Holiday Season Ends – Dry January Begins

dry-januaryThe holiday season is finally over, and for many of those who consumed a lot of alcohol during that time period they may want to abstain from drinking for a while. A goal which coincides nicely with “Dry January,” a month for people committed to not drinking can take a break. The holidays may have also been a sign to some that their drinking has gotten out of hand, and drastic measures are required.

What is Dry January?

A lot of alcohol is consumed in the United Kingdom, especially during holidays. The goal of the Dry January campaign is to raise awareness of alcohol-related problems and teach people the health benefits of staying away from booze, The Independent reports. Last year more than 2 million people took part in Dry January.

Overall alcohol consumption has risen in the UK over the last 60 years, according to the article. In the wake of the increase of consumption, the rate of alcohol-related health problems has risen as well. There has been a 44 percent increase in the number of people over 50 requiring alcohol use disorder treatment since 2009.

The more people drink, and the more frequently they drink, greatly increase the chance of people developing alcohol addiction. Many of the people who meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder will require assistance in quitting, and learning how to not pick up again.

Treatment

For many alcoholics, simply quitting alcohol is not an option and can even be dangerous to one’s health. Withdrawing from alcohol after years of consumption often requires medical assistance and long term inpatient treatment. If you or a loved one is battling with alcoholism, please contact N2 Treatment. We can help you begin the journey of recovery. Our expert addiction specialist can assess the problem and determine the best plan to get you the help you need.

Smoking May Be Bad for Your Recovery

recoveryLiving a life of recovery is not easy, but it is certainly worth it. After living in addiction for many years, learning to navigate the waters of life, coping with the daily trials and tribulations free from drugs and alcohol takes vigilance. It is often said that one’s addiction is right outside the door doing pushups, waiting for you to be off guard.

Whatever one can do to minimize the chance of relapse is crucial. Active members in recovery will avoid dangerous situations like the plague, keeping away from old friends and out of places that can jeopardize one’s sobriety.

Smokey Speed Bumps On The Road To Recovery

New research suggests that people in recovery who smoke cigarettes are at a greater risk of relapse, HealthDay reports. The study found that people in recovery who smoke are twice as likely to start drinking again with three years, compared to nonsmokers.

Researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health used data from 35,000 adults with a past alcohol use disorder. The findings held even after accounting for:

  • Mood
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Illicit Drug Use
  • Nicotine Dependence

Something to Consider

“Quitting smoking will improve anyone’s health. But our study shows that giving up cigarettes is even more important for adults in recovery from alcohol since it will help them stay sober,” said lead author Renee Goodwin. Goodwin is an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.

The findings were published in Alcoholism: Experimental and Clinical Research.

If you or a loved one is entering treatment for a substance use disorder, it is important to discuss smoking cessation options. Smoking is harmful to one’s health, and for those in recovery – quitting may increase the chances of success after treatment.
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Please contact N2 Treatment if you are struggling with addiction. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

Navigating Social Situations Involving Alcohol

alcoholRecovering from a substance use disorder is challenging to say the least, around many corners are obstacles that can derail one’s program. In early recovery, sponsors in 12-step programs and counselors at treatment centers advise you to stay clear from situations where alcohol will be present – known as risky situations. Being around others who are consuming alcohol can be dangerous.

Unfortunately, alcohol is everywhere and avoiding situations where alcohol is present is often easier said than done. Holidays and work gatherings are common situations that people in recovery need to face, but it is possible to abstain from alcohol and have a good time. It is important for people working a program of recovery to stay close to their support network, if ever you feel shaky help is always a phone call away.

The Life of A Former Drinker

Alcoholics who give up drinking will find times in their recovery where they will have to navigate social situations where alcohol is involved. Some people will let their associates know they don’t drink, whereas others will try to remain inconspicuous about the fact that they abstain from alcohol. A new study has examined the wide variety of approaches that people who don’t drink take when it comes to how and whether to tell people that they don’t drink, ScienceDaily reports. The research was part of a larger study on how non-drinkers handle social events.

“The findings tell us that former problem drinkers can find it tricky to navigate social situations where alcohol is involved, and makes clear it’s important to support those who aren’t drinking and not push non-drinkers to disclose their reasons for not having a drink,” says Lynsey Romo, study lead and an assistant professor of communication at North Carolina State University.

