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 Next Step Intervention. 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.

Staying Sober On New Year’s Eve

New Year's EveTomorrow is New Year’s Eve, which for most people means bringing in 2016 with a bang. Typically, when the sun sets people put on festive clothing and venture out to parties where people will be drinking alcohol to excess. For those who are working a program of recovery, and are planning on attending such gatherings, it is vital that you remain focused – reminding yourself that you cannot drink or use no matter what. Whenever one is in the presence of people who appear to be having fun while drinking, it can become easy for those in recovery to romance alcohol – feelings may arise that can be difficult to resist.

Forgetting How Bad It Was

People in recovery who plan to spend time around people drinking alcohol tomorrow night need to remind themselves of the dark places that alcohol brought them. Addicts and alcoholics excel at remembering the joy that drugs and alcohol made them feel, and easily forget that drugs and alcohol brought them to their knees.

If you are finding yourself having cravings for alcohol, it is vital that you play back a tape of your addictive past. Failing to do so may result in thinking that you can drink like everyone else, and not experience any consequences. While it may be possible that you can drink tomorrow night without problems arising immediately, it will start you down a path that can be hard to reverse. You know all too well the hard work that was required to get you to the point you are at, having just one drink will through it all out the window.

There Are Better Alternatives On New Year’s Eve

If you actively attend 12-Step meetings, then you are likely aware that recovery events will be going on throughout New Year’s Eve, and round-the-clock meetings as well. Whether you are new to recovery or have accumulated a significant amount of time, the best thing you can do tomorrow is stay close to your recovery peers. Filling your day with 12-Step meetings, followed by a recovery event at night will help you make it through the day sober and will be a lot of fun.

It is likely that your recovery friends will have the same plan for tomorrow. It is also fair to say that being around people who are intoxicated is not much fun for those in recovery and is hardly worth the risk. At N2 treatment, we would like to wish everyone a safe and sober start to 2016.

Exercise and Craving Alcohol

exerciseWhen people get sober and begin working a program of recovery, many find themselves with a lot of energy and an urge to live healthy which beg for an outlet. Recovering alcoholics and addicts will often turn to recreational sports or aerobic exercise, joining softball leagues or getting memberships to a gym.

Living with addiction is often a sedentary existence, addicts and alcoholics have a single goal worth putting their energy into, that of finding their next buzz or high. Once accomplished, there is typically a lot of down time. When those in recovery find that the cloud of addiction has lifted from their mind, the desire to be active is strong. Most addiction counselors encourage people in recovery to engage in activities that will release endorphin’s, as long as such activities do not morph into new addictions.

Exercising Into A Glass

It turns out that people in recovery may want to be careful when it comes to exercise, as new research indicates that the activity may result in cravings for alcohol. New research has found that the people who exercise more may drink more alcohol or want to drink, Medical Daily reports. The findings indicate that the trend has to do with the brains search for reward.

When a person exercises, adrenaline is released which results in a feeling of euphoria. After the workout, many people are driven to prolong the high they have been experiencing. The findings should be particularly alarming for those in recovery who work out, lest exercise lead to a relapse.

The Last “Rep” Happens in The Bar

At Pennsylvania State University, researchers examined the health of 150 men and women between the ages of 18 and 75, according to the article. With the goal of determining the link between alcohol use following exercise, those who took part in the study filled out a questionnaire and then used a smartphone app to record daily drinking and exercise habits over three 21 day periods. The study’s authors wrote, “People drank more than usual on the same days that they engaged in more physical activity than usual.” The findings were published in the journal Health Psychology.

“In contrast to proposals that physical activity (PA) can be a substitute for alcohol use, people who engage in greater overall PA generally consume more alcohol on average than less-active peers,” wrote the study’s authors.

Recovery and Exercise

If you are working a program of recovery, it is important that you remain physically active, but it is even more important that your program stays strong. If you are working out and you are finding a heightened urge to consume alcohol afterward, it is probably best to call your sponsor and/or get to a meeting. You never want to be idle when experiencing cravings that if acted upon would jeopardize your recovery.

Childhood Head Injuries Could Lead to Alcohol Abuse

alcohol-abuseConcussions, head traumas, or traumatic brain injuries (TBI), are something that can severely impact one’s life and can be fatal. We see it all the time with football players who take major hits, they walk off the field and go home. Sometimes people with TBIs go to bed and never wake up.

It turns out, that even minor concussions can lead to changes in the brain that can impact people later on in life, possibly resulting in addiction. New research suggests that females who experience a head injury during childhood may be at an increased risk of alcohol abuse later in life, ScienceDaily reports. The study was published in the Journal of Neurotrauma.

