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never drinking again

Another Sunday of “Never Drinking Again?”

Spending Another Saturday or Sunday Hungover? Weekend Binge-Drinking Is a Serious Issue

“Ugh, I feel awful. I’m never drinking again.”

How many times have you mumbled something similar after waking up with a hangover? You have good intentions when you claim you’re never going to drink again, so you believe your declaration of sobriety. Unfortunately, you find yourself dealing with the hangover/hungover cycle again next weekend…and the weekend after that.

It doesn’t have to be like this. You can break your weekend binge-drinking habit with help from supportive, compassionate people who understand your situation.

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What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking refers to heavy drinking that quickly raises a man or woman’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) to a percentage of 0.08 grams or higher. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this usually occurs when a woman has more than 4 alcoholic beverages or a man has more than 5 alcoholic drinks in a 2-hour period.

Binge drinking is common at parties, bars, and events centered around alcohol. Some adults mindlessly consume multiple drinks as they socialize, dance, or snack on appetizers. Other folks intentionally down alcoholic beverages during drinking games, such as beer pong or Quarters.

Does binge drinking each weekend make me an alcoholic?

Not all binge drinkers are alcoholics. The CDC states that approximately 90% of heavy drinkers do not have an alcohol use disorder. (Alcoholism is an example of an alcohol use disorder.) However, that does leave approximately 10% of heavy drinkers that DO have an alcohol use disorder.

Why is binge drinking bad?

There are numerous risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption, including:

  • Vehicular crashes
  • Abnormal and/or inappropriate behavior
  • Injuries
  • Alcohol poisoning

Drinking heavily may lower your inhibitions, making you more likely to engage in activities you would normally avoid. Some potential side effects of excessive drinking, such as liver damage and memory issues, may not appear immediately.

Can a teen have a binge-drinking problem?

Binge drinking affects people of all ages, including teens and preteens. One out of every 5 drinkers are under the age of 21, and 13% of underage drinkers admit they have had recent episodes of binge drinking.

What should I do if someone I love is a weekend binge drinker?

It’s difficult to watch a loved one battle hangovers or other unwanted side effects caused by binge drinking. If you’re concerned about a loved one’s drinking, don’t lecture her or criticize her actions. Invite her to attend alcohol-free events with you, and let her know that you’re happy to lend an ear if she ever wants to talk about her drinking. Don’t press the issue; you don’t want to push your loved one away.

How do I know if I’m drinking too much?

Ask trusted friends or family members how they feel about your drinking, but keep in mind that some loved ones may sugarcoat potential issues to avoid conflict. Make a list of how your drinking affects your life. It may help to track what, how much, and when you drink on a calendar.

After tracking your alcohol consumption, do you notice a pattern of hangovers, fights with your significant other, or missed shifts at work? These are all signs that your weekend drinking habits are impacting your life in a negative way.

If I have a problem with binge drinking, does that mean I have to give up drinking forever?

This is a common concern that people who consider giving up alcohol completely. It’s difficult to imagine an alcohol-free life, especially if your social outings or business meetings frequently involve alcoholic beverages or if those around you would not be willing to cut out alcohol during gatherings.

Some binge drinkers become dependent on alcohol, so they decide it’s best to adopt a sober lifestyle. There are also people who successfully modify their drinking habits without permanently giving up alcohol. An alcohol abuse specialist can help you decide if you should limit or eliminate alcohol consumption.

You can have fun without alcohol, but adjusting to sobriety takes time. If you decide to quit drinking, make sure you surround yourself with encouraging people who support your path toward sobriety. You deserve a happy, healthy and rewarding life.

happy life not hungover

CDC: Number of Opioid Prescriptions Falling

opioid prescriptionsAccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of opioid prescriptions in the United States fell 18% between its peak in 2010 and 2015. However, it is still three times higher than it was in just 1999.

The reduction in prescriptions is partially due to the revised prescribing practices that have been recommended for physicians, as well as the general awareness campaigns brought on by the overdose epidemic. For more than a decade our nation has lost many thousands of lives each year to drugs like OxyContin, Vicodin, Percocet, Opana and many others. Unfortunately, those horrible losses are still occurring today.