The study involved 11 former problem drinkers who were interviewed by the researchers. The participants length of sobriety ranged from one to 19 years, according to the article. Some people were open about the fact they didn’t drink, while others tried to avoid the situation outright by holding a cup the whole time or saying “no” when offered a drink.

Staying Social In Sobriety Without Stigma

“We found that former problem drinkers still want to be social, of course, but that they had to find ways to determine whether to disclose their non-drinking status to others,” Romo says. “Study participants said they felt the need to weigh how much they should tell other people. Essentially, they assessed the risk of being socially stigmatized if they were open about not drinking or about being in recovery.”

The research was published in the journal Health Communication.

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If you are or your loved one is struggling with alcohol, please contact N2 Treatment. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

New Study Examines Interventions For Drug Abuse VS Alcohol Abuse

Do you feed a fever and starve a cold or vice versa?

 

Brief interventions deemed ‘inadequate’ for unhealthy drug abuse…

There is this old adage:  “Starve a cold, feed a fever”…many of us have heard our parents of grandparents offer this advice and when you drill them with a few questions it turns out that nobody is really sure what works best for treating a fever versus a cold. It happens that way in the medical field…everyone makes a call based on their experience.

It turns out that experts in the field of substance use disorder are still trying to determine how best to intervene when a patient presents with unhealthy drug use as opposed to unhealthy alcohol use. Should the medical provider offer the same course of treatment for both or do we have to look closer at the specific disorder?

New study conducted by the Boston University School of Public Health

In the August 6, 2014, edition of JAMA – The Journal of the American Medical Association the results of a new study were published: Screening and Brief Intervention for Drug Use in Primary Care, The ASPIRE Randomized Clinical Trial. The objective of this study was:

To test the efficacy of 2 brief counseling interventions for unhealthy drug use (any illicit drug use or prescription drug misuse)—a brief negotiated interview (BNI) and an adaptation of motivational interviewing (MOTIV)—compared with no brief intervention.

The lead researcher Dr. Richard Saitz is quoted in a statement:

…despite the potential for benefit with a brief intervention, drug use differs from unhealthy alcohol use in that it is often illegal and socially unacceptable, and is diverse—from occasional marijuana use, which was illegal during this study, to numerous daily heroin injections. “Prescription drug misuse is particularly complex, with diagnostic confusion between misuse for symptoms (e.g., pain, anxiety), euphoria-seeking, and drug diversion. Brief counseling may simply be inadequate to address these complexities, even as an initial strategy.”

Meet Dr. Saitz…

The JAMA Network offers a video interview with Dr. Saitz which explains the study and the results the researchers were able to verify. Take a few minutes to get a clearer understanding of the study’s parameters and results.  Medical Daily quotes both Dr. Ralph Higinson from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and Dr. Wilson Compton of the National Institute on Drug Abuse who offered editorial comments:

“Although these studies offer no direct evidence of effectiveness for universal drug screening, brief intervention, and referral to treatment in primary care settings, exploring drug use with patients should remain a priority in primary care. The goal for clinical research is to develop and test new interventions with potential for benefiting patients,” Dr. Ralph Higinson from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and Dr. Wilson Compton from the National Institute on Drug Abuse said in an accompanying editorial. “If brief interventions are insufficient, then easily accessible treatment services with long-term follow-up may be needed, as will development of efficient primary care referral approaches to address risky substance use and related physical and mental comorbidities.”

Some closing thoughts…

This study is what you might call a “conversation starter.” The observations provided by the researchers might well serve to be the jumping off point to discover new and more efficient ways to intervene when a patient presents and admits to using both legal and illegal substances, not just alcohol.

Family members know all too well how difficult it can be to talk to and interact with their loved one who is an alcoholic or drug addict. Working with a primary care physician may be the first step and perhaps down the road the services of a professional interventionist may be required.

An Intervention May Be The First Step In The “Improbable” Journey Of Recovery

Finding “tools” to understand Interventions

We launched our blog on October 18, 2012, and at that time we promised to share news about addiction, mental health, family issues and the efficacy of interventions. Since that time our posts have dealt with tools of recovery, particularly the power of interventions and the varied ways that people can learn about and experience interventions.

