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.

FOMO ~ Binge Drinking ~ Interventions

What we can glean from watching television…

It is early November and many new college students are fast approaching that first visit home for the holidays. And it could be that many parents might be in for a surprise. Parents may find themselves facing the startling news that their young college student has developed some bad habits while being away at college.

We got to thinking about this today because last evening we watched an episode of NBC’s PARENTHOOD and early this morning a couple of news stories caught our attention.

PARENTHOOD’s depiction of dorm life at UC Berkeley…

If you are not a regular viewer of PARENTHOOD, here is a very tight synopsis, provided by the PARENTHOOD’s website, of what happened last evening between to two UC Berkeley freshmen, Drew and Natalie.

While studying in his dorm room, Drew is interrupted by a knock from Natalie, completely wasted and obviously horny. Drew remains clueless until she throws herself at him. He’s not going to complain! However, in the morning, everything’s back to normal. Does she even remember last night?

 

ABC News covers binge drinking at UC Berkeley

This morning we watched with interest as ABC News KGO-San Francisco covered a news story of how binge drinking at UC Berkeley is putting a strain on the City of Berkeley’s EMS System.

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

FOMO (Fear of missing out)

In the world we live in we all find ourselves always “checking” social media. Some older adults will set limits for themselves, vowing only to check Facebook or their email once per day. But you know the feeling; you can sit in a restaurant and watch a family of four consume an entire meal without ever looking at each other. Why? Because each person has their hand-held device and they are all may be suffering from FOMO!

Young teens and young adults almost always want to fit in. They yearn to be part of the in-crowd. Aiden Cochrane of the University of Virginia wrote in The Cavalier Daily:

“To me, FOMO is the anxiety created when we must choose a single course of action at the expense of missing out on a number of appealing others. More drastic cases of FOMO can make the patients take part in an activity — that their better judgment would normally preclude — for the sole reason of being too afraid to miss out on any sort of experience, with enjoyment not even guaranteed.”

 

Parents and family members should be aware as the holidays approach…

As the holidays approach and hopefully you have a few extra hours to sit down with your teenager or young adult child to really talk about their life and how things are going. It is important to remember when our children are unsafe, we don’t feel safe and engaging in addictive behavior (like binge drinking) is very unsafe.

Often, parents inflict excess suffering upon themselves by thinking that they are at fault for their child’s addiction or that somehow they could have done something different to prevent it. This is not the case. Teens and young adults face an inordinate amount of pressure from peers and are increasingly exposed to drugs in social situations. When the rebelliousness seems to no longer be a phase and your child has become increasingly withdrawn, depressed and isolated, it is time to seek help.

Teens are at greater risk of overdose because of the high rates of those who engage in prescription drug abuse and drug cocktails. Every year thousands of parents in the US get help for their children through interventions and proper placement in drug treatment programs. Even if your child is in high school or college, treatment for their addiction must be a priority. With the prominence of addiction in teens and young adults, educational institutions work with parents and communities understand. Most parents feel as though they have already lost their child, and they have to an extent – as the addiction has taken over their child’s sense of logic, responsibility and life aspirations. These do come back however after learning how to live life without drugs and alcohol regardless of outside pressure from friends and peers. To learn more about how this is possible and what steps can be taken, contact us.

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Marketing Alcohol To Underage Youth ~ Experts Discuss Importance Of Intervention

The power of alcohol marketing

It is January 1, 2013. There will be many football bowl games televised today: The Gator Bowl, The Heart of Dallas Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Outback Bowl, Discover Orange Bowl and, of course, The Rose Bowl.  There will be numerous advertisements throughout the games; however, the content of these ads is somewhat controlled by National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) advertising policy which states:

“The NCAA’s Advertising and Promotional Standards applicable to all NCAA championships limits alcohol advertising in any form (e.g., television, radio, Internet, game publications) in association with any NCAA championship to malt beverages, beer and wine products that do not exceed six percent alcohol by volume. Further, such advertisements shall not compose more than 60 seconds per hour of any NCAA championship programming nor compose more than 14 percent of the space in the NCAA publication (e.g., game program) devoted to advertising. Also, such advertisements or advertisers shall incorporate “Drink Responsibly” educational messaging, and the content of all such advertisements shall be respectful (e.g., free of gratuitous and overly suggestive sexual innuendo, no displays of disorderly, reckless or destructive behavior) as determined by the NCAA on a case-by-case basis.”

The truth is marketing materials for alcoholic beverages can be seen almost everywhere. Just paging through the most recent issue of TIME Magazine (December 31, 2012-January 7, 2013) you will find a stunning ad for Chivas Regal, complete with the educational message: Please enjoy Chivas responsibly.

Marketing alcohol to under-age youth

While marketing alcohol to anyone of any age is highly regulated, most will agree that the main goal of advertising campaigns is not just to sell more product, but to build brand awareness and customer loyalty. Many studies have been conducted regarding the sheer numbers of alcoholic advertisements which are exposed to under-age youth. One estimate states that 45% of the commercials viewed by young people each year are advertisements for alcohol.

New study examines initiation and progression of alcohol use in underage youth…

On December 19, 2012, the online issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research published the results of a study: Alcohol Marketing Receptivity, Marketing-Specific Cognitions, and Underage Binge Drinking.

This study was conducted by lead author Auden C. McClure, MD, MPH of the Department of Pediatrics, Geisel School of Medicine, Hanover, New Hampshire and Norris Cotton Cancer Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire. Data was gathered and analyzed using the following methods:

  • 1,734 subjects ages 15-to-20 year olds were recruited
  • 882 males and 852 females
  • Participants were asked about exposure to a number of alcohol-marketing variables, such as television time, internet time, favorite alcohol advertisement, ownership of alcohol branded merchandise, exposure to alcohol brands in movies.
  • Researchers assessed the relation between the above mentioned exposures and current binge drinking behaviors

 

Study’s findings

According to Dr. McClure, as reported by EurekAlert.org:

“We found that youth with a higher receptivity to alcohol advertising are more likely to report binge drinking – more than five drinks in a row – and that this association is mediated, at least in part, by self-identification as a drinker and having a favorite brand of alcohol to drink,” said McClure. “Further longitudinal studies are needed to determine whether advertising exposure precedes the development of these cognitions and influences future drinking behavior. If confirmed, the findings would support the plausibility of a causal relationship between marketing exposures and underage drinking.”

 

Intervention and risky behaviors

If you are a parent of a teenager or young college student, then chances are you are cognizant of how your child responds to advertisements of all kinds. You know this from the time your child reaches toddler age. They see advertisements on television for certain food products, toys, movies…and a new consumer comes to life. You know this when you take your child to the grocery store or a fast food restaurant, you even know it when your child talks about a new toy their playmate recently received.

As parents, we know intuitively that advertising works, so it makes perfect sense that exposure to alcohol marketing also works. But what do we do about it?

As Dr. McClure indicates, other studies have shown that: “Early onset of alcohol use is linked to alcohol dependence later in life, making both prevention and early intervention of risk behaviors important. A better understanding of the path between marketing and risk behaviors could help parents, health care providers, clinical psychologists, and substance use treatment specialists to identify and intervene when an adolescent is at risk.”

Substance use treatment specialists and interventionists understand the importance of intervening early when an adolescent or young adult is at risk.

As 2013 begins, consider taking the appropriate steps to reduce the chances that your child will develop alcohol dependence.

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