A Bump On The Head

Working with mice, researchers found that females who experienced “mild closed-head brain injury” were at a greater risk of misusing alcohol later in life, according to the article. The females were also more likely to associate drinking with reward and pleasure.

Fortunately, the adverse effects may be reversible with enriched environments. The mice that were raised in environments that provided activities were less likely to exhibit increased drinking behavior, when compared to the mice raised in standard housing. The researchers found that enriched environments reduced degeneration of nerve axons.

It’s Not Set In Stone

“We wanted to demonstrate that this effect is not set in stone at the time of injury,” said Zachary Weil, assistant professor of neuroscience at The Ohio State University and lead author of the study. “There are ways to intervene, but they’re expensive in terms of effort and money. It requires sustained treatment and rehabilitation and educational support.”

“The best therapy for a childhood brain injury is everybody getting great medical care and rehabilitation, regardless of socioeconomic status,” he said. “People with juvenile head injuries are already at risk for memory problems, difficulty concentrating, poor learning and reduced impulse control. If we can prevent alcohol misuse, chances for a good life are much better.”

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Please contact Next Step Intervention if you are struggling with alcohol. 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.

Calling Parents for Alcohol Violations

college-alcoholAcross the country, a number of college campuses have already begun classes and college students have begun their party routines. Deterring substance abuse among students is of great importance for faculty members, educating young adults about the effects of drug and alcohol use can go a long way. Many college freshmen have not been exposed to heavy drinking, which means they have little knowledge of their limits and when it comes to drugs and alcohol that can be dangerous. In an attempt to keep students safe, the University of Michigan is taking a new approach this year, MLive reports.

Calling Home for Alcohol Violations

An email to students from E. Royster Harper, vice president for student life, and Eddie Washington, the executive director of U-M’s Division of Public Safety & Security, announced the launch of a pilot program. The Family Education Rights and Privacy Act permits schools to contact parents if their child commits drug or alcohol violations under the age of 21, according to the article. Under that umbrella, U-M’s pilot program will contact parents if students repeatedly commit drug or alcohol violations. The school will contact the parents of any freshman who commit a violation that involves:

  • Needing Medical Attention
  • Significant Property Damage
  • Driving Under the Influence.

“We will notify parents of first-year students when a student under the age of 21 has had a second alcohol or drug violation or when a first-year student has committed a violation accompanied by other serious behavior such as needing medical attention, significant property damage or driving under the influence,” wrote Harper and Washington in the email.

Safety First

The university has also implemented other measures to reduce underage drinking. Last year, U-M shortened the move-in schedule by one day, shortening the amount of free time students would have before their first class, according to the article. The reduction in downtime was partially associated with a significant decrease in drug and alcohol related emergency calls during last year’s move-in.

“At U-M, we strive to create a caring community. The safety of our students is our No. 1 priority. Our actions are intended to reduce the risk of harm and increase the safety of every student,” the email said.

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If you or a loved one is struggling with drugs or alcohol, please contact Next Step Intervention. We can assist you in finding the right treatment which will help you start your journey of recovery.

American Adults With An Alcohol Use Disorder

AUD_150x150A ‘Legal’ Problem

Alcohol, the most commonly used drug on the planet, is a legal mind altering substance that some 240 million people are dependent on worldwide, according to a report on worldwide addiction statistics. In the United States, new research indicates that 14 percent of American adults currently have an alcohol use disorder (AUD), Time reports. What’s worse, only a small percentage of those with AUDs has ever received treatment.

Alcohol Use Disorders (AUD)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is used by doctors to diagnose mental disorders. Health care professionals are currently using the DSM-5, which has a new definition for AUDs, according to the article. An AUD is defined as having two of 11 symptoms, the more symptoms a person has – the more severe their AUD. Symptoms include:

  • Continuing to drink even if it harms relationships.
  • Drinking that harms performance at work or school.
  • A person has an inability to quit drinking.

The Research

At the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), researchers interviewed more than 36,000 adults about their drinking patterns, the article reports. The researchers noted that alcohol use disorder rates have increased over the past decade. The research indicated that 30% had been a problem drinker at some point in their lives, and 14% currently had drinking problems. Unfortunately, the study showed that only 20 percent of those interviewed had sought treatment for their AUD. The findings were published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry.

Treatment

“These findings underscore that alcohol problems are deeply entrenched and significantly under-treated in our society,” NIAAA Director George F. Koob, PhD, said in a news release. “The new data should provide further impetus for scientists, clinicians, and policy makers to bring AUD treatment into the mainstream of medical practice.”

If you are currently struggling with an alcohol use disorder please do not hesitate to contact Next Step Intervention. We can help you assess your options and help you find the road to recovery.

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