While there are still some counties around the nation that have shown increased activity in this regard, there are also additional good news reports, such as the number of prescriptions with high doses dropping by 41% since 2010.

It is still unclear what kind of impact this reduction will have on current and future opioid abusers. While there will still be thousands of people who die each year, hopefully that number continues to go down as well.

“We do know that when you start people on prescription opioids, the risk of unintended consequences and illicit use goes up. But our staff has done intensive analyses to see whether changing policies for prescription drugs shifts people into illicit use, and the answer is no,” explained Dr. Anne Schuchat, acting director of CDC, in response to the suggestion that limiting the number of pills being prescribed will drive abusers to seek out street drugs like heroin.

The painkiller epidemic is one area where it seems that cutting down the supply will have an effect on the demand, eventually. This is encouraging news for the continued efforts to help save lives from prescription drug addiction of all kinds, not just opioids. These and other forms of interventions are often necessary when it comes to

Elderly Being Targeted for Financial Abuse by Addicted Relatives, Friends

Financial Abuse by Addicted RelativesThe heroin crisis affects more than just the addicts using the drug. The elderly are also becoming victimized by this illegal drug in increasing numbers. Officials say that this segment of the population is being neglected by addicted family members and friends on whom they are dependent for care. The abuse is often financial, meaning that they are being drained of their assets by those they trust.

Number of Cases Involving Adult Protective Services Growing

The situation is particularly acute in Ohio. Sara Junk, the chairperson of the State’s Coalition of Adult Protective Services (APS), told the House finance committee recently that she had never seen the number of referrals to APS reach current levels in all the years she had been in this field. Ms. Junk also said that there was a “dire need” for more workers to investigate and respond to protect situations involving the elderly.

She referred directly to the opioid crisis when speaking about seniors who were trusting their addicted loved ones, “sometimes to their downfall or death.”

While that particular state has provided $10 million in one-time funding to improve protection for the elderly over the last few years, Ms. Junk said that level is not adequate to deal with the number of cases APS is seeing. The State has also provided new training for caseworkers and set consistent standards. It also introduced a helpline reporting number to report instances of abuse.

Financial Abuse Cases Common

The National Center on Elder Abuse estimates that one in 10 seniors in the US is abused or neglected annually. The number of seniors who have been financially abused has increased in recent years, mostly due to addicted children and relatives taking advantage of them.

Actual numbers may be higher than reported. Victims may be reluctant to tell police or social workers because they are afraid of reprisals from their relatives. The senior may also fear the loss of their only caregiver if they report the abuse.

Adult children and grandchildren are moving in with elderly parents in order to care for them. If they have good intentions, then this arrangement can work out well.

Drug-dependent adults can use this opportunity to take advantage of the senior by gaining access to the older person’s bank account or having them sign a power of attorney. The addict may even get the senior to sign over assets or change their will to the addict’s advantage.

All of these examples are often overlooked in the larger picture of the impact of substance abuse on society. This is just one of many more reasons why we have to continue to provide evidence-based treatment, intervention and prevention services to help as many people as possible.

If you have a loved one who is addicted, contact us today to find out how we can help.

Early Trauma Can Have Long-Lasting Effects on Drug Abuse

Journal of Substance Abuse TreatmentResearchers at the University of Illinois have found yet another reason why childhood trauma can have disastrous effects on a person. According to the new study that was published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, children who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are 67% more likely to require drug and alcohol treatment as adults.

There are all sorts of traumatic instances that can cause a child to have PTSD. Physical abuse, emotional abuse, witnessing violence and death can all contribute to this lifelong emotional issue. The researchers were not focused on the causes of the disorder for this study, as they were looking at ways to intervene upon children before they require drug and alcohol treatment or incarceration. So, when they determined that such a large group of children will end up in treatment after being diagnosed with PTSD, it was clear that they had discovered an entry point for early intervention.

When a child is diagnosed with PTSD this may be the time to introduce various treatments and intervention techniques. This could include education, screening for potential drug and alcohol misuse, or parental education. However, there is more than just a PTSD diagnosis that increases these children’s chances of needing drug treatment in the future. Researchers also found that associating with peers who are troubled and children who have social-emotional difficulties are also more likely to misuse drugs and alcohol in the future, indicating that there are social effects as well that go beyond their initial diagnosis.

