Archive for the ‘Alcohol’ Category

The Elderly Are at Just as Much Risk as Younger Generations When it Comes to Alcohol and Drug Abuse

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Recent numbers from the Center for Disease Control are telling us that one in ten deaths among working-age adults is related to alcohol, alcoholism and alcohol abuse. This statistic alone is shocking enough, but these figures only account for adults within the age of 20-64. Adults over 65 are still at risk, and it is being shown that alcohol abuse in seniors is a very serious problem that requires immediate attention and assessment. It may come as a surprise to the rest of us that many seniors struggle with an addiction to alcohol. Similar to the working-age figures, ten percent of adults 65 and over are binge drinkers or heavy drinkers. Part of the problem, experts say, is that many seniors are living alone and have no one to look out for them and help control their drinking, therefore leading to the problem never being detected.

“The fact that this demographic is made up of people who are often retired and living alone, or at least living without kids, is important. A lot of these seniors are people who may have experimented with drugs in the 60s and 70s—and now that they have more free time and fewer family and work obligations, they are experimenting with drugs and alcohol all over again. As this report makes plain, the results can be disastrous.”

In another area of abused substances, seniors also seem to be keeping with the ties. We know that many teens, young adults and working-age adults alike abuse prescription medications. It would seem that a large portion of seniors are no different. Many of them abuse painkillers, sedatives, sleeping medications and tranquillizers. The sad part is that many seniors do legitimately require these medications, but if they are living at home without any kind of support or supervision they may be unable to understand how to properly use their medications, and may overdose because they feel their dosage isn’t enough to treat their symptoms or because no one has explained to them the very real dangers of misusing certain types of substance or combining prescription medication with alcohol or other drugs.

It would seem that addiction can strike at pretty much every age group, and that it doesn’t discriminate. If young people can fall victim to this vicious disease then there is no reason why senior citizens can’t stumble down that road. Many people abuse drugs to escape the realities of their complicated and unsatisfying lives, and if you consider what a lot of older people go through it isn’t that surprising that they will compensate by using and abusing drugs and alcohol. Maybe it’s because they are cut off from their kids or grandchildren, or maybe they simply don’t leave the house anymore or are stuck in a retirement home that they don’t care for, and it could be that they are suffering from a wide variety of medical issues, but the fact is is that older people have just as many reasons to get caught up in the world of drugs and alcohol as younger people do. And if we take that to be true, they deserve as much treatment help and compassion as any other person who is struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. Just because they may be our grandparents doesn’t mean they should be forgotten nor should we allow them to fall through the cracks.

 

VIA:ABNEWSWIRE

Teenage Substance Abuse: The Signs and How to Help

Thursday, April 17th, 2014

Sobriety.caSeeing the signs of drug use in teens can be extremely difficult as many teenagers who aren’t on drugs behave secretly and moodily. In addition to that, many parents are not ready to admit the possibility that their son or daughter could possibly be among those group of teens who smoke pot, drink or worse. It should also be noted that it isn’t always easy being a teenager as things like peer pressure and bullying can be great reasons for some teens to start masking their problems with alcohol or substance abuse. There are signs to watch out for, and some of them can be helpful in identifying a potential pattern of substance use in your teenage son or daughter. Some include inappropriate forms of dress, like long sleeve shirts and sweaters in the summer, as these can be used to hide needle marks for instance. Stealing is an obvious sign, but may not be related as many teenagers do shoplift, but in relation to drug use it can be explained as a means to get money for buying booze, cigarettes and drugs. A sudden change in friends is another thing to watch out for, as a new group of friends may be the ones responsible for introducing a teen to substances. A new group of friends can be a necessary change for a teen experimenting with drugs as their old friends may not be into the drug and alcohol scene. The last, and probably most important sign, is the disappearance of prescription medicine from the medicine cabinet or missing pills from the bottle. Particularly prescription painkillers, which many teens these days to get high.

So what, as a parent, should you do if you find out your teenager is using (Or potentially addicted to) drugs? Don’t freak out! If you lose control of the situation from the start, you may already be behind in the game. The first thing you may want to consider is sitting down with your teenager and listening to what they have to say even if it may be hard to hear or if it doesn’t make sense to you. Teenagers can be difficult to understand at the best of times, but if they have a problem with drugs and alcohol then there is obviously something wrong that needs your immediate attention and support. There are plenty of options to consider in the approach to helping your son or daughter get the assistance they need to free themselves from the world of drugs. It doesn’t matter where you live, there are groups, doctors, therapists, rehab centers and of course family support wherever you may be. The most important thing is not to take on the burden of helping your kid on your own. There are professionals for a reason. A child psychiatrist or addiction experts can help both your kid and you as they will have plenty of valuable insight and treatment advice to offer you as a parent as well as the child in question.

Whether you decide that a mental health professional is the way to go, a youth drug treatment center or possibly an intervention to start things off, you’re already on the right track to helping your child succeed in defeating their substance abuse problem.

 

VIA: DrugAbuse.com

A More Reasonable Approach to Spring Break

Monday, February 24th, 2014

Panama City Beach, a popular spring break destination for college students in the US has stopped including alcohol in their promotional material. The tourist hub issued ads in college newspapers across the country, but due to a reprimand from the American Medical Association, did not advertise special drink deals and promotions that some spring break destinations do include. On top of removing alcohol advertising the tourism bureau for Panama City Beach are encouraging those flocking to their city on spring break to use caution. Some of their advice includes sticking with your friends, not accepting drinks from strangers, taking a cab instead of driving and being aware that drug and alcohol laws will be strictly enforced.

