What is Alcoholism and How Does it Affect You?

alcoholism

There is always a lot of talk about drug addiction, and rightly so. Drug addiction is one of the single biggest problems in this nation, one of which needs to be addressed sooner rather than later. Actually, drug addiction is currently one of the single biggest health-related problems that this country faces. It is also a huge socio-economic problem too. But why do we rarely hear about alcoholism, alcohol abuse, and alcohol addiction?

This is a whole different problem here. Alcohol addiction is severely underreported, but it is actually a problem that causes more trouble and worry than drug addiction does, believe it or not. To understand this problem a little bit better, take a look at the following statistics to get a better idea of just how serious alcohol abuse and addiction really is in this country, (Statistics brought to you by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism).

  • Alcohol abuse kills about sixty-thousand to eighty-thousand Americans each and every year. Drug addiction and drug abuse, while a devastating problem and a socioeconomic crisis of its own, only kills about forty-thousand Americans each and every year.
  • Alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse are a lot more difficult to get rid of than most drug addictions. The true problem is that it is totally legal to consume alcohol. In fact, it is totally legal to consume as much alcohol as you want in the confines of your own home. There is no limit to it. Drugs are illegal and are therefore harder to use, get, keep, and continue to use.
  • Alcohol is more commonly accepted in society, even with the increase in acceptance of drugs. It’s harder to fight a substance that everyone thinks is commonplace.

Alcohol

Alcohol is a dangerous substance that causes a lot of problems and a lot of worries for a lot of people. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse, in general, is a dangerous substance, one of which affects the body severely. Alcohol addiction has now risen to a point of actually being more severe and more concerning than drugs are, and this increase in the problem has led tens of thousands of alcohol addicts and hundreds of thousands of their family members to become very concerned and worried indeed.

The effects of alcohol are often understated and swept under the rug, partially because alcohol is such a big industry and such a huge cash-flow for thousands of Americans. So what is alcoholism, and what are the effects of it?

Alcoholism is the addiction to alcohol or the continuous, compulsive use of alcohol in spite of reasons not to. Alcohol addiction is truly an addiction. A person cannot stop drinking the stuff, no matter what. Alcohol addiction is an ongoing habit, wherein a person will compulsively drink alcohol over and over again, year after year, either until they kill themselves with it, or until they get help.

The effects of alcohol could be an entire essay in and of itself.  For a quick look at some of the effects, consider the following:

  • Slower reaction time
  • Reduction in brain activity
  • Bad reflexes
  • Lower inhibition
  • Having respiratory issues
  • Vision blurry
  • Restlessness and irritability
  • Violent tendencies
  • Bad decisions

If you are seeking help for yourself or a loved one struggling with an alcohol addiction, call Choices Recovery today. We can be reached at 1-844-288-9127. Addiction is tough and a difficult problem to say the least, but it does not have to be the end of it all. Call today.

Recovery from Heroin Addiction

heroin addiction

The history of heroin’s use in America traces back to the opium dens of the 1800s. The opium poppy has been cultivated for more than five thousand years for a variety of medicinal uses. From opium, morphine was derived, a naturally occurring opiate extracted from the seedpod of certain varieties of poppy plants. Named after Morpheus, the Greek god of dreams, for its euphoric side effects, morphine was an effective painkiller and considered a wonder drug. Its addictive properties became alarmingly clear with the American Civil War when tens of thousands of soldiers being treated for war casualties became addicted.

Heroin

Heroin was first synthesized from morphine in 1874. For 12 years Bayer, the German pharmaceutical company, marketed it under the trademark name Heroin as a cough suppressant and as a non-addictive morphine substitute, until it was discovered that it rapidly metabolizes into morphine.

The number of Americans using heroin has increased 75% in the past 5 years, and in that same time, heroin-related seizures have increased 50%.