Additionally, while early intervention methods are important in helping these kids, aftercare is also important for those that have and need alcohol and drug treatment. This may be a different sort of aftercare regimen than for those who do not have PTSD.

“Traditionally, once we get people into treatment, we put them through the program, then wish them good luck and send them out on their own. However, someone with chronic trauma and substance use problems is probably going to need ongoing care that re-evaluates their treatment plan at regular intervals and addresses issues such as mental health problems or housing and connects them with resources,” remarked Jordan Davis, a doctoral student in social work at the University of Illinois.

Isolating incidents that can increase or decrease a child’s risk of alcohol or drug abuse is crucial when it comes to minimizing the dangerous societal effects of drugs and alcohol. Research like this highlights the importance of early intervention and keeping up to date on potential risk factors.

Addiction Prevention and Intervention Starts at Home

Drug abuse and the temptations surrounding drugs is often a difficult topic of discussion for many families. Parents hope and pray that their child does not grow up to become an addict or an alcoholic. However, preventing these dangerous behaviors takes more than just hoping.

It is not only important to discuss the temptation, danger and potential deadly effects of drugs, it is vital in order to help keep children safe and sober. In the past, some issues surrounding drug and alcohol have been so taboo that many people would choose not to acknowledge that the problem even existed, or that it was only “over there.” However, as more young people fall into a life that includes drug use, parents all over the country are realizing that in order to protect their children the uncomfortable conversations need to occur early and often.

In order to avoid discussing potential drug and alcohol abuse problems, many parents and family members sit back and hope that the problem will go away on its own. Sometimes they think that a simple change in circumstances will solve it, such as finding a new love, getting a new job or letting some time pass. However, it typically it takes much more than hoping to get rid of a substance abuse problem. It usually requires taking a proactive approach in discussing the problem and solutions, such as getting into treatment.

If a person is exhibiting strange changes in personality or behavior, these are often signs of drug or alcohol abuse: a sudden decrease in performance at school or work, excessive talking or silence, odd sleeping patterns, abrupt change of friends or associates, sudden financial problems or rapid fluctuations in weight. There are others, but these cover a wide range of noticeable behavior shifts.

Being aware of drug use symptoms is equally important for adults as well as teens. If you suspect your loved one has a drug or alcohol problem, contact Desert Cove Recovery to speak with a counselor who can help.

New Link Between Substance Abuse and ADHD Discovered

adhdpetscanResearchers have been studying the potential link between adolescents with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and substance abuse. A study that is currently being conducted seems to prove that the two problems are share some commonalities.

By studying 1,778 14-year-olds, the research team was able to connect substance abuse and other disorders to the same area in the brain. The study asked the teens to do several tasks while undergoing an MRI, they were also asked to answer personality questions about themselves. The same tests were administered two years later as well.

While the results have not yet been published, some statistics from the study have been released. The research team found that of those tested 4.4% were classified as having ADHD. By the time the group reached the age of 16 the amount of them diagnosed with the disorder rose to 6.6%. The team also measured the amount of teenagers who were engaging in alcohol and/or other substance abuse. When the group was 14 years-old, 3.7% of them were abusing alcohol and 10.6% of them were abusing some sort of substance. When the group got tested at the age of 16 the numbers rose to 18.0% and 27.1%, respectively.

In order to establish a link between substance abuse and ADHD, the researchers used a statistical model to assess the risk factors that were linked to certain psychiatric symptoms. The outcome of using this model was that the research team could isolate three factors that linked substance abuse to an attention disorder.

Of the teens tested who had both a mood disorder and were ingesting drugs and/or alcohol, they had three common traits: impulsive action, impulsive choice and reward sensitivity. “Thrill or sensation seeking and abnormal activity in frontal brain regions when anticipating rewards differentiated youth who were uniquely at risk for alcohol misuse relative to those at risk for problems generally,” stated Natalie Castellanos-Ryan, who helped conduct the study.

By utilizing the data gathered in this research study, the hope is that the medical community will be able to identify early on those children who are at risk for substance abuse and intervene before there is a problem.