If you are a regular reader, then you know that we once discussed how the A & E series INTERVENTION became a teaching “tool” for not only those suffering from the disease of addiction, but also the addict’s family members and friends.

Last month we turned our lens on the powerful AMC television series Mad Men. Specifically, we discussed how Don Draper faced a workplace intervention and the sometimes futile steps Draper has taken to getting sober and dealing with his chronicled mental health issues.

Again, sometimes we learn by reading a news story or a novel, or watching a movie or even other television series like HOUSE or NURSE JACKIE. But, there are other inspired tools that can urge one toward an intervention.

The Improbable Players offer live theater to audiences of middle and high school students

Now in its 30th year, the non-profit Boston based  Improbable Players bills itself as “educational theater for substance abuse prevention.” This theater troupe was founded by Lynn Bratley, M.Ed., and she continues to serve as the Artistic Director. The players have a clearly defined mission:

“to set the stage for prevention by educating the public about addiction and recovery through dramatic performances and theater workshops -presented by actors who are in long-term recovery from addictions – that help people recognize situations in their own lives and seek the help they need.”

In November 2012, William L. White had the opportunity to interview Lynn Bratley where they discuss her vision and evolution of the Improbable Players. Take a few minutes to read this interview.

Improbable Players at Medford High School 2009

Here is a four minute clip from the stage play presented to Medford High School.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Currently the Improbable Players offer five different plays and you can find out about booking them for your school here and see their current calendar here. They are working on a new play The Rope Tightens Around P.B. which will be ready for touring in September 2014.  It deals with opioid drugs:

“…It’s the 38 a day who die from prescription drug overdoses. That’s 2 classrooms disappeared /That’s 38 absent friends/That’s 76 weeping parents/Every. Single. Day.”

 

How the Improbable Players impact students…

This week NorthJersey.com published an article about the Improbable Players production at the Woodland Park Middle School.  The entire student body was invited and afterwards they were requested to complete evaluation forms.

Students who attend these productions usually find that they feel safe sitting with their classmates. Like any live theater production the audience is the fourth wall and with realistic theater the actors will often break that boundary and interact with the audience. While audience participation is not always verbal, one gets a sense that they are with others who understand what their life is about.  Here is one counselor’s impact statement from 2011.

“Less than a week after the program, we had the freshman and sophomores meet in groups of 12 students and an adult to reinforce the messages from the presentation, answer questions, and get feedback from the students on their own personal experiences. Many were talking about how the Players’ presentation was something that they can personally relate to, and in addition there were able to point out how their families were like or not alike a specific actor/actress. They were able to discuss experiences of their own in a safe place.”

 

Some closing thoughts…

Many families have one or more members who are suffering from addiction. Millions of children under the age of 18 live with a parent who is an alcoholic. This problem is not new. It is not even new for playwrights to journal the experience of families dealing with alcoholism and addiction. Consider Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night. Written in 1942, but first published in 1956, it won the 1957 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. Four characters – mother, father and two adult sons. The mother is addicted to morphine and the three men are alcoholics. The entire play takes place in one day.  And then there is Tennessee Williams’ Cat On A Hot Tin Roof. It won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1955. This play, too, deals with family relationships and alcoholism.

Novels, plays, movies, and televisions series can serve as conversation starters. And the intervention process starts with a conversation with the interventionist about the loved one you would like to help. Because of professional experience in the field of addiction and recovery, the interventionist has heard it all – there are no stories or situations that haven’t already been heard and no story or situation will be judged, it will all be kept with the utmost level of confidentiality. Although it seems trifling to tell personal details to someone you don’t know, upon sharing your situation your reservation will be met with warmth and understanding and the weight you feel will begin to lift as solutions are proposed.

It may be an intervention will be the first step in your loved one’s recovery journey!

 

 

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“Interventions” Happen On MAD MEN, Too!

Mad Men
Mad Men (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Are you a fan of MAD MEN?

This might sound like a strange question, but if you are a regular viewer, then you know that alcoholism and sobriety play a major role in this television drama. Mad Men premiered in July 2007 and its final season will air in 2015. If you didn’t work on Madison Avenue in the advertising industry in the 1950s and 1960s, then there is a pretty good chance you needed to learn that the name mad men was a nickname or slang for those who did work in advertising on Madison Avenue.