The insidiousness of heroin lies in the fact that not only does it create an intense rush that the user longs for even thereafter, but it alters the brain’s chemistry, training the body to crave it. Heroin addiction withdrawal symptoms are intense and can include: cold sweats, depression and anxiety, loss of appetite, unstable moods, muscle cramping, nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, and seizures.

Seeking Help

For any addict, admitting there is a problem and seeking help are sometimes the most difficult first steps. If someone you love is addicted to heroin, it’s essential to take that brave step of confronting them about it. However, realize that drug addiction is stigmatized to such a degree that any anger or accusation element introduced into this conversation will be counter-productive. It’s important to come from a place of care and loving support, with an ongoing reassurance that you are there for the person.

The challenges can be significant even when the situation is approached with the best intentions and utmost care. There is professional help available. Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT) is a resource that teaches family and friends effective strategies for helping their loved one to change and for feeling better themselves. CRAFT works to affect the loved one’s behavior by changing the way the family interacts with him or her. According to their website, it is designed to accomplish three goals:

  1. When a loved one is abusing substances and refusing to get help, CRAFT helps families move their loved one toward treatment.
  1. CRAFT helps reduce the loved one’s alcohol and drug use, whether or not the loved one has engaged in treatment yet.
  1. CRAFT improves the lives of concerned family and friends.

Hope for the Future

While the facts and figures relating to addiction can be horrifying, there is hope. The plus side of those daunting numbers is that a great deal of research, study, time and effort has gone into finding solutions for heroin treatment. People are different, and addicts differ greatly in their underlying causes for addiction, which means there is no one-shot treatment that will be effective for everybody. Many approaches are available, many options for seeking a full recovery. One such option is Choices Recovery Program, founded by Per Wickstrom, himself a rehabilitated addict. Mr. Wickstrom believes that no matter what mistakes you’ve made in the past and no matter what your age is, you can overcome anything, be successful and lead a healthy life. Mr. Wickstrom was able to do this himself after he had suffered from addiction for over 22 years.

Can an Individual Build a Tolerance to LSD?

Tolerance to LSD

When abusing a substance, it is possible for tolerance to build before you know it. Some questions you may ask yourself might be, does it take more for you to get the effect you want? Do you feel more of a need for the substance? Building a tolerance to LSD is a sure sign of bigger issues to come down the path of addiction.

What is LSD?

LSD, which stands for lysergic acid diethylamide, is a hallucinogenic drug manufactured from lysergic acid. Lysergic acid is a chemical derived from a particular type of fungus. It is often sold on blotter paper, although it can also be in tablet form, made into thin gelatin squares, or soaked into sugar cubes. It has no legitimate medical use, so all use is illicit.

Building a Tolerance to LSD

LSD dependence is typically psychological, not physical. While the drug does not cause physical cravings, individuals who take it often associate it with people and circumstances. They make a habit out of using the drug whenever they are in social situations. This type of use can make quitting difficult, since it may require that the user stops associating with friends who use LSD. Users may develop a tolerance to LSD, which means that they require increasingly more of the drug each time to achieve the same effect. Higher doses carry an increased risk of harmful side effects, so increasing the dose can quickly become dangerous. Not only do you now have a tolerance to LSD, but you are also in danger every time you use the drug.

Effects of LSD Abuse

Different people experience different effects from taking LSD, depending on the dose and the individual’s body chemistry. Even the same person may experience different effects from using LSD at different times. Most people experience some form of mood change when taking LSD. This attitude change can include feelings of euphoria, depression, anxiety, or peacefulness. The user might also cycle between different moods. A high dose of LSD can produce hallucinations, delusions, or changes in the way the user perceives sound, color, movement, and touch.

Some users experience “crossing over,” a state in which senses are confused, such as when color is perceived as sound or taste. In some cases, the user may experience feelings of terror or panic. Physical effects include dilated pupils, nausea, loss of appetite, a rise in body temperature, sweating, a rise in blood sugar, an increased heart rate, an increase in blood pressure, dry mouth, sleeplessness, and tremors. These effects typically begin within 30 to 60 minutes after taking LSD, and they can last for up to 12 hours.

