While many people associate alcohol use with fun, alcohol abuse has been linked to crime for centuries. In fact, it is more commonly linked with non-drug crimes than any other substance in the world. While part of that is due to its legality, the effects it has on the body and mind are the biggest influence.
The Statistics Don’t Lie
The unfortunate truth is that crime and alcohol abuse are almost inextricably linked. For example, the National Council On Alcoholism And Drug Dependence, Inc reported some disturbing statistics, which include the fact that:
- 80 percent of lawbreakers abuse drugs or alcohol
- Almost 50 percent of those incarcerated had a clinical addiction
- 40 percent of all violent crimes are fueled by alcohol
- Over 60 percent of people arrested are found to be intoxicated
- Nearly 37 percent of all incarcerated people were drunk at the time of their arrest
And while other drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, did contribute to crimes, the same survey found that alcohol was, by far, the biggest contributor to violent crimes: over three million violent crimes are committed every year thanks to alcohol and alcohol abuse.
Crimes Typically Committed Due To Alcohol Abuse
Although multiple types of crimes are committed due to alcohol abuse, certain types tend to be more prevalent. For example, the National Partnership On Alcohol Misuse And Crime reported that the most commonly committed crimes influenced by alcohol abuse included:
- DUI/DWI driving incidents
- About 10,000 driving related deaths (whether accidental or not)
- Domestic violence
- Physical altercations with strangers
- Public lewdness
The result of all of these crimes: millions of people serving time in jail or prison, millions of dollars in property damage, and nearly $100 billion dollars spent on punishing those who have committed the crimes. The strain on the system is staggering and millions of people simply aren’t getting the help they need to avoid becoming a repeat offender.
Why Does Alcohol Abuse Cause Increased Crime?
Alcohol abuse impacts mental acuity, making it more difficult to think straight, and affecting logical decision-making. It often slows down higher-level thinking and pulls out the baser elements of a person’s personality. For example, a person with high levels of depression may grow sad, while someone with anger issues may become aggressive.
Essentially, alcohol constricts your perception of reality and makes it harder to focus on multiple aspects of a situation. This is why violent crimes are so prevalent: if someone says something mean to you when you’re drunk, you don’t stop to think about why they said it, or if you somehow influenced their comment. And you have a harder time brushing it off or writing it off as a meaningless insult: instead, you are more likely to get extremely angry.
Such a decreased range of focus can be called “tunnel vision” and it causes accidents (such as bumping into someone) to become worthy of great anger. And alcohol lowers your inhibition and your fear of retribution (i.e. survival instincts), meaning that impulsive desires to strike someone are hard or nearly impossible to suppress.
Alcohol also lowers your executive function (reasoning and logic areas) meaning you it’s harder for you to rationally understand situations. For example, when you’re sober you might think driving drunk is a crime. However, after five or six drinks, you are suddenly getting behind the wheel of your vehicle, putting your life and the lives of others at risk.
You may also come to illogical decisions that lead to other crimes. For example, you and your buddies may come to the conclusion that you need to break into your old high school. Why? You miss the old days and want to relive them in anyway possible. Sober, this logic would make no sense to you: however, when you’re abusing alcohol, it suddenly becomes the “best idea ever!”
Methods Being Utilized To Decrease This Risk
Doctors, government officials, and scientists are working toward ways of decreasing alcohol abuse in the country and, by proxy, decreasing the risk of criminal activity. For example, alcohol rehab helps teach coping methods to those who suffer from alcohol addiction. These methods help them stay sober and eliminate any impulsive behavior that may lead to breaking the law.
Sober-living groups, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving, are also trying to teach upcoming generations about the dangers of drinking and driving. While this seems to be having some effect, it’s way too early to gauge how children are responding to these groups.
Behavior-modification techniques such as CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy are being utilized to change criminal behaviors that may be fueled by alcohol addiction. For example, a person who turns to alcohol as a coping mechanism for anger would be taught healthier methods, such as:
- Creative endeavors
- Relaxation techniques
- Reaching out to friends or family members
In prisons and jails, people who have committed crimes under the influence of alcohol are being taught many of these same techniques, hopefully eliminating the possibility of recidivist activities. Many of them are being reached through 12-Step techniques and learning about the severe consequences of their actions.
It’s Never Too Late To Change
Crime and alcohol addiction don’t have to permanently derail your life. By obtaining the proper treatment, you can regain the sober and crime-free life that you deserve. Contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net to learn how. Our counselors can set you up with the best treatment center near you, one that will work hard to break the habit of addiction.
