something that’s different and unique. It’s also a FREE app for both Android and Apple devices that helps you stay sober anywhere in the world. It’s a sober social networking app that allows you to connect with a global sober community. You can make new friends or connect with current friends to help you stay sober. You can share content on the news-feed and have private chats with other sober individuals. It also gives you the access to seek help from the sober community. And, you have the option to stay completely anonymous or to provide as many details (or as few) as you want about yourself. This is an exciting app, so check it out and install it on your device today!
Apps And Your Recovery
There are hundreds of apps that can help you on your road to alcohol addiction recovery. Hopefully this list gives you an idea of the many top-rated apps out there. Check out the apps above (or others) to find out more information and to read app reviews. Finding an app to help you with recovery is a great tool to use in maintaining sobriety. Whether you find one or ten recovery apps that you like, it’s definitely worth a try! Contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net today for more information or for help getting into a recovery plan that is best for your needs.
Today’s world puts a lot of pressure on women. Women are bombarded with images in magazines, the media, television shows, movies, and ads that constantly pressure them into looking or behaving certain ways. And while many realize that these pressures on women are far beyond reality or expectations, many forget this or buy into the idea that this is how they should be living life.
How many times have you seen an alcohol commercial with women in it and everyone is happy and having fun? Have you ever seen an alcohol commercial where they are trying to sell you that drink and they portray someone drinking alone and depressed? It’s very easy to come up with examples of the first one but it’s really hard to think of any examples of any company trying to sell you something and exposing their product in a negative light at the same time.
Beer, wine, or other alcoholic beverages are portrayed in commercials as perhaps a drink that will liven up your party, the magic elixir that allows attractive women to be surrounded by handsome looking guys at all times, and perhaps you will even find new adventures. And, with some television shows that glorify partying, drunken nights, or portray drinking in a positive light (you could guess which shows we’re talking about), in real life, alcohol abuse is a serious problem. Exposure to these images may influence women’s alcoholic consumption, but many factors are also at play.
Alcohol And Substance Abuse Among Women
In the United States, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse notes that 6 million women are dependent on alcohol and 2.6 million women have a substance abuse. From 1998 to 2007, the number of women arrested for drunk driving rose by 30 percent. Also from 1999 to 2007, the number of ER visits for women being very intoxicated also rose 52 percent. The numbers of women abusing alcohol is indeed rising. Scientists have also wanted to have more research done with the biochemical differences between men and women when they drink. When women drink, they have reported to scientists that it makes them feel sexier, more affectionate and feminine. But what are some other reasons that women might be driven to drink more these days?
Some Reasons Alcohol Abuse May Be On The Rise For Women
Some explanations for the recent rise in alcohol abuse among women include: (Note that these are not all inclusive and there could be other reasons):
A study showed that 74% of women who were addicted to alcohol were sexually abused and 52% had physical abuse in their past or current history. Those who were raised in violent home settings and who continued to live in domestic abuse after leaving home are much more susceptible to using drugs and/or alcohol to hide or ease the pain of their realities.
Emotional abuse, imbalanced relationships, and feelings of marginalization
Women who are in relationships where their partner lacks empathy and there is an unequal distribution of household tasks often turns to the bottle to control their happiness, for power, comfort, and it may even offer relief from their depression and hopelessness. Also, women who felt stigmatized for their gender or feel inferior or disrespected also are more likely to have alcohol addictions.
For women who are isolated (and maybe have a few kids and are stressed), it may be easier for them to look to alcohol as a way to connect with friends. What may have started out as a few drinks every Friday night with your girlfriends to ease stress, may turn into drinking earlier in the day and becoming more intoxicated by night.
Some women imbibe because they believe they can equally consume alcohol the way men might. But women and men’s bodies are built differently when consuming alcohol and some do not realize this. Women become intoxicated more quickly than men (even if the same height and weight) because their bodies have more fat which keeps the alcohol in their system and less water (which would dilute the alcohol).
Changing roles and expectations
Women today have different roles and scientists are thinking there is a link between alcohol consumption and the shift of women’s roles in society.
More women are attending college today, and studies have linked the rise in female attendance at colleges to the rise of alcohol consumption.
Life After College
Some scientists say that women continue their college partying days in male-dominated work places (such as finance or technology).
Career to home shift
Still other scientists say that the shift and focus from a career to raising children at home, could be a factor in the rise of drinking among women. Being bored and anxious (all with potentially a screaming toddler or children in the background) may cause them to reach for the bottle to get away from reality for a while.
Depression and Anxiety
Women are two more times likely to be afflicted with depression and/or anxiety than men. And in turn, they may be more at risk to self-medicate by alcohol.