More on The Effects of LSD Abuse

The effects of LSD are the result of the drug interrupting the regular interaction between brain cells and the neurotransmitter serotonin.We do not completely understand the full interaction between the drug and the serotonin system in the brain. Coming down from LSD is typically a gradual process as the drug filters out of the body. There is no hard crash after using LSD. The user’s perceptions of the world just gradually return to normal. LSD can create long-lasting after-effects in some people.

Users may experience flashbacks days or months after the initial use. These flashbacks come on without warning, so a user may experience them at school, work, or during routine activities. There is no way to predict, prevent, or stop a flashback. Long-term users of LSD may also develop depression or schizophrenia. Another problem with LSD use is that users may put themselves into dangerous situations while in an altered or hallucinatory state. For example, the user may perceive a flat walking surface when faced with what is actually a steep incline or stairwell, a situation that could easily lead to serious injury.

If you or someone you love is abusing LSD do not hesitate to call for help today!

 

 

The Dangerous Effects of LSD on the Body

lsd effects

Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds: a familiar refrain from one of the most iconic bands of the flower generation, the lyrics evoking whimsical images of a dream-like journey. It is commonly believed that this song was inspired by an LSD trip. So much so, in fact, that the song name has become a slang term for the drug, despite the songwriters asserting that the inspiration was not drugs, but a childhood drawing.

What Is LSD?

In 1938, Albert Hoffman, working for the Swiss chemical company Sandoz, was seeking to synthesize a compound that would stimulate the respiratory and circulatory systems. A fellow scientist had isolated an active substance called ergotamine from ergot, a fungus found in tainted rye that had been used as a folk medicine for generations. Ergot, in its natural form, was a deadly poison, though, in small doses, the muscle- and blood vessel-constricting properties of ergot could be useful to hasten childbirth and staunch bleeding after delivery.

Hofmann developed a synthetic process to build the ergot compounds from their component chemicals. The 25th compound he created, reacting lysergic acid with diethylamine, a derivative of ammonia, was known as LSD-25 for the purposes of laboratory testing. This compound proved disappointing for medicinal purposes; it was by accidental absorption that he discovered its hallucinogenic properties. The drug was then produced for further testing, and ultimately exploded into the counter-culture of the 1960s, its hallucinogenic properties ostensibly providing a means to find spiritual enlightenment. The widespread abuse of the drug resulted in its being banned as a threat to public health.

How Do Hallucinogens Work?

Classic hallucinogens are thought to produce their perception-altering effects by acting on neural circuits in the brain that uses the neurotransmitter serotonin. Specifically, some of their most prominent effects occur in the prefrontal cortex—an area involved in mood, cognition, and perception—as well as other regions important in regulating arousal and physiological responses to stress and panic.

LSD effects may include altered awareness of the surroundings, perceptions, and feelings as well as hallucinatory sensations and images. Adverse psychiatric reactions such as anxiety, paranoia, and delusions are possible.

Health Hazards

Under the influence of LSD, the ability to make sensible judgments and see common dangers is impaired, making the user susceptible to potentially fatal personal injury. After an LSD trip, the user may suffer acute anxiety or depression, and may also experience flashbacks, which are recurrences of the effects of LSD days or even months after taking the last dose. A flashback occurs suddenly, often without warning.

Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) describes a post-LSD exposure syndrome in which LSD-like visual changes are not temporary and brief, as they are in flashbacks, but instead are persistent, and cause clinically significant impairment or distress. HPPD differs from flashbacks in that it is persistent and apparently entirely visual (although mood and anxiety disorders are sometimes diagnosed in the same individuals).

LSD may trigger panic attacks or feelings of extreme anxiety, known familiarly as a “bad trip.” Review studies suggest that LSD likely plays a role in precipitating the onset of acute psychosis in previously healthy individuals with an increased likelihood in individuals who have a family history of schizophrenia.