Heavy alcohol consumption can lead to many mental health problems, as it is a natural depressant. This means it disrupts the flow of serotonin in the central nervous system which can further aggravate pre-existing disorders or introduce new problems. In fact, heavy alcohol consumption can eventually lead to psychosis – a very serious mental disease.
Early Warning Signs
Users suffering from psychosis may experience incoherent speech, delusions, hallucinations, and a disconnection with reality. Confusion and agitation are common symptoms, often leading to self-inflicted injury or violence toward others. Unfortunately, psychosis is a condition that gets worse over time. Long-term abuse of alcohol can also develop into Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrome, a type of dementia. Catch these early symptoms to diagnose the early stages of psychosis:
- Irrational fears or unfounded suspicions
- Trouble concentrating
- Detachment from family and friends
- Significant changes in sleep – too much, or too little
- Obsessive thoughts
- Anxious behavior
Identifying early warning signs can help prevent more serious damage. Loss of work, home, or relationships can also occur for someone suffering psychosis. If the person who is addicted has progressed beyond the initial stages of psychosis, medical intervention may be a necessity. Many treatment options are available for those suffering from alcohol-induced psychosis.
Alcohol-induced psychosis can be treated with medical intervention. Often, with proper handling and commitment to treatment, people with an addiction to alcohol can recover from and prevent future occurrences. Methods that have proven successful in the treatment and recovery of psychosis include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Stabilizing medication
- Long and short-term rehabilitation
- Continuing care through clinical psychiatry
A medical professional can diagnose psychosis and develop a plan for treatment. The idea of treatment can be scary and care should be taken when planning treatment. Reaching out to others and seeking advice for intervention can be an asset to finding the right approach.
Alcohol Withdrawal and Psychosis
Alcohol addiction is difficult to combat alone. Quitting alcohol cold turkey, as opposed to gradual tapering of the substance, can sometimes lead to heavier withdrawal. Swift change in consumption can alter brain chemistry, leading to psychosis. While this should not discourage an alcoholic from kicking the addiction, it’s useful to seek guidance to ensure a safe transition into sobriety.
How To Help
Identifying the early symptoms of alcohol-induced psychosis may be difficult, as you may feel “pushed away,” or frustrated. Psychosis is a frightening experience for everyone involved. While you may not fully understand his or her behavior, you may be able to help in the following ways:
- Communicate concerns with mutual friends and family
- Offer support, and encourage positive behavior
- Refrain from judgment, arguing or voicing concerns directly
- Pay attention to behaviors and changes
- Remember that agitation is not personal
- If self-harm is a concern, contact a medical professional immediately
Psychosis can make a friend or family member unrecognizable. A careful approach may be necessary to prevent further isolation and allow more time to get help. In the event that psychosis has taken over a loved one, consider reaching out to someone who has had a similar experience.
Get Help Today
If you or someone you know is suffering from alcohol-induced psychosis, please do not hesitate to contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net. We are here to guide you towards finding treatment for alcohol-induced psychosis and regaining stability in your life.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental condition that often leads people down a dangerous and self-destructive path. One of these paths is alcoholism. If you suffer from these two conditions, you have what is known as a co-occurring disorder. Understanding this problem and how it affects your life can help you regain the sobriety that you deserve.
What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?
Co-occurring disorders are two or more mental health problems that occur simultaneously and influence the progression of the other. Although this can occur with several types of disorders, it is most commonly discussed as an addiction concern because addiction is so often exasperated or even caused by other mental health concerns.
The presence of mental health concerns (like schizophrenia) complicates treatment for alcoholism because it forces experts to treat two different diseases. You simply can’t detoxify and receive anti-drug counseling; you also need to get treatment and medicines to treat your schizophrenia.
Perhaps that’s why studies have confirmed that alcohol addiction is a rampant disease among people with schizophrenia. One study, entitled “Self Reports Of The Interaction Between Substance Abuse and Schizophrenia” found that 40 percent of the surveyed people with schizophrenia suffered from an alcohol addiction. Another study, titled “Substance Abuse In Patients With Schizophrenia” found numbers as high as 50 percent.
How These Two Problems Exasperate Each Other
Schizophrenia is an unpredictable condition that usually manifests itself between the ages of 18-30. There are often few warning signs: a person can suddenly “crack” and become fully schizophrenic in a matter of days. The random nature of this disease means a person may either not realize they have a problem or try to hide it anyway they can.