Women also may abuse alcohol if they have or had an eating disorder.
Wine And Women
Another disturbing trend is that wine has become a popular and socially accepted drink among women. Wine is not seen as “bad” as other alcoholic beverages or drugs and is encouraged at book clubs, on t-shirts or online groups, and at social gatherings. Many moms think that wine is a culturally accepted way to ease the troubles of your day. And it may even be viewed as independence and freedom that was lost once having children. According to the Wine Institute, women are the primary drinkers of wine in the U.S. and they also buy a majority of the 800 million wine glasses sold each year.
Despite many women viewing wine in a positive light, it is still alcohol and it can still be abused. Do not buy into the idea that it is safer to drink because you can still develop an alcohol abuse disorder from drinking wine.
There Is hope
If you or a woman you know is struggling with an alcohol addiction, seek help now. Alcohol abuse is on the rise for women, but you do not have to be part of that statistic. Whatever your situation, there is hope, and professionals are just waiting for you to reach out to them. Contact us at alcoholtreatment.net to learn more.
Alcohol causes changes in the central nervous system and organs of the body. For those with MS, side effects may even be worsened than for those who do not have MS. Some with MS report that after only one drink their neurological systems (imbalance and lack of coordination) actually get worse for a time. Depressing the central nervous system is one effect, but alcohol may also create an additive effect with some of your medications you are currently taking for MS. Some of the drugs that alcohol effects with MS include: antidepressants, diazepam, baclofen, and clonazepam. If you have recently been diagnosed or have had MS for some time, do not be discouraged as you are not alone. Around 400,000 people in the United States have MS and 2.5 million are diagnosed with MS around the world. If you have MS however, it is best that you stay away from alcoholic beverages altogether.
Alcoholism And MS
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system. Symptoms of MS are different for many people and can happen randomly. You can also experience many different symptoms such as: blurry vision, loss of balance, fatigue, lack of or poor coordination, slurred speech, numbness, memory problems, tremors, bladder dysfunction, paralysis, blindness, and more. Having these symptoms without alcohol in your system is troubling enough. Just image what could happen if alcohol is in the mix with MS. These symptoms and many others are worsened with alcoholism, as mentioned above. Drinking alcohol is discouraged with those who have MS because it can also worsen coordination and can cause even more slurred speech.
If you are a chronic alcohol abuser and you have MS, you can experience: tingling sensations and loss of feeling, numbness, tremors, damage of the liver, stomach and other organs, dementia, and again a lack of coordination. Even if alcohol is used acutely (which is not encouraged at all), if you have MS, you can still experience lack of coordination, imbalance, impaired thoughts and judgements, and also slurred speech. You can never be quite sure how your body will react to alcohol if you have MS.
If you have MS and are curious about how you may react to alcohol, the best thing to do is to not drink any type of alcohol. The symptoms and side effects of drinking alcohol with MS are serious. Since you may already be feeling some or many symptoms from MS, why would you want to make the problem worse by adding alcohol? Choosing to live a sober lifestyle if you have MS, is a good way to be a happier and healthier person overall.
Drinking To Excess And MS
A study was conducted that observed 140 patients with MS. In this study, the researchers already took into account that for those with MS, you are at an increased risk for mood disorders and suicidal thoughts. Mood disorders and suicidal thoughts are already linked to alcohol abuse in individuals that do not have MS. In the study, the researchers wanted to find out if there was a link between mood and anxiety disorders with problem drinking among those with MS. The results gave many insights. It was found that 1 in 6 people with MS will drink to excess over their lifetimes. The patients with histories of problematic drinking showed increased likelihood of having anxiety throughout their lifetimes but mood disorders were not prevalent. The researchers also found that there was a huge link between suicidal thoughts and excess drinking, abuse of other substances, and a family history of mental illness for those with MS. The study also found that one way to help clinicians determine if an MS patient has problematic drinking patterns is to also look into whether there is family history of mental illness and anxiety.
Many of those diagnosed with MS may turn to alcohol because their illness is overwhelming to them and they have no other ways to cope. But drinking alcohol with MS is not going to alleviate your problems and it will only make them worse. There are other ways to cope and you should seek professional help. Your health and happiness should be a top priority. Those with MS who drink because they feel the need to “enjoy life”, are not addressing their emotions about the disease in a positive way, and need to find better coping mechanisms. There are many other ways that one can enjoy life without sacrificing their health and mental well-being. Depression is also linked to those with MS, so if you know of someone who has MS that is struggling, seek help for them today. They may not recognize (or be willing to admit) they have an alcohol problem, or they may be so depressed that they simply cannot see their alcoholic behaviors as being detrimental.
