Month: September 2016

When Alcohol Turns into Alcoholism

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Young crying woman in depression drink drinking alcohol

Alcoholism is attached with such a negative stereotype that many people have a difficult time coming to terms with the amount of alcohol they drink, the patterns of their drinking and what influences are causing them to drink in the first place.

How easy for any of us would it be to admit we have a problem with our drinking?  Could you cut back on your drinking?  For how long?  At what point do you realize you need help?  The answers become more difficult as more questions are asked.

If you are curious about your drinking, ask yourself the following questions:

1.  Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?

2.  Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?

3.  Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?

4.  Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or to get rid of a hangover (eye opener)?

If you answered yes to 2 or more of these questions, you may have a problem with alcohol consumption.  Are you surprised?

Why do some people have a problem with drinking and others don’t?  The answer can be a variety of factors.  Some of these include:  heredity, chemical imbalance, coping mechanism turned to dependency, anxiety and other psychological problems.  Some people choose to get help themselves, some are persuaded by family, friends, or co-workers.  Some end up in the emergency room as a result of an overdose and some are coaxed into a private facility to get treatment.

Alcohol depletes the body of essential vitamins and minerals causing them to be malnourished.  They are deficient in key vitamins such as the Vitamin B Complex, Folic Acid, magnesium, Omega-3 fatty acids, and others.  A deficiency in any one of these or a multiple can cause depression.  So it makes sense that re-building the vitamin and mineral levels in the body will make the person feel better while dealing with their addiction.

Drug therapy includes Librium, ( Cholrdiaze Poxide) a benzodiazepine which releases anxiety and withdrawal symptoms such as tremors.  It can be used as part of a rehabilitation program facility or prescribed by an M.D. to take on their own.  In 20 cases studies, about half of the participants reported relapsing into alcohol drinking when not seeing a counselor or support group on a regular basis.

There is evidence that correlates AA attendance with increased abstinence for many problem drinkers.  Most drinkers get a sponsor.  The AA sponsor is related to the behavioral aspects of the steps.  Having a sponsor helps the person complete the steps which motivates them to take the next one.  The sponsor also helps the person make amends and achieve some of the behavioral prescriptions in the steps.  The actual spiritual change is predicted more by attendance in the meetings.   Other groups include Women for Sobriety, SMART Recovery, and Celebrate Recovery.

Everyone needs help to achieve their goals.  What are yours?

Drug Addiction

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Drug addiction is a chronic disease in which a person has an uncontrollable urge to seek out a drug repeatedly even though it causes harmful consequences and has long lasting changes in the brain. This addiction is also a disease in which a person relapses often, making it hard to treat without the correct treatment program.

Addiction affects the reward and motivation sections of the brain as well and the learning and memory center and behavior control. Each of these factors needs to be addressed in a course of treatment for drug addiction. The plan is to have an addict stop using drugs, stay drug-free and become once again productive in all facets of life including work, family and in society.

An all inclusive treatment plan involves detox first along with behavioral counseling. Medications may be prescribed for the addiction while evaluation and treatment programs are implemented for mental health plans to treat depression and anxiety which often occur simultaneously with drug addition. An addict needs a long-term plan of follow up care to prevent relapses.

An all inclusive drug rehabilitation program has many counseling sessions to help a patient recovery. Most programs include group counseling where patients meet in a group setting and discuss addiction and recovery actions. Individual counseling goes hand in hand with group counseling and is important because each addict’s case is different and each one needs a program tailored specifically to his or her needs. Family therapy includes all family members in conjunction with the addict and a counselor. This helps the family model to learn triggers and be able to spot if an addict is relapsing as well as help them understand that addiction is a disease, not only a behavior. Some patients respond well to a 12-step program for addiction in which they follow each of the steps to arrive at a point to refuse their drug or drugs of choice.

An entire staff should be available to an addict for successful treatment programs. Services needed are for mental health, medical, educational, legal, family and vocational services. All aspects of an addicts life needs to be addresses in order to help them.

There are many things to remember when looking for a drug addiction treatment program for yourself or a loved one who is seeking help. Addiction is a disease that is complex but treatable. Treatment programs should be hand tailored to each individual’s needs and not a one size fits all program. A drug addict has to remain in treatment for the recommended time after they are evaluated for a program to work for them. A treatment plan has to be reviewed very often as a patient is getting better to keep up with their ever-changing needs and modification. Medical detoxification is only the first step to recovery and isn’t a complete treatment plan. Treatment should include testing the addict for infectious diseases such as hepatitis B and C, HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis. If any of these diseases are also present, additional medical care will be needed.

Substance Abuse Treatment

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Substance Abuse Treatment

Substance abuse can be a debilitating problem. Though many people do not have sympathy for those who are suffering with this problem, it is actually considered to be a disease. It is characterized by a nearly uncontrollable urge to seek a certain substance or substances, despite the harm that it can do to the brain and body of the individual.

There are a few treatment components that have been shown to work for patients suffering from addictions to substances. It is a treatable problem, but the patient has to work very hard in order to retrain his or her brain. The treatment must be effective in helping the individual stop abusing the substance, stay away from it after stopping, and regain the ability to be productive in society, as well as in the family and at work.

There are certain steps that are considered vital parts of successful treatment to drug addiction. The first one is detoxification, or the process in which the individual stops taking the drug and the drug is completely purged from the person’s body. Behavioral counseling is also necessary, and in some cases, medication is administered. The individual must also be evaluated and treated for any co-occurring mental health problems that may be present alongside the substance abuse problem, such as anxiety disorders and depression. Once the individual is considered to be in remission, there must be follow-up sessions over the long term in order to minimize the chances of relapse.

Behavioral therapies are particularly important in the process, as they help the patients alter their attitudes and actions as they pertain to substance abuse, enhance healthy behaviors, and increase the efficacy of other forms of treatment that are being administered (such as medication). There are multiple types of behavioral therapy that are useful for these individuals. One is cognitive-behavioral therapy, which gives patients the skills they need to recognize and avoid the situations in which they would be likely to abuse substances, as well as cope with these situations if they are presented with them. Multidimensional family therapy is useful mostly for adolescents with substance abuse problems, and it is meant to improve the family dynamic in addition to addressing potential surrounding influences on the drug problem. Motivational interviewing enhances people’s motivation to alter their behaviors and proceed with treatment, and motivational incentives are basically examples of positive reinforcement that are used to encourage a person to stay away from drugs.

In addition to behavioral therapy, medications are often used to manage the symptoms of withdrawal, as well as treat any co-occuring mental disorders and prevent relapse of the drug use.

Substance abuse treatment can be a long and laborious process for the patient. In fact, for some, going through it may be the hardest thing that they ever have to do. However, it will be well worth it if the treatment is successful, as it will enable the person to lift the hold that the addiction has over him or her and live a happier and more productive life.