The problems caused by schizophrenia (delusions, agitation, paranoia, incoherence, and a sense of “disconnect” from reality) often cause a sense of panic or fear. Those negative feelings commonly force a person to turn to alcohol as a form of self-medication. While alcohol may help distract a person from their problems, it will only make them work.
Just think about what happens when you start feeling drunk. You start losing control of your mental and physical behaviors. And that loss of control will heavily influence the lack of control caused by schizophrenia. In fact, the two disorders often go hand-in-hand.
Can They Be Treated Alone?
The severity of the interaction between alcoholism and schizophrenia means that you shouldn’t consider trying to figure it out on your own. Instead, you should seek out a center that utilizes Dual Diagnosis. This treatment focuses on diagnosing both of these unfortunate diseases and treating them simultaneously, instead of treating them in isolation.
The principles of Dual Diagnosis are simple: all patients are welcomed into treatment; both disorders are given the same attention; understanding both concerns are chronic concerns that need lifelong treatment; finding a treatment for schizophrenia that helps reduce alcohol addiction and vice versa; and treating everyone with dignity and respect.
Dual Diagnosis is available in many different formats, including residential treatment, outpatient, individual therapy, peer support group, anti-drug education, holistic therapy, aftercare therapy, and medication therapy. The latter utilizes drugs that help soothe schizophrenia symptoms, including:
It’s important to discuss these medications with your rehabilitation expert before moving on to detoxification. Often, you’ll be subscribed anti-alcohol medications that help you fight cravings and avoid serious withdrawal symptoms. A few of these medications include:
Beyond these medications, you are also likely to learn behavioral modification techniques under the umbrella of cognitive-behavioral therapy. These treatments are designed to help you identify problematic behaviors and to eliminate their influences in your addiction and schizophrenic conditions. Understanding the ways that these two problems influence your behavior helps you learn how to control them and stay stable and sober.
Get Help Today
If you are suffering from this co-occurring disorder and need help, please don’t hesitate to contact us at AlcoholTreatment.net. We can help you find an alcohol addiction treatment center that understands Dual Diagnosis and schizophrenia. This can help you recover from this difficult situation and help you regain stability in your life.
The holidays are a time for friends and family to come together. It’s a time of parties, packed shopping malls, and making memories for years to come. But, the holidays can also be a tempting time of year for people trying to recover from alcohol addiction.
This time of the year often overwhelms people and you or someone you know may need help staying sober or recovering from a holiday relapse. Seek that help through therapy and medication, as they are two of the most powerful ways to overcome an alcohol addiction and regain a sober lifestyle.
There are many different types of therapy options and medications available to help you recover from addiction. Treatment is not a one-size fits all approach. However, inpatient therapy has proven to be one of the most successful forms of treatment options.
Inpatient therapy requires an individual to stay between 30-90 days at a facility, depending on the severity of the addiction and its impact on their health. Inpatient facilities remove patients from the daily distractions of life and offer 24-hour care.
Many facilities even offer group or individual counseling sessions to treat co-occurring disorders, such as bipolar disorder or depression. Statistically, individuals that stay for 30 days or longer at an inpatient facility nearly double their success rates and are less likely to relapse.
Typically, outpatient therapy programs are best suited for patients as an aftercare option, after they have attended an inpatient rehab. Outpatient facilities generally require patients to meet a few hours a day, a few days a week. You can also take advantage of individual or group therapy sessions while in outpatient treatment. Outpatient therapy is a great way to help individuals connect with others who are also on the recovery journey and allows them to stay on track with their progress and sobriety. Should an individual get tempted or have a setback, outpatient programs can help individuals get back on track and can provide a great support system.
Treating Alcohol Addiction With Medication
There are many alcohol addiction medications from which you can choose. Keep in mind that medications are meant to be administered alongside inpatient or outpatient treatment. Medication should not be the only source of treatment for individuals because it is only addressing the physical aspect the problem. Addictions affect individuals physically, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually, which is professional therapy and inpatient or outpatient treatment must also be utilized.
The following are some of the most popular and effective medicines utilized in treating alcohol addiction:
- Antabuse: Approved over 50 years ago to treat alcohol addiction, this drug works by interfering with the body’s natural ability to absorb alcohol and causes unpleasant side effects when alcohol is consumed, including: palpitations, nausea, and even flushing. However, it doesn’t curb and you can still feel alcohol’s pleasurable effects until the medication kicks in.