Having MS does not mean that you cannot live a happy life. Reach out to a doctor or professional today if you are struggling from an alcohol addiction. Don’t wait until an emergency happens. Take control of your life today. You will feel much happier and more empowered if you do. Drinking alcohol with MS should be avoided and if you are struggling with alcohol problems, there are better ways to cope with what you may be feeling. Alcohol worsens symptoms of MS so it is best to live a sober lifestyle. Your body will thank you for making that decision. We are ready to help you today. If you have questions or concerns, contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net.
Our eyes are a beautiful thing. They can be windows to the soul and our innermost thoughts and emotions. They come in an array of colors, and now our eyes can even help determine something about our drinking behaviors. A new study finds that eye color may be linked to alcoholism. There is more than meets the eye–so to speak–with this new study.
The Eyes Have It:
This new study, that surfaced around July 2015 by the University of Vermont, has found that European Americans with lighter eye colors (green, gray, or brown in the center, and especially blue eyes) have higher rates of alcohol dependency than do their dark brown-eyed counterparts. Scientists believe that there is a genetic link but they are unsure as to why. The study also shows that those with blue eyes have the highest rate of alcoholism.
Linking eye color with alcohol is not necessarily a new concept. In 2000, a study found that brown eyed females averaged 4.91 drinks in one month but females with lighter colored eyes averaged 5.78 drinks in a one month’s time. Scientists have also found that those with blue eyes or lighter eyes are also more likely to be very competitive and have lower pain tolerances.
Correlation Doesn’t Necessarily Imply Causation
In psychology and science, we must be careful to note that correlation does not necessarily imply causation. More information is needed to explain why this link between lighter eye colors and alcohol dependency might be true.
For those who have never heard of the popular psychology phrase “correlation does not imply causation,” here is an example. Pretend you are taking surfing lessons and you are the only one with brown eyes. Everyone else in your surfing class has blue or green eyes and they are all doing great. You are not doing very well in your surfing class and a friend might say, “You are bad at this because you have brown eyes. Everyone else has green or blue eyes and they are doing great.” Just because you have brown eyes does not mean that this is the reason why you are a bad surfer (and it’s quite silly to think that). Perhaps you don’t practice and everyone else does (that could be a cause of your poor performance). Or perhaps others have been surfing longer than you. Or maybe they are just naturally better at it and you need more time to learn, as we all learn at different rates. To simply say that others are doing better than you because they have green or blue eyes has no real basis in reality. That is what is meant by “correlation does not imply causation” and more evidence (and extensive scientific testing) would have to be done to back up your friend’s claim.
However, in the case of blue eyes being linked to alcoholism, there is strong scientific proof that this actually might be the case. Astoundingly, it has been discovered that in terms of the chromosome that controls alcohol dependence, the genes that determine a person’s eye color are also found on that same chromosome. There is a statistically significant link between alcohol dependency genes and eye color and this leads scientists to think that alcoholism has a strong genetic component. But still, scientists are baffled as to why lighter eyes would have higher alcohol dependence and more research needs to be done in order to find the true reasons.
Those Baby Blues
In the recent study, scientists took 1,263 European Americans (of those 992 had alcohol dependency and 271 did not have alcohol dependency) and found that those with lighter eyes are 54 percent more likely to have alcohol dependency than those with darker eyes. Those with blue eyes were 80 percent more likely to have alcoholism than those with all other eye colors. Researchers took into account age and gender but fell short and did not look into other factors such as income or mental health in narrowing down other possible causes. Also, patients were not tested for depression, which has been linked to heavy drinking.
A different and separate 2015 study found that your status in life (income and level of success) could be linked to your alcohol dependency. This study claims that the way you live and your personal environment play just as important of a role as your DNA does to determine if you will become alcohol dependent. In other words, your behaviors and choices play a big role in alcohol dependency, too. And while you may not be able to change your genes, you do have control over your behaviors and choices.
Don’t Jump To Conclusions
If you know of someone who has blue eyes, don’t automatically think this person might have or will develop an alcohol addiction based on this information. This is just one of many reasons that can help scientists and doctors determine how best to diagnose those who need help. If you are concerned for someone’s drinking habits or even your own, always seek professional help, and never accuse someone of being an alcoholic solely based on their eye color (even if they drink heavily). Much more research needs to be done before the reasons why eye color and alcoholism are linked.
If you feel you are at risk of developing an alcohol-related disorder based on your habits or other factors, or know of someone who needs help, don’t hesitate in reaching out to a professional today. Contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net to find out more information and for help getting into a treatment facility that meets your needs.
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.