Bad trips and flashbacks are only part of the risks of LSD use. LSD users may also manifest relatively long-lasting psychoses, such as schizophrenia or severe depression.

LSD is not addictive, but it does produce tolerance, so users need to take progressively higher doses to achieve the same state of intoxication. This is an extremely dangerous practice, given the unpredictability of the drug.

Dangerous Effects to Your Baby When Abusing Drugs During Pregnancy

Dangers of Abusing Drugs During Pregnancy

When pregnant, everything that goes in the mother’s body affects the health and well-being of the baby. It is always very important to be careful of what goes in the body but even more important when carrying a baby. Everything the mother does will influence the baby. When abusing drugs during pregnancy, you are abusing your unborn child in the worst way. Abusing drugs during pregnancy can result in miscarriage, low birth weight, premature labor, placental abruption, fetal death, and even maternal death.

The Effects of Abusing Drugs During Pregnancy

Marijuana

What Happens When a Pregnant Woman Smokes Marijuana?

Marijuana crosses the placenta to your baby. Marijuana like cigarette smoke contains toxins that keep your baby from getting the proper supply of oxygen that he or she needs to grow.

How can Marijuana affect the baby?

Smoking marijuana increases the levels of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the blood, which reduces the oxygen supply to the baby. Smoking marijuana during pregnancy can increase the chance of miscarriage, low birth weight, premature births, developmental delays, and behavioral and learning problems.

Cocaine

What happens when a pregnant woman consumes cocaine?

Cocaine crosses the placenta and enters your baby’s circulation. The elimination of cocaine is slower in a fetus than in an adult. This means that cocaine remains in the baby’s body much longer than it does in your body.

How can cocaine affect the baby?

During the early months of pregnancy, cocaine exposure may increase the risk of miscarriage. Later in pregnancy, cocaine use can cause placental abruption, which can lead to severe bleeding preterm birth, and fetal death. Babies born to mothers who use cocaine throughout pregnancy may also have a smaller head and be growth restricted. Babies who are exposed to cocaine later in pregnancy may be born dependent and suffer from withdrawal symptoms such as tremors, sleeplessness, muscle spasms, and feeding difficulties. Defects of the genitals, kidneys, and brain are also possible.

Heroin

What happens when a pregnant woman uses heroin?

Heroin is a very addictive drug that crosses the placenta to the baby. Because this drug is so addictive, the unborn baby can become dependent on the drug.

How can heroin affect the baby?

Using heroin during pregnancy increases the chance of premature birth, low birth weight, breathing difficulties, low blood sugar, bleeding within the brain, and infant death. Babies can also be born addicted to heroin and can suffer from withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal symptoms include irritability, convulsions, diarrhea, fever, sleep abnormalities, and joint stiffness. Mothers who inject narcotics are more susceptible to HIV, which can be passed to unborn children.

What if I am addicted to heroin and I am pregnant?

Treating an addiction to heroin can be complicated, especially when you are pregnant. Your health care provider may prescribe methadone as a form of treatment. It is best that you communicate with your health care provider, so he or she can provide the best treatment for you and your baby.

PCP and LSD

What happens when a pregnant woman takes PCP and LSD?

PCP and LSD are hallucinogens. Both PCP and LSD users can behave violently, which may harm the baby if the mother hurts herself.

How can PCP and LSD affect the baby?

PCP use during pregnancy can lead to low birth weight, poor muscle control, brain damage, and withdrawal syndrome if used frequently. Withdrawal symptoms include lethargy, alternating with tremors. LSD can lead to birth defects if a person uses it frequently.

Methamphetamine

What happens when a pregnant woman takes methamphetamine?

Methamphetamine is chemically in the same family as amphetamine, which causes the heart rate of the mother and baby to increase.

How can methamphetamine affect the baby?

