Saturday, July 7, 2018

The Effects of Chronic Alcohol Consumption

When it comes to alcohol, it doesn't take that much to go over your daily limit. Alcohol abuse can cause some serious negative effects on the body in the short-term when abused.

However, when abuse is happening on a regular basis for a long time, it can cause serious damage to your body and mind. Today we're talking about the possible devastating physical effects that chronic alcohol consumption can have on you in the long-term.

What is alcohol abuse exactly? It can refer to a night out or it can refer to habitual misuse or over-consumption of alcohol. While you can always recover from a night out, when your body is constantly processing alcohol, it's going to cause damage over time that will be tough to reverse-- if not impossible.

If you're a woman and you're roughly supposed to have a drink an hour to maintain blood alcohol levels, and you have two drinks in an hour for the next three hours, you're going to be drunk and in less control over how you make choices and respond to situations. That could be classified as alcohol abuse because you're using the substance in a manner that results in intoxication.

It can also refer to just a chronic abuse of alcohol. Abuse can be similar in some ways and different in others, happening for different reasons or motivations. Abusing alcohol does not even necessarily mean that there's an alcohol addiction there. However, abusing alcohol does open the door for addiction. Men are supposed to drink 2 drinks a day and 1 a day for women maximum to stay healthy and avoid causing damage to the body. More than that can be problematic.

It just seems like a drink. It may be different colors, it may have bubbles. Alcohol can seem benign because it tastes good, and it can be festive. However, that does not prevent it from causing real damage.

The more alcohol there is present in the blood, the more that there may be serious side effects that happen in the body. That can be things you unintentionally do, like accidents due to lack of coordination, as well as the physical fallout in the body of continually dealing with alcohol, because being drunk can cause damage to major organs in your body.

Alcohol hits the bloodstream from your stomach lining and 33% of what you've imbibed goes straight into the blood. The small intestine slowly absorbs the rest. Consuming too much alcohol means more alcohol in the blood rising quickly and then makings its way to the brain, heart, and more once in the blood.

Too much alcohol in the blood that goes to the brain means that your brain is getting literally flooded with the alcohol. That causes a disruption in the neural pathways that interferes heavily with the neural messaging network. This can cause a number of effects, including mood change, behavior change, difficulty thinking clearly, coordination problems, and more.

Alcohol abuse has an effect on your body. It can damage your heart and cause cardiomyopathy, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and stroke. The liver detoxifies your system and views alcohol in your system as a contaminate. So, they release enzymes specially produced in the pancreas and liver so that they can break down the alcohol so that it's not so toxic.

If it's doing this all the time, the liver will become inflamed and result in manifestations such as fatty liver, alcoholic hepatitis, fibrosis, and cirrhosis. The pancreas will also become inflamed and lead to potential development of pancreatitis, which is inflammation. That swelling prevents your body from digesting things properly and can also damage other systems as well. That damage can be irreparable once it gets to a certain point.

On top of this, chronic use can raise your risk of getting cancer in your throat, mouth, and esophagus. This is perhaps because of the constant oral intake where the cells are constantly degenerating due to the abuse. You're also at higher risk for breast and liver cancer too. You're also risking developing a weak immune system that is less adept at fighting off diseases.

Alcohol can really damage your body over time. If you have a problem, consider going to substance abuse rehab and pursuing a different lifestyle. If you can change paths now, you will be healthier in the end and better off for it. Chronic alcohol abuse is guaranteed over time to diminish quality of life or health or both. Change your path now...while you still can.

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Teens and Drugs; What to Do As a Parent

Are you worried that your child is using drugs? Some parents have no idea what they would do if they found out that their teenager was actively using substances. Perhaps you have developed suspicions because your child is acting strangely or they are hanging out with a different crowd. Maybe you are noticing strange signs that don't add up, like they are always tired or they have odd marks on their arms.

When it comes to teen drug addiction, it's a complex subject. If you think that your teen may be using drugs, you should read up on what different drug use looks like and realize that different substances come with different challenges-- and potentially different reactions from the person using them if they are confronted.

While there may still be yet an important conversation ahead of you, the thing to do is to not panic and also figure out a way to move forward. The first step will likely be speaking with your partner or spouse about the topic before going ahead.

The first thing that you'll want to do is talk to your partner or spouse. If you don't live with the biological parent of your teen, you may want to speak to them as well. Talk to each other about what you think and commit to be a united front and if you do have that conversation with your child, come from a place of love and not anger.