So why all this talk about Mad Men on a blog that generally deals with interventions? Well, it occurred to us that in today’s society many people have come to believe that interventions are of a fairly recent origin when in fact for centuries family members have often tried to convince their loved one to seek treatment for addiction and just as often reached out to a professional person of faith or a medical professional to intervene with their loved one.

It should not be surprising that often one’s employer forces the issue and place the addict or alcoholic employee on a “leave of absence.”  Even Don Draper (Mad Men’s focal character) was faced with a “leave of absence” at the end of the 6th season (please excuse the included advertisements).

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Look closely, as Mad Men’s creator Matthew Weiner turns the lens on alcoholism

There is a very large story being told in the Mad Men series. For the generations who were not in the corporate world at that time it is shocking to see people smoking in their office, drinking alcohol in some offices, not to mention the covert and overt adultery and sexism. Regarding the portrayal of alcoholism Wikipedia sums it up succinctly:

ABC News noted that “as the show’s time frame progressed into the 1960s, series creator Matthew Weiner didn’t hold back in depicting a world of liquor-stocked offices, boozy lunches and alcohol-soaked dinners.” One incident in Season 2 finds advertising executive Freddy Rumsen being sent to rehab after urinating on himself. Don, Betty, Herman ‘Duck’ Phillips, and Roger Sterling were singled out by television reporters for their excessive drinking. During the fourth season Don Draper starts to realize he has a major drinking problem. ABC News quoted an addiction specialist who said that “over the last ten years, alcoholism has been more fully understood as a disease. But in the sixties, bad behavior resulting from heavy drinking could be considered ‘macho’ and even romantic, rather than as a compulsive use of alcohol despite adverse consequences.” One reviewer called the fourth season a “sobering tale of drunken excess” as the Don Draper character struggled with his addiction to alcohol.

Last week Don, back after his leave of absence, had an incident in the office and his long time co-worker Freddy Rumsen steps in to talk him through the episode…you can watch it here with Matthew Weiner commenting.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here starting at 4:03.

Some closing thoughts…

Every person doesn’t have a Freddy who can step in to guide them towards getting sober, counseling them to “do the work.” Not every family member knows what to do or how to ask for help when their loved one is suffering from the disease of addiction. Sometimes we learn by reading a news story, or a novel, or watching a movie or even a television series.

When there have been several attempts at trying to help the addicted loved one to no avail, intervention services are often necessary. Call us 800-631-7753.

April 4-6, 2014 Is “Alcohol Free Weekend” ~ Will you participate?

Are you willing to participate in Alcohol Free Weekend?

To many people this question may seem very benign. That is, not indulging in alcohol for a weekend is a very simple goal to accomplish. It could be they never drink or they seldom drink. But for many adults, young and old alike, as well as a growing number of teenagers drinking every weekend is what they do when they get together with their friends and family or it could be what they do when they are isolated from friends and family.

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD):

  • Annually, over 6,500 people under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related accidents and thousands more are injured.
  • Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America’s young people, and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
  • Each day, 7,000 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink.
  • Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.
  • More than 1,700 college students in the U.S. are killed each year—about 4.65 a day—as a result of alcohol-related injuries.
  • 25% of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their family.
  • Underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually.

So, again, are you willing to not drink alcohol starting today April 4 through April 6, 2014?

Alcohol Free Weekend is a part of Alcohol Awareness Month

 

28 years ago the NCADD started the tradition of April being Alcohol Awareness Month. It was designed to increase public awareness as well as understanding of the stigma of alcoholism and to encourage local communities to turn a lens on alcoholism and alcohol related issues.

Throughout the month of April 2014 there will be events going on across the nation that will highlight the public health issue of alcoholism in general and specifically the problems associated with underage drinking.

You should know that many communities have local NCADD Affiliates; these affiliates can serve as a valuable resource for individuals, families, employers, schools, and the like.

“Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow”

Again this year’s theme “Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow” encapsulates the vision and goal that every family wants to experience when dealing with a loved one who is suffering from the disease of alcoholism. Typically a family will look for help for today from other family members, their doctors, co-workers, an employee assistance program (EAP) or a friend, but help may need to come in the form of arranging for an intervention.