Taking methamphetamine during pregnancy can result in problems like those seen with the use of cocaine in pregnancy. The use of speed can cause the baby to get less oxygen, which can lead to low birth weight. Methamphetamine can also increase the likelihood of premature labor, miscarriage, and placental abruption. Babies can be born with methamphetamine addiction and suffer withdrawal symptoms that include tremors, sleeplessness, muscle spasms, and feeding difficulties. Some experts believe that learning difficulties may result as the child gets older.

Not only are there the horrible physical effects that can occur when abusing drugs during pregnancy, but legal matters can occur as well. If you or someone you love is abusing drugs during pregnancy or not it is important to get help right away!

Past Underage Drinking: Can it Affect an Adult’s Success Later in Life?

underage drinking

Underage drinking is a major concern for the United States. Some research suggests that one in ten high school students drank in excess during their time between the ages of 14 and 18. Furthermore, some reports state that children as young as eight have even tried alcohol. Many of these individuals have admitted to consuming alcohol at family events. Binge drinking is a huge problem for communities across the country. All things considered, It is dangerous to simply shrug these statistics off as a part of adolescents or teenagers being teenagers. Commonly, many parents today do not consider it to be a problem because they drank alcohol during their high school years. Can past underage drinking affect an adult’s success later in life?

Underage Drinking and Danger

The risk in underage drinking is evident. Moreover, the age restrictions for consuming alcohol is set to provide a safety net. Young adults are not mature or responsible enough to drink alcohol. They do not understand the repercussions of their decisions and can seriously injure themselves or someone else. The combination of inexperience, understanding and smaller stature is a recipe for disaster. Young adults can become intoxicated with relatively little alcohol and create danger.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol was a factor in the over 4,000 deaths of kids younger than 21.  Motor vehicle accidents, homicides, suicides, alcohol poisoning, falls, burns, and drownings were the cause of these deaths. The damage does not always end in fatality. Other injuries and concerns caused by underage alcohol consumption include serious injury, impaired judgment, increased risk of physical or sexual assault, damage to a developing brain, and increased risk of developing an addiction.

Underage Drinking Statistics

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol is the most widely abused substance in the United States. By the age of 15, 33% of teenagers have had at least one drink and by 18 that increases to 60%. In 2015, 7.7 million Americans between 12-20 stated they drank alcohol, beyond a few sips, within the last month. Eleven percent of the alcohol consumed in this country is done by those who are between the ages of 12 and 20.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention released alcohol-related statistics:

  • 1,580 motor vehicle deaths
  • 1,269 homicides
  • 245 poisonings, falls, burns, drowning
  • 492 suicides

Underage Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is defined as drinking four or more drinks in one hour. The body is incapable of metabolizing the alcohol and the result is drunkenness. As a matter of fact, teenagers consume 90% of their alcohol by binge drinking. The consequences of underage binge drinking are severe. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report, 5.1 million teenagers had binge drank within the last month and 1.3 million reported binge drinking more than five times in the past month.

Does Underage Drinking Lead to Alcohol Addiction Later in Life?

Can underage drinking affect an adult’s success later in life? Absolutely! Besides the irreparable damage that underage drinking can cause, there are more effects that can damage the success of an adult. More alarmingly, those who continue to abuse alcohol can easily become addicted. Usually, using alcohol to alter a mood is an easy sign that alcohol abuse and addiction are present. Anyone suffering from alcoholism or recognizes it in someone else should seek professional help, like the experts at Per Wickstrom’s rehab centers. Their experience with substance abuse and addiction is key to their understanding of recovery. Alcohol abuse can damage social life, family life, finances, cause legal trouble, and impede with careers. The damage alcohol can cause to an adult’s success is real.

Communication in Recovery is of the Utmost Importance

communication in recovery

Communication is a vital component to problem-solving, especially when trying to solve the problem of addiction in individuals. When addicts quit communicating with others, it becomes hard to articulate the causes of their addiction, try to get addiction help from medical professionals, or even have healthy relationships with family members. Without these things, coming up with a plan for recovery is nearly impossible. Effective communication in recovery is a necessary part of the process.