Your goal may just be to speak to your teen and let them know that you do not want them using drugs. They may be confrontational and confront you about past use; even when it comes to current use of tobacco, you're allowed to do what you want as a legal adult and using a legal substance. Emphasis, however, the difficulty of becoming addicted to a substance and how you would ideally like your child to not have to make the same mistakes.

Not everyone has the temperament to take on the conversation. Don't avoid it because it is uncomfortable; however if you are the type to get angry or fly off the handle, it may be better to let the cooler head prevail if your partner is calmer. Your son or daughter may be uncomfortable or even try to bait you. If the conversation gets too heated, it's your responsibility to end it and come back to it later.

A counselor may also be able to help all of you navigate this as a family and also learn techniques for communication and perhaps even improvement. It might help to have an outcome in mind or even to set small goals or steps to deal with this. If you need to set rules for the home and your teen moving ahead, then that's what you need to do.

You and your partner need to be prepared to enforce any rules or guidelines that you set, as well as consequences for breaking the rules. Drug and alcohol dependence happen all the time, but you want to break the cycle of addiction early if you can. The best thing you can do is to be honest and to try and find a way to break your teen's substance use before addiction gets really bad. Thanks for reading and good luck talking to your teen.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Know the Warning Signs and More: Tips for Preventing Relapse

Are you in recovery from addiction? Fighting addiction is a battle that lasts a lifetime. Getting sober can be very difficult.

Even if you have been sober for months or have completed treatment or rehab and consider yourself clean at the moment, the journey is not over. Recovery is not a one-time thing.

The best way to practice drug relapse prevention is to know the warning signs and to know more about addiction. Relapses are very frequent for addicts in recovery. How can you prevent it? By knowing the signs.

The temptation of relapse can be stronger at some times than others. That's the danger of being in recovery; there isn't truly one moment where you can say that you're fine and you need to stop fighting.

Only abstinence and consistency as well as a strong commitment to leading a sober and successful life can help you achieve your goals. If you're in recovery, your goal is to be in the percentage of individuals in recovery that avoid relapse and do what they can to stay clean.

Relapses can be brought on by triggers. It could be a break up or any other type of interaction, relationship in your life, or event that puts you into a vulnerable place. Some of the dangers of triggers often include the fact that they can be used to justify using again by an addict.

Triggers can be environmental, emotional, or based on exposure and can also be based off of old routines and memories. Each person is different, but common triggers often include strong negative emotions, being around people or places that remind you of using, having drugs or alcohol present around you, seeing examples of addiction, being in a 'party' mentality, and using substances.

The death of a loved one, financial pressures, health problems, conflict, marital status, and more can also be triggers that lead to an eventual relapse. If you know that you or someone you know is experiencing one or more of these triggers, you can be prepared to look for warning signs with them (or yourself) and offer or encourage them to seek support.

Warning Signs:

  • Dishonesty
  • Hanging out with people with whom they used to use
  • Changes in personality, behavior, routine
  • Changes in sleep, health, hygiene, or appetite
  • Overconfidence or self-pitying attitude

Ways to Prevent Relapse:

  • Avoiding the presence of drugs and alcohol
  • Knowing what your triggers are
  • Knowing what other people's triggers are
  • Having a support system in place
  • Avoiding anything that makes you crave a drink or drugs
  • Talking to a therapist
  • Getting enough rest, exercise, and nutrition
  • Stick to your schedule
  • Attending AA meetings
  • H.A.L.T.: Keep in mind that when you are Hungry Angry Lonely or Tired that you may be especially vulnerable to making poor choices.
  • Take a moment to assess or call a sponsor or friend if you're feeling tempted.
  • Come up with a plan of action with your sponsor or therapist.

Recovery isn't easy, but it's worth it. Never stop fighting for your sobriety. Use these tips to prevent relapse and always reach out to those that support you in your journey to be a sober as well as happy and healthy individual.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Someone You Love Has a Problem with Substance Abuse: What to Do

Do you have someone close to you or know that someone that you love is struggling with using substances? When it comes to having a problem with drinking or drugs, sometimes the signs can be there long before we realize that there is a problem.

How we find out is often significant of where the process is at. It may be possible that your loved one confided in you about the nature of their issue because they are feeling overwhelmed or they got caught in a scenario where they were visibly intoxicated. Perhaps you heard about it from a relative or put the pieces together when they were fired from their job and were acting strangely when you last saw them.

While it can be a shock and even upsetting to find out that someone you care about deeply is struggling with dependency or reliance or deep-set emotional or even psychological issues, it's also important to start the process of educating yourself about substance abuse in general. Now is not the time to plan a rushed intervention; nor it is a good idea to let someone know how their choices are affecting you as it is likely to get out of hand.