Greg Muth, the chairperson of the NCADD Board of Directors discusses the focus on underage drinkers:

“Underage drinking is a complex issue one that can only be solved through a sustained and cooperative effort. As a nation, we need to wake up to the reality that for some, alcoholism and addiction develop at a young age and that intervention, treatment, and recovery support are essential for them and their families. We can’t afford to wait any longer.”

A successful intervention can, and often does, provide the hope for tomorrow.

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Research: Smoking Cessation May Improve Mental Health And Alcohol Use Disorder

Do you smoke (cigarettes)?

It is a simple question, but one that many people struggle to answer. Being honest about a cigarette habit becomes more and more difficult with the stigma that is attached to it by our family, friends, co-workers, and perfect strangers. There was a time when close to 50% of the U.S. adult population smoked cigarettes. Then in January 1964 the Surgeon General issued an official report concluding that smoking causes lung cancer. Most adults at that time probably knew intuitively that smoking was a health hazard…but many, despite an interesting chronology discouraging smoking, continued to smoke and some still continue to smoke to this day. Today, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) roughly 18.1% of all adults (18 years of older), in the United States smoke cigarettes.

An interesting phenomenon regarding smoking is that it is used in films and television series; it almost takes on a character of its own.

  • If you were a fan of “Sex and the City,” then you probably recall how Carrie struggled to quit smoking to please her various suitors and yet when she would pick up a cigarette feeling like a failure she seemed to find comfort in her Marlboro lights.
  • Currently HBO’s “True Detective” has made smoking and drinking part of Rust Cohle’s being…and his partner Martin Hart not only smokes and drinks, but also chews tobacco. By the time each episode ends you feel like you are in a smoked filled bus station of days gone by.
  • Just this past weekend we saw the film The Monuments Men set in World War II…smoking and drinking were a small and sometimes humorous part of a number of scenes. For sure every retired veteran in that audience understood the part cigarette smoking has traditionally played in times of war.

 

So why all this talk about smoking?

This week the results of two studies were published on-line. Each study had to do with smoking tobacco and each had significant findings. The first study we will just briefly touch on has to do with people who smoke, but do not consider themselves smokers. This study was conducted by Dr. Wael K. Al-Delaimy, Eric C.Leas, Rong W. Zablocki and Steven D. Edland from the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego. You can read more about the study in the journal Tobacco Control: Smokers who report smoking but do not consider themselves smokers: a phenomenon in need of further attention.  The researchers conclude that in 2011 12.3% of all smokers living in California were non-identifying smokers (NIS).

Regarding this study…the bottom line may be if you are not admitting that you are a smoker, then there is a pretty good chance you will find taking the first step to quit very difficult. This is very much like using and abusing alcohol and drugs.

Smoking cessation is associated with lower rates of mood/anxiety and alcohol use disorders

The second study we would like to discuss was published online February 12, 2014, in the Psychological Medicine journal: Smoking cessation is associated with lower rates of mood, anxiety and alcohol use disorders. (See a PDF of the original article here.) The lead research was Patricia A Cavazos-Rehg of the Department of Psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO. She was joined by researchers from Michigan State University, the University of Minnesota and other from Washington University in St. Louis.

Research parameters…

 

  • 4800 daily smokers were analyzed by the researchers
  • These smokers were from the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions survey
  • The survey was given twice.

 

Research results…

 

  • During the first survey around 40% of the daily smokers reported having mood or anxiety issues.
  • About 50% of the daily smokers also had alcohol problems
  • About 25% had drug issues
  • The survey was repeated three years later: At that time, 42% who were still smoking had mood disorders, while those who had quit smoking only 29% still reported mood disorders.
  • Additionally, after three years alcohol and drug use rates were also lower for the former smokers:  Of those who quit smoking only 18% were still had problems with alcohol vs. 28% of those who didn’t stop smoking; drug problems continued for 5% of the quitters vs. 16% of those who continued to smoke.

The researchers are quick to point out that while their research suggests a strong link between smoking cessation and improving one’s mental health, to this point they were not able to prove a cause and effect relationship.

The first steps in recovery

While the first study we discussed really is fascinating as to how human nature works, the second study is encouraging and very good news for those who are seeking recovery from any and all substance abuse.

It is not unusual for someone who self medicates with alcohol or drugs to also suffer from co-occurring disorders like bipolar or anxiety disorder or mood disorders. Additionally, he or she may also smoke cigarettes. The entire dynamic can seem overwhelming to not only the addict, but to family members. It begs the question, which addiction or behavioral health issue to tackle first?