The founder of Choices Recovery, Per Wickstrom, stated this about communication when he was addicted to drugs: “I had a difficult time managing jobs, life, work, and relationships; I quit communicating with my family.” This is very common for addicts as they feel that they can’t relate to sober people in the way that they can relate to others in their unhealthy relationships.

Steps to Communication in Recovery

We can see that communication is key for a successful recovery, but how can we learn to do it effectively?

Be honest (with yourself and other people). Being honest about your situation with yourself as well as others is vital to open communication in recovery. How are you supposed to become sober if you are hiding or lying about important pieces of information? Being honest is the best way to be open with your loved ones and get the best help with your recovery.

Learn positive self-talk. Avoid negativity when talking to others; try to use positive communication as much as possible while also being honest about the situation. When you speak to yourself like you love yourself, your situation may change for the better faster and more easily. Don’t get down on yourself for your choices; accept your situation and use it to move on for the better. Realize that the past is the past, and you can become a better person if you try to do so.

Be assertive. Don’t confuse this with becoming angry and impatient. Being assertive means having the confidence to say what you need to say. Make eye contact and get your point across by speaking in a polite way.

Recognize the importance of empathy. Empathy means to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and to try to experience what they are feeling. When you are talking to someone about your addiction, try to imagine what is going on in their head. Hopefully, they will also be empathetic with you as well. Empathy encourages people to be nonjudgmental so that you can reach a conclusion quickly and effectively.

Learn to listen. Listening is an important aspect of open communication. Paraphrase what the other person is saying and repeat it back to them so they know you understand the message. Listening is the first part of understanding, and understanding is key. When you understand what is going on in its entirety, you can choose the best treatment options for the individual.

What Hinders Communication in Recovery?

What makes effective communication in recovery more difficult?

  • Shame – wishing the situation never happened
  • Low self-esteem – feelings of unworthiness
  • Not being honest – triggers lying and miscommunication
  • Guilt – feeling bad about what happened
  • Becoming aggressive – becoming angry when speaking

Try to overcome these feelings for a successful conversation. Remember that the other person cares about you and wants to see you succeed. Be open and honest when talking to the other person so that there is no miscommunication present.

Communication in recovery is essential for the addict’s overall well-being. Learning new communication techniques while recovering from substance abuse is the first step to your new way of life. It affects the way you interact with others in a positive way.

How Spirituality in Recovery is Helpful to Individuals

spirituality in recovery

When recovering from addiction, it is important to keep an open mind about everything. Keeping an open mind is also good when it comes to life in general. Experiences are good for the individual and their character. It is essential to choose to expose yourself to that which is good when in recovery. The life of an addict often forces them to seclude themselves from others. Spirituality in recovery, whether it is something new or common, can be extremely helpful.

Spirituality is part of nearly all twelve-step programs. Giving way to something more powerful can help recovering addicts overcome their addictions. The idea of spirituality is great in recovery because you can interpret it in any way. Using it in recovery can be adjusted to fit the needs of the individual making it incredibly efficient. It is a method that a treatment facility never forces on anyone. However, you can choose spirituality as your method of therapy.

Spirituality in Recovery

Spirituality in treatment is not necessarily relinquishing one’s self to a particular god or religion. Rather, it is the idea of a recovering addict coming to understand their inner-self, what makes them tick and what, primarily, is causing their path towards addiction. This enables those in treatment to find and follow their own path to recovery. Addiction does not have a cure. There is no universal treatment or prescription that rids them of their desire to continue to use and abuse drugs. Treatment must be geared to the individual because addictions are caused by a variety of actions, environments, and individual characters. Spirituality is universal by nature and therefore, a vital instrument in the battle against addiction. The better a recovering addict can understand themselves, the more equipped they are to overcome their addiction and continue to grow as a sober member of society.

The Benefits of Spirituality in Recovery

Spirituality in recovery is so beneficial because it can help to better a great number of aspects that go into addiction recovery. The most beneficial part of using spirituality in recovery is that it can help individuals gain control over their emotions and behaviors.