What should you do if you suspect or discover that someone close to you may have a problem with substances?

Having a substance abuse problem can be really tough. For individuals that have this problem, they often have no idea or even a concern that their behavior or lifestyle is affecting those close to them. Many people who are dealing with drinking or drug problems often hide their problem or cover up for the extent of it. This is so that they don't have to deal with that lifestyle changing or anyone possibly interfering with their routine.

Drinking and doing drugs can be a disease. Those close to individuals who have abuse problems don't always know that certain substances may lead to hostility and even unpredictable behavior and violence. Understand that this type of abuse is a disease and the individual may not always be able to stop-- even if part of them wants to.

As it is a disease, family members or friends may unwittingly enable this behavior by covering it up or simply acting as though it does not exist. While it is important to eventually confront the issue and perhaps tell the person how you feel, ideally it might be safer to go to the office of a licensed therapist or counselor that can mediate the discussion. However, it is better to be honest about your feelings. Have a third person there for support and safety.

Coming from a place of concern will ultimately be more effective than ranting about how they have hurt you. Remember that they are still sensitive and while they may seem tough, they are in a fragile place. Expressing concern and hope that they seek treatment or offering to help pay for rehabilitation may be helpful. If they turn you down, then you did what you could.

Those struggling with this type of abuse often need to choose to get help first. If you have been enabling someone close to you, stop and begin focusing on taking care of yourself. Remember that you need to live life for yourself too and that there are endless resources and materials available to you to do so.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How Emotional Sobriety Can Help You in Addiction Recovery

When it comes to addressing addiction in drug addiction recovery, sometimes there is more to be addressed than just physical dependency on a drug. Many people think of addiction as simply the act or pattern of using substances, but there can be more to addiction than that. While it's necessary to address the drug aspect of addiction, there is often a host of other emotional and mental issues that can play into and even be the main drive for the habit.

In fact, the emotional aspect to addiction plays a huge role in the development and existence of an addiction. This is why physical detox and getting sober is often not enough to help people stay clean and they relapse back into addiction. To truly beat addiction, individuals must obtain emotional sobriety as well. If they do, they stand a much greater chance of staying clean and creating a more stable and fulfilling life.

Read on to find out how emotional sobriety actually can help you when it comes to recovery.

First we should address what emotional sobriety means. At the end of the day, it's a state where you can feel your emotions without being overwhelmed by them or feeling you want or need to turn to substances to numb, get away, or 'fix' your emotional pain. This may seem like a terrifying and even near-impossible thing to many people who continue to use drugs, alcohol, cutting, eating disorders and more to control their mental and emotional states.

While this may seem scary, achieving emotional sobriety is key if we want to truly recover from addiction. If you can learn how to react differently to extreme feelings you are having and manage your emotions without turning to drugs or alcohol, you greatly improve the chances that you will be able to stay sober and rebuild your life. At this point, you may have lost jobs, people close to you, damaged relationships, drained your finances, and left your life in a wreck. The only way to ensure that you're not going to do that again is to buckle down, do the work, and really go through some things and address the reasons why you use or your addiction is necessary in your life.

Some negative ways of dealing with feelings can include trying to push them down-- people try to block out the emotions that they are feeling. While this can provide a temporary sense of relief, the feelings are still there and they can often manifest in other ways. Even though your conscious mind is trying to avoid thinking about them, unfortunately the effects they have on you still exist to an extent and you may find yourself using your addiction to deal with them.
Other people in the throes of addiction may not know how to handle their emotions. In certain detox programs and recovery programs, you will likely find that they put a great deal of focus onto counseling, therapy, and emotional detox as well. In this way, many programs are key in helping people with addiction address their recovery.

When you can learn to process your emotional world and heal from it, you may find that you are able to heal your addiction instead of being dominated by it. When you have a better relationship with your mind, feelings, and thoughts, you have a better platform to operate from and a better chance of succeeding at sobriety. Thank you for reading, and good luck.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Summer Sobriety: How to Stay Strong Amid Warm Weather Temptations



If you've worked hard to overcome addiction and stay focused on your sobriety, congratulations! Your effort to stay clean and sober cannot be lauded enough. It's a huge accomplishment, although one that requires constant effort to maintain. When it comes to the newly sober, temptation can be everywhere.