According to the February 11, 2014, press release issued by Washington University in St. Louis:

“Clinicians tend to treat the depression, alcohol dependence or drug problem first and allow patients to ‘self-medicate’ with cigarettes if necessary,” said lead investigator Patricia A. Cavazos-Rehg, PhD. “The assumption is that psychiatric problems are more challenging to treat and that quitting smoking may interfere with treatment.”

 

If you are trying to help your loved one with an addiction problem, who may also be suffering from a co-occurring disorder, you might find that getting their attention will be served by working with an interventionist. An intervention is defined as having a neutral person who is an expert in addiction and recovery intervene upon the addict and their family to bring the addiction and its harmful impacts to the surface so that recovery and healing can begin.

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Sober January ~ Drynuary ~ Interventions And Understanding The Importance Of A Safe Medical Withdrawl From Alcohol

"No drinking"
“No drinking” (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A simple Facebook post caught our eye…

According to Wikipedia, FACEBOOK (FB) reported 1.15 billion (yes, with a B) monthly users as of January 2014. So it is pretty fair to say that if you are reading this post you probably also have a FB page. We read an acquaintance’s FB status post the other day which caught our attention.

“So today is 7 days sober! I’m going to try and stick it out til Friday as I’m really not craving alcohol at all.”

The reason we found this status interesting is that it seemed our acquaintance was in some kind of contest or had taken a bet that he could just stop drinking for a particular amount of time. We have no idea if he is a casual drinker or has a problem with alcohol or not. But we became curious about how many people decide to stop drinking after the New Year.

Are you familiar with the term drynuary?

We googled the phrase “sober January” and we came across a number of articles that referred to the term drynuary. Basically it means to abstain from alcohol for the month of January; however, the Urban Dictionary defines it as follows:

The practice of not drinking for the entire month of January — staying “dry” — usually in response to over-consumption during the holidays. Avoiding alcohol for the month can be seen as a form of New Year’s resolution intended to cleanse the liver, promote a more healthy lifestyle, atone for sins of the past, etc. Drynuary usually results in an increase in seeing movies, drinking sparkling water in bars, and hanging out in diners drinking coffee on Saturday nights. Usually followed by an ill-advised reentry into heavy boozing on February 1st without realizing how badly your tolerance has suffered.

L.V. Anderson, a Slate assistant editor, indicates that the term drynuary was coined in 2007 by author John Ore. And apparently this tradition is not practiced just in the United States, but also often mentioned in Great Britain as “sober January.”

The importance of understanding alcohol withdrawal syndrome…

On the surface the idea of taking a break from consuming alcohol sounds like a good healthy decision; however, many people who are high functioning alcoholics and their family members may not be aware of the serious complications of alcohol withdrawal. According to WebMD:

“Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a potentially life-threatening condition that can occur in people who have been drinking heavily for weeks, months, or years and then either stop or significantly reduce their alcohol consumption.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can begin as early as two hours after the last drink, persist for weeks, and range from mild anxiety and shakiness to severe complications, such as seizures and delirium tremens (also called DTs). The death rate from DTs — which are characterized by confusion, rapid heartbeat, and fever — is estimated to range from 1% to 5%.

Because alcohol withdrawal symptoms can rapidly worsen, it’s important to seek medical attention even if symptoms are seemingly mild. Appropriate alcohol withdrawal treatments can reduce the risk of developing withdrawal seizures or DTs.”

If you are unfamiliar with delirium tremens (DTs), you might recall seeing it depicted in various movies over the years: The Days of Wine and Roses (1962), The Lost Weekend (1945),  The Last Samurai (2003), Leaving Las Vegas (1995), Everything Must Go (2010), to name a few.