Via About.com:

We hope that students take a minute to realize that their safety and fun depend on the decisions they make throughout spring break

Last year the American Medical Association released a statement saying that spring break is no longer the safe vacation from the stressful college life. They state that it has in fact become dangerous and “potentially life threatening”. These statements, while blunt, are indeed important to those planning to spend their time off at a popular spring break destination, as well as the parents of those college students who are under the legal age to purchase alcohol. The alcohol companies may also play a role in the potential danger that arises during these vacations. Targeting young people isn’t something new to big alcohol and when they advertise a beautiful beach, tantalizingly cold beers and half naked women, it’s no surprise that some vacationers fall into the spectacle and end up hurt, sick or dead.

It is important for those planning a week or two of partying over their “study week” that they ignore the special alcohol deals that some tourist destinations advertise, consult their parents if they are under 21 and exercise moderation. There is plenty of fun to be had even if you don’t go overboard, and whether it’s pressure from friends or an attempt to impress someone, it isn’t worth spending the rest of the vacation in an emergency room.

The Slippery Slope to Alcohol Abuse

Friday, February 14th, 2014

As we celebrate Valentine’s day this year it brings alcoholism and addiction to the forefront of our minds, especially on the fairer sex. As women are undertaking greater and greater challenges, stacking them upon each other, it is no doubt a difficult time of year for those who are in committed relationships. Valentine’s day is about love towards our children, family members and partners, but also puts pressure on those suffering from addiction as well as those within the family who are struggling to keep their alcoholism or drug use under control. Women have become the central figures of millions of families and are now balancing careers, children, a husband and in some cases a drug or alcohol problem. Perhaps out of love many women with duties at home turn to the bottle and self-medicate, or perhaps they have a mood disorder like depression, but in many cases a day like Valentine’s can be hard for many women because it brings into sharp relief just how important and dependable they truly think they need to be. This strong resolve that many professional women managing careers and families can become problematic in seeking treatment. There are two types of shame that are facing women with addiction problems. The shame that makes them feel they may have bit off more than they could chew, and the shame about admitting that their drug of choice failed to be helpful in the long run and that they now feel even more embarrassed because of their new dependance on alcohol or other substances.

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Alcohol and drugs may seem to offer relief to many women who take on the challenges of a loving superhero, that relief will eventually turn into a depressing cycle. Valentine’s day may is meant to be an occasion to ignore the problems women face and enjoy a romantic dinner and be showered with chocolates and stuffed animals, but what happens the next day? It seems unfair that women may only have one day a year to feel totally loved and appreciated. One day to forget their busy schedules, their commitments and the fact they may be in over their heads when it comes to a drinking problem that started simply because of the desire to manage untold responsibilities. Many women drink because they need a little vacation from their every day rush, but this Valentine’s day how about we ditch the box of chocolates and the flowers and commit to love the women in our lives as if every day were Valentine’s. Our girlfriends, mothers, wives and sisters deserve our appreciation year round, and while they may not remind us often, because lets face it they are strong, they do need our help, love and support.

Mindfulness Showing Promise In Addiction Treatment

Saturday, February 1st, 2014

Mindfulness

To some, mindfulness and meditation do not belong in the serious arena of science. Recently, however, a psychologist named Amishi Jha has been working with the US military in order to help increase mental resilience in a war zone. The results were that if the soldiers designated 12 minutes per day to “meditation” they would improve their ability to pay attention over time. In addition to helping keep the attentiveness of troops in combat, it would seem that scientists believe that mindfulness can be useful in increasing scores on standardized testing in school. Some students were to meditate for 10 minutes per day, for 2 weeks before writing an important exam. The results showed that the students who did their mindfulness training averaged a 16 percentile higher score on the verbal part of the test. And for many others, mindfulness is a way to realize what your brain is up to, and instead on focusing on the actual thoughts, you can let some of them slip away and concentrate on other things, including your physical side. Jonathan Schooler of the University of California conducted an interesting experiment that had participants conduct a task that did not require much focus. He found that the un-demanding task and mind wandering led to more creative success.

Via New York Times:

The trick is knowing when mindfulness is called for and when it’s not. “When you’re staring out the window, you may well be coming up with your next great idea,” he said. “But you’re not paying attention to the teacher. So the challenge is finding the balance between mindfulness and mind wandering.

The practice of mindfulness seems to be, in some cases, an effective way to deal with temptation and addiction. Scientists have observed that over a short period of a mindfulness approach, the addicts studies showed increased blood flow to the part of the brain that controls self-control. In addition to this test, researchers at Yale University saw that over a period of a few weeks their subjects had cut down on their cigarette intake by 90%.

Another approach to mindfulness benefiting addicts is the: Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention. The method is designed to figure out the triggers of addiction, as well as common patterns and potentially dangerous responses to mental and physical urges. MBRP is modeled after a similar technique used to combat depression, and for the most part it is intended as an “after-treatment” option that doesn’t interfere with cognitive therapy, medicine and conventional treatment options.