Unfortunately, coming into your first sober summer can mean that you must gear up to fight temptation. There are a lot of things about the warmer season that can invite a relapse or falling off the wagon. With more socializing happening, more outings, more outdoor activities, celebrations, parties, barbecues, and gatherings, it can feel like you're staring temptation in the face at every turn. Sure, you didn't plan for that margarita blender to be there and the punch laced with rum to be sitting on the table, but there it is.

Summer can be a hugely testing time for those in recovery. Here are our tips to stay strong in the warmer months and maintain your sobriety. Read on to find out more.

Skip the Event
As much as you may want to attend an event, you are not obligated to go. If you don't feel that you are strong enough to resist the temptation of a beer or three at a backyard barbecue, perhaps it's better that you eliminate the temptation all together by not physically being there. Avoid events or gatherings where there will be substances that you should stay away from. Especially if you don't feel strong, this is a good way to make sure you don't slip up.

Have Planned Reactions
If you call your sponsor when you feel tempted, that is a backup plan that can serve you well. Any time in the summer that you feel that you are tempted to have that drink or go buy that substance, you need a plan of action of what you're going to do. Step one can be call your sponsor, step two calling a family member, and step three could be finding the closest AA meeting near you. Step four could even be going to church, temple, or synagogue. Have a plan for what you're going to do when you feel tempted.

Do Sober Events and Activities
Picking up hobbies and doing things that are sober is a great way to not even have to deal with temptation. Plan a badminton party with friends who are sober, or take up going to film festivals or foreign film screenings. If you love working out, hit up the gym or do something challenging outside. Take up kayaking, yoga, or kickboxing. Hang out with sober friends, take a yoga class-- whatever is interesting to you that is not your addiction and expands your health is a good thing.

Figure Out Your Triggers

When you know your triggers, you can deal with them. Knowing your triggers can help you acknowledge their presence and take action to avoid relapsing after. Talk with a counsellor or meet with a therapist to delve into why your addiction exists and how you can take steps to stay sober, especially during the warmer months where there's so much to do and you can feel especially tempted to relapse.

Monday, April 17, 2017

How Addiction Shows in Appearance and Hygiene


No matter what the substance, addiction can take a drastic toll on your way of life. Not only can addiction ruin your relationships, it can also drastically damage your health and appearance. Addiction sometimes becomes all too visible. It shows in many ways. Many addictions do reach that point where feeding the habit takes priority over caring for oneself by the addict.

Here are a few ways that addiction can change how you appear and take care of yourself.


1. The skin.

Using substances can take a huge toll on how the skin appears. Factor in as well that with addicts, many people who are actively using may not be getting the full spectrum of nutrition that a wholesome diet would usually include (or they do not have much of an appetite and are not taking in as many nutrients and calories that they should a day). This can cause people to lose a great deal of weight, for their skin to appear sallow or thin, for protruding cheekbones, or just simply looking unhealthy due to malnutrition. Many addicts look older than their biological age, have wrinkles or deep folds in their skin, and display scars and marks more prominently.


2. Bad oral health.

Drug use can often show up very visibly in the mouth. A variety of dental and gum results can happen as a result of addiction, including teeth that are yellow or even decaying. A lack of dental care combined with an absence from the dentist means that addicts also often suffer from bad breath. Whether their self care has lapsed or they frequently smoke or just don't brush their teeth, people who abuse substances often display a less than pearly white smile and fresh minty breath.


3. Dirty or grungy clothing.

Sometimes a person who is an avid substance abuser can be wearing clothing that is shoddy or filthy. They may wear dirty layers of clothing and you can bet that doing their laundry is not high up enough on the priority list, as they have either not the time or motivation to do it or a lack of money because it's all going elsewhere. They also will frequently have a dirty or cluttered place of residence or smell bad because guess what, they haven't been showering because their hot water is off or they're drifting between different paces.


4. Their eyes.

The eyes can become overly dry, or yellowed, or even look strange, surrounded by under eye circle and bags or looking puffy. In fact, many people who abuse drugs really feel like the entire shape and look of their face is strange and unfamiliar to them. If your eyes become discolored or feel dry, consulting a medical professional may provide you with relief.


5. Greasy hair.
Hair can get pretty oily quickly, even after 24 hours. So when someone is more interested in doing drugs than showering, or has a resulting depression or energy affectation that is getting in the way of regular showers, or they're homeless, someone who's in the depths of addiction may have oily hair that seems like it could use a wash.


A disorganized and possibly unhygienic lifestyle quickly becomes normal to someone who is under the influence. If you want to overcome addiction and recognize these signs in yourself, help is a phone call away.