Consider an Interventionist

It is not unusual for family members to become aware of a loved one’s serious addiction to alcohol or drugs during the holiday season. Trying to convince a loved one to seek treatment can seem like an impossible challenge. Guidance is often sought from primary care physicians, school counselors, friends, neighbors, relatives, or employee assistance programs; however, reaching out to an interventionist can be one of the healthiest decisions you can make for yourself and for your loved one. An action plan can be set in motion:

  • A determination of the need for an intervention – sometimes when the loved one has already agreed on receiving treatment, a recommendation will be made that doesn’t involve an intervention.
  • Arrangements to execute the intervention (travel, timing, special needs and considerations for the time, place and type of intervention)
  • Pre-intervention counseling and advisement – thorough determination of what families need to prepare such as verbal or written statements to the loved one and what to expect emotionally during an intervention.
  • The intervention
  • Transport to treatment, either with the addicted, family member and/or interventionist or via scheduled travel arrangements to the recommended treatment center.

 

Recovery is possible; it starts with the first step

To start the New Year we thought we would share with you a video we came across today from Family Health Productions. The video is narrated by Matt Damon and is simply called: Alcohol: True Stories.

If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Here’s to you, to your health, to your recovery…

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The NIAAA Will Host a TWITTER CHAT About Holiday Drinking

The holiday season is here…

Just about 12 days ago we gathered to celebrate Thanksgiving. We may have had just a quiet celebration with our immediate family members, or maybe we traveled a long distance to be with extended family. It could be we couldn’t be home for the holiday so we found ourselves with a few friends or maybe just one good friend. Many people this year had to work on Thanksgiving and some may have volunteered to feed the homeless. When all things are considered it is a beautiful time of the year, and yet so many of us worry that our loved ones may drink too much or maybe we worry about our own propensity to drink too much.

After all, Christmas is just two and one-half weeks away followed by the New Years Eve holiday. There will be company parties, informal gatherings, and family get-togethers. And in most households alcohol will be served. So we thought today we would share a new resource to learn more about alcohol and the holidays.

 

NIAAA to host Twitter Chat about holiday drinking

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) will host a Twitter Chat on December 12, 2013, at 3:00PM Eastern Standard Time (EST). The topic is:

“Alcohol & the Holidays: What you Need to Know”

The chat will be co-hosted by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc (NCADD) and the scientific expert will be Dr. Aaron White, Ph.D. To participate or to just follow along utilize the hashtag #NIAAAChat

Chat topics to be discussed

According to the NIAAA website the topics to be covered will be:

  • If you choose to drink, how to celebrate safely
  • Stats about drunk driving
  • Evidence based advice for any who are considering reducing their drinking in the New Year
  • After affects of a night of too much drinking

You can also choose to follow both @NIAAAnews and @NCADDNational on Twitter. But remember, you do not need to follow either one to participate in the CHAT.

Do you know what a Twitter Chat is?

Simply put, a Twitter Chat is an interactive conversation at a specific time on Twitter. If you have a Twitter profile, then you may be familiar with or have participated in a Twitter Chat. Basically you take the following steps:

1. Sign into your Twitter account about 10 minutes before the scheduled chat.
2. In the search box type in the #NIAAAChat and search for results
3. You will see results like this:

4. The results will keep updating as the chat proceeds. 5. You can choose to reply, retweet, ask a question, BUT in order to participate your tweet MUST include the hashtag #NIAAAChat; otherwise the other participants will not see your tweets. It can move quickly, don’t be nervous…just watch the conversation.

Here is the good news. If you cannot participate at the appointed time of 3:00PM EST, then you can always sign into your Twitter account, search for the hashtag #NIAAAChat and read the transcript at your leisure.

Why is this Twitter Chat important?

It is important to understand a few statistics regarding alcohol use in the United States. According the NCADD website:

“Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States- 17.6 million people, or one in every 12 adults, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence along with several million more who engage in risky, binge drinking patterns that could lead to alcohol problems. More than half of all adults have a family history of alcoholism or problem drinking, and more than 7 million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent on or has abused alcohol.”

In today’s quick paced world, social media has become one more resource for people to learn and gather information about the disease of addiction, particularly alcoholism.

Wishing you a beautiful and healthy holiday season…

One final word, as you prepare to celebrate the holidays, we would like to remind you that it is often during the holiday season that family members realize that an intervention is needed for their loved one. Remember an interventionist is a mediator and necessary component to getting the loved one into a suitable drug and alcohol treatment program. Often, this is too great of a feat for the family and loved ones to do on their own because they are too emotionally involved with and impacted by the addict’s behaviors and despair. Interventionists provide knowledge where there is confusion, clarity where there is fog, solution where there is dismay and hope where there is despair.

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