- Naltrexone: This drug curbs cravings and minimizes the pleasure associated with alcohol by blocking receptor sites in the brain that receive endorphins. It can be taken once a day in pill form or injected once a month.
- Campral: Campral is taken three times a day orally and reduces withdrawal symptoms. It reduces anxiety, restlessness, insomnia, and even unwanted mood changes that typically may cause a relapse..
- Topamax: Topamax has been approved by the FDA to treat seizures,but not alcohol addiction. However, it mirrors the drug Campral because it can reduce symptoms of long-term alcohol abstinence.
Battling an alcohol addiction can be a challenge not only for the individual but for friends and family who are watching their loved one struggle as well. Start your journey today and seek help now. Contact us today at AlcoholTreatment.net to speak to our caring counselors. They will help you address your concerns and find the right therapy center for your needs.
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.
For years researchers in the form of doctors and counselors have dedicated their efforts to studying cognitive behavioral approaches to addiction treatment. Why? Identifying successful strategies that fit this category would give professionals a means of addiction treatment that is both cost-effective and easy to implement.
Over the past twenty years, one proven form of cognitive behavioral treatment for addiction has been discovered in mindfulness meditation. As a result, practicing mindfulness has been used as an adjunct treatment and a stand-alone approach to rehab.
If you have been struggling with dependency on alcohol, you might want to pursue a rehab facility that incorporates mindfulness. But first, let’s discuss more about it.
What Is Mindfulness?
The variation of cognitive behavioral treatment that is gaining so much attention is called mindfulness.
In order to practice mindfulness, one must simply take a period of time out of the day (at least five minutes) and practice this meditation. Here are the steps to a session of mindfulness:
- Close eyes, be quiet, and steady breathing
- Clear the mind
- Recognize thoughts in non-judgmental, non-critical process
- Discard thoughts and transition to a state of peace
The above steps depict what a typical mindfulness session might look like. The goal is to achieve mental clarity by not dwelling on or being distracted by thoughts that enter the mind.
The process also allows a person to be aware of present thoughts, without giving those thoughts power over the mind.
Consciousness: Awareness And Attention
Clinical studies have proven that mindfulness helps a person reach a heightened state of awareness, which is identified as a facet of consciousness. What exactly is consciousness?
Consciousness contains two, intertwining parts: Awareness and attention. When a person is aware of thoughts, he or she knows what is going on in his or her mind. This person is simply aware of what is taking place.
During a normal day a person might think about a problem or experience and give that specific thought direct attention. Although this can be healthy, sometimes people get carried away with thoughts.
For example, a person struggling with addiction might grant him or herself the opportunity to think so much about going to get a bottle of booze that he or she feels overpowered by the thought; in turn, the person is compelled to hop in the car and drive straight over to the store. The person has given the thought a destructive level of attention.
Mindfulness Combating Unhealthy “Attention”
Mindfulness breaks up detrimental and unproductive thought processes.
When a person practices mindfulness, he or she is capable and productive in releasing thoughts (both positive and negative) and achieving a new level of clarity.
Mindfulness simply breaks up the level of attention given to the thoughts that the mind is sometimes plagued with. A mindfulness meditation session is a few minutes of peace and self-awareness in the midst of a busy day.
What’s The Point?
Many scholars argue that we live in a habitual, “half-awake” state. In other words, rather than functioning with heightened attentiveness to our circumstances and surroundings, a “chronic…automatic functioning” is common for individuals.
These scholars argue that sometimes we get so engulfed in regrets of the past, distracted by the present, and anxious about the future, that we aren’t living fully in the present. Makes sense, right?
Mindfulness focuses on the present: The here and now. What is going on in the mind? Why am I so burdened? How do I release it all? The answer to these questions is by using mindfulness as a strategy to create effective thought processing.
We already mentioned one way that mindfulness can combat obsessive attention given to a specific thought. But what are other outlets that mindfulness provides to help a person with alcohol addiction?
Therapists and counselors have noted that coping strategies are a key factor in maintaining sobriety. One effective strategy is called mindfulness-based relapse prevention (MBRP).
MBRP has been adopted as an effective method for those struggling with addiction and in the process of rehabilitation and recovery, because it improves self-efficacy. Self efficacy is a person’s belief in his or her own ability to succeed or accomplish tasks.
Because mindfulness encourages a streamlined and non-burdening pattern of thought, a person who practices mindfulness also increases his or her self-efficacy. Mindfulness improves self-efficacy by building a positive approach to thoughts, which govern how a person approaches goals, challenges, and other tasks.