Impulse control might be the most important control to have as a recovering addict. This is especially true right after treatment as emotional responses can be quite extreme. This type of self-reliance therapy can help recovering addicts with their everyday life. It can mean as little as ten minutes a day to reflect on the life and path that they are following. This means taking a breath to reanalyze some decisions and developing a plan. The benefits of this are endless. Similarly, meditation and breathing are valuable tools in developing an understanding of being ‘centered’ and a practice for finding it in the most trying of times.

Spiritual practice can help recovering addicts maintain proper sleeping habits, which allows them to go to sleep happy and wake up just the same. Maintaining a routine is paramount to continued sobriety after treatment and keeping proper sleeping habits is therefore vital. Practicing spirituality has proved to be statistically helpful in reducing relapse. People who practice spirituality normally find meaning for their lives. Substance abuse and addiction allow people to carry on without meaning or purpose. Maintaining a spiritual life can help to keep you focused and find meaning for life.

Per Wickstrom, the founder of Choices Recovery promotes spirituality in their treatment programs because it works. People report being much happy and healthier when they open up to the idea of spirituality. Having a better understanding of one’s self and being goal-driven is at the root of spirituality. This can be very helpful in recovery.

Is There a Difference in Alcohol Abuse and Addiction?

Alcohol abuse and addiction

Many people ask the question, “Is there a difference in alcohol abuse and addiction?” The answer to this question is yes, but they are very similar, and alcohol abuse can quickly turn into alcohol dependence.  Abusers are typically heavy drinkers who continue drinking regardless of the results. Alcohol can be an addictive substance. Not everyone who consumes alcohol will become addicted. However, certain people may be more susceptible to addiction than others.

Alcohol Abuse and Addiction are Not the Same

Everyone should note that alcohol abuse and addiction are not the same. It’s important to understand the facts on alcohol abuse. Alcohol addiction refers to a psychological and physical dependency on alcohol. Individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction may build up a tolerance to the substance, as well as continue drinking even when alcohol-related problems become evident.

Alcohol abusers are not necessarily addicted to alcohol. Abusers are typically heavy drinkers who keep drinking regardless of the results. Abusers of alcohol may not drink on a consistent basis. For example, an individual who abuses alcohol may only drink once a week. However, when that person drinks, he puts himself into risky situations or drinks enough to cause problems, such as alcohol poisoning. Certain individuals who abuse alcohol may eventually become dependent on it.

What is Alcohol Dependence?

Alcohol dependence the inability to control drinking due to both a physical and emotional dependence on alcohol. Symptoms include repeated alcohol consumption despite related legal and health issues. Those with alcoholism may begin each day with a drink, feel guilty about their drinking, and have the desire to cut down on the amount of alcohol.

Alcohol dependence (alcoholism) consists of four symptoms:

  • Craving: a strong need, or compulsion, to drink.
  • Loss of control: the inability to limit one’s drinking on any given occasion.
  • Physical dependence: withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness, and anxiety occur when one stops alcohol use after a period of heavy drinking.
  • Tolerance: the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get high.

Severe dependence can lead to life-threatening withdrawal symptoms including convulsions, starting eight to twelve hours after the last drink. The delirium tremens (DTs) begin three to four days later when the person becomes extremely agitated, experiences shakiness with hallucinations, and loses touch with reality.

The Differences in Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Someone who has alcohol addiction needs it to get through the day. They also have a high tolerance, needing increasingly more drinks to feel any effect. Alcoholics also suffer from withdrawal and will drink to avoid the symptoms of withdrawal, which include anxiety, tremors, sweating, insomnia, nausea, depression, fatigue, headache, and irritability.

Tolerance and withdrawal are very telling signs of alcohol addiction. There are others too, which include:

  • Losing control – you cannot stop yourself from drinking too much and too often, no matter how hard you try.
  • Drinking despite the legal, financial, and personal problems that it is causing you.
  • Allowing alcohol, drinking, and thinking about drinking to dominate your day-to-day responsibilities and activities.