Benefits Of Mindfulness
Overall, mindfulness has many positives for a person willing to try this cognitive behavioral approach:
- Mental clarity
- Increased understanding
- Heightened awareness
- Ability to direct thoughts
- Develop relapse prevention measures
With such effective approaches to addiction treatment, it is not necessary to be burdened by the temptation of addiction. If you or someone you know has been dealing with alcohol addiction, it is time to reach out for help. Effective strategies, such as mindfulness, can be implemented in order to conquer dependency on alcohol or another drug.
Please make the life-changing decision to contact us today. At AlcoholTreatment.net, we will give you guidance on a mindfulness-based treatment facility that can help you achieve freedom from addiction.
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.
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.
It can be challenging to be diagnosed with both a mental illness and a substance addiction, and many attempt to alleviate symptoms by self-medicating, either with drugs or alcohol. They believe that their self-medicating is either good enough as treatment and that they don’t need professional help, or they engage in these habits in spite of traditional treatment. This ultimately leads to alcohol addiction, and combined with bipolar disorder, it can be a complicated situation for either you or a loved one.
According to a study by the American Journal of Managed Care, nearly 56% of individuals with bipolar disorder have experienced drug or alcohol addiction during their lifetime. Additionally, 46% of participants had abused or became addicted to alcohol. Symptoms that rise from bipolar disorder, such as pain or depression, often lead individuals to find comfort in alcohol; alcohol is the most commonly abused substance among those afflicted with bipolar disorder.
Understanding more about bipolar disorder and the combined effects of alcohol addiction is the first step to finding your path to recovery and the necessary treatment.
Bipolar Disorder and Alcohol: How Are They Related?
Similar to alcohol abuse, an individual with bipolar disorder is at-risk for their overall emotional and physical well-being. Those with bipolar disorder have a higher rate of relationship problems, instability in their finances, accidental injuries, and even suicide than those without the illness. Bipolar disorder and alcoholism pose an unsafe combination because alcohol can worsen the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
According to Mayo Clinic, there are a few factors that may link bipolar disorder with alcoholism:
- Hereditary traits – Bipolar disorder is hereditary, though some differences in genetic makeup can affect brain chemistry and how the brain responds to alcohol and other substances, which can increase the risk of addiction.
- Mania – These “highs” lead to bad judgment, and can also lead to increased substance use.
- Depression/Anxiety – While many turn to alcohol to ease the symptoms of bipolar disorder, it unfortunately has the opposite effect, making their symptoms worse.
So What Exactly Is Bipolar Disorder?
Bipolar disorder is defined as a mental illness that is marked by alternating periods of joy and depression. The condition carries a significant amount of symptoms, each correlate to the “highs” and “lows” of the disorder:
Symptoms of the “highs”:
- Becoming more impulsive and making grand, unrealistic plans.
- High energy and sex drive; has little need for rest.
- Exhibits poor judgment in their decisions.
- Excessively excited; causes rapid speech and loses focus on their work.
- Sudden mood changes.
- Alcohol and drug abuse.
Symptoms of the “lows”:
- Sadness and feelings of hopelessness or insignificance.
- Has trouble making decisions.
- Has trouble concentrating.
- Insomnia and needing more sleep.
- No longer finding joy in things or hobbies that they once liked.
- Uncontrollable crying.
- Changes in appetite; can cause either weight gain or loss.
- Thoughts and attempts at suicide
Keep in mind that with bipolar disorder, there is no fixed pattern in episode changes. Sometimes, an individual can have many episodes of the same temperament (either depressed or overjoyed) before suddenly shifting into the opposite mood. These periods can happen over a course of days, weeks, months, and sometimes even years.
In the past, bipolar disorder and alcoholism were treated separately at different facilities and with a different set of doctors and counselors. Today, more medical professionals realize the importance of treating both bipolar disorder and substance abuse at the same time, through what is known as “integrated treatment.” Integrated treatment boasts significant advantages, including:
- Cohesive care provided in a single facility, with one team of professionals that consist of addiction counselors, psychologists and doctors.
- Psychiatric medication to help manage bipolar disorder.
- Psychotherapy sessions that focus on managing your emotions and to minimize relapse.
Remember that you do not have to fight this battle alone. Contact us here at AlcoholTreatment.net to speak privately with one of our dedicated counselors to find out how you can get the help you need and to get back on your feet to a fulfilling life.