The difference between alcohol abuse and addiction is a matter of degree. If you are abusing alcohol, but are not yet addicted to it, you may experience a little bit of tolerance or a small level of withdrawal, but nothing as severe as what an alcoholic experiences.

As an abuser, your first signs will more likely be neglecting responsibilities so that you can drink. For instance, you must call in sick to work often because of hangovers, or you don’t spend enough time with your kids because you feel the need to go out drinking with friends.

Other signs of abuse include:

  • Taking serious risks while drinking – maybe you drink and drive, or you mix alcohol with prescription drugs to enhance your high.
  • Continuing to use alcohol even when you get sick or hurt from drinking.
  • Your drinking is attached to emotions, such as drinking because of stress or to cope with feelings of depression.

Although alcohol abuse and addiction are very similar, there is a difference between the two and alcohol abuse can very quickly turn into alcohol dependence. It is imperative to seek help right away if you or someone you love may think a problem is developing.

 

 

When to Get Help for Drug Addiction

Help for Drug Addiction

Getting help for drug addiction takes a lot of courage. Before wanting to seek help, a person must first realize they have a problem. A lot of people who have an alcohol or substance abuse problem are in denial and do not believe they have an issue. They may think they are not dependent but unbelievably they most likely are. Not everyone is able to realize they have a problem right away, it can and may take some time. It could be while they begin receiving help and they realize they do have a problem and that they are doing exactly what they should be doing, getting help!

Signs that Your Loved One Needs to Get Help for Drug Addiction

As you probably know, it can be very difficult to recognize early on that your friend or family member is involved in drugs or another addictive behavior. You should also know that your loved one is unlikely to admit to a problem. Addicts tend to cover their tracks. But there are a variety of signs that you might be seeing now, even ones you may have brushed aside, not wanting to believe that an addiction could be at play. See how many of these common warning signs of addiction that your loved one may have:

  • A shift in mood, attitude, and motivation
  • New friends and new hangouts
  • Poor performance at school or work and/or being absent
  • Secretive behavior such as lying
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • A sudden, unexplained increase in spending
  • Bloodshot eyes or enlarged pupils
  • Giving up once-favorite pastimes and hobbies
  • Strange body odors; trembling hands
  • Unusual changes in sleeping patterns or schedule

In addition, you may notice that your loved one now has angry outbursts and is more volatile or unpredictable. He/she may be inattentive and not follow through on assignments or obligations on time, or at all. You may find your loved one making secretive, unexplained phone calls or cash withdrawals, concealing what’s on his/her computer screen, or creating new bank or online accounts. His/her schedule may change frequently, often without your knowledge. Your loved might also be sleeping more or suffering from insomnia, choosing to wear sunglasses often, trying to cover up unusual breath or body odors. They, in general are changing in ways you cannot explain, excuse, or understand.

It’s also possible that your loved one is not paying their bills, asks to borrow money, or is taking or stealing money from you and others. You may notice your partner, friend, or relative feeling more melancholy and depressed (these can be psychological symptoms of withdrawal). And then, there are common physical symptoms when an addict tries to quit a substance; these withdrawal symptoms may include muscle aches, vomiting, sweating, trembling, fever, insomnia and diarrhea.

What to do When You Realize your Loved one has an Addiction

If simply talking to the person with the problem doesn’t work, a group intervention is an effective next step. Interventions also show addicts how their actions affect those they care about. The goal is to help the person struggling get into addiction recovery and rehabilitation. It can be hard to approach someone struggling with addiction. Although friends or loved ones mean well, they might not know what to say. The addicted person might also deny that they have a drug or alcohol problem, making open conversation difficult.

But it is very important they realize that they need to get help for drug addiction right away. The sooner a person receives help for drug addiction, the better. That does not mean it is ever too late. a fatal overdose is possible at any time and unexpected, but it does happen.

If you or your loved one have an addiction problem, do not hesitate to call for help today!