May 29, 2007

Steps to Stop Drinking

You can take steps today to stop drinking. Your first step might be to see your doctor, contact a support group, or set a date in the near future to stop. While some people can stop drinking on their own, others need medical help to manage the physical process of withdrawal.

If you think you have an addiction to alcohol, talk to your doctor about whether you need to withdraw from alcohol under medical supervision. Your doctor can give you medicine that will help you safely withdraw from alcohol. Other medicines might be prescribed later to help you stay sober. With a doctor’s help, withdrawal from alcohol is safer.

Stopping alcohol use can:

  • Prevent or reduce health problems that are made worse by alcohol use, such as liver damage.
  • Prevent harm to your unborn baby if you are pregnant.
  • Reduce related family concerns or relationship problems.
  • Increase your ability to be productive at work, school, and home.
  • Reduce legal problems that you might have as a result of misuse of alcohol.

Stopping your use of alcohol can improve your general health and quality of life. It can also increase the quality of life of the people you live with and those who care about you. You decrease your chances of developing serious health problems associated with alcohol abuse or dependence. You reduce your chances of injuring yourself or others in alcohol-related accidents. You might also improve relationships with your parents, children, and spouse or other close loved ones. Not drinking also is a good way for you to model responsible behavior for younger people, particularly children and teens.

You can take steps today to stop drinking. Your first step might be to contact a support group, see your doctor, or set a date in the near future to stop. While some people can stop drinking on their own, others need medical help to manage the physical process of withdrawal.

If you think you have an addiction to alcohol, talk to your doctor about whether you need to withdraw from alcohol under medical supervision. Your doctor can give you medicine that will help you safely withdraw from alcohol. Other medicines might be prescribed later to help you stay sober. With a doctor’s help, withdrawal from alcohol is safer.

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May 28, 2007

Alcoholism: Signs and symptoms

Before treatment or recovery, most people with alcoholism deny that they have a drinking problem. Other indications of alcoholism and alcohol abuse include:

  • Drinking alone or in secret
  • Being unable to limit the amount of alcohol you drink
  • Not remembering conversations or commitments, sometimes referred to as "blacking out"
  • Making a ritual of having drinks before, with or after dinner and becoming annoyed when this ritual is disturbed or questioned
  • Losing interest in activities and hobbies that used to bring pleasure
  • Feeling a need or compulsion to drink
  • Irritability when your usual drinking time nears, especially if alcohol isn’t available
  • Keeping alcohol in unlikely places at home, at work or in the car
  • Gulping drinks, ordering doubles, becoming intoxicated intentionally to feel good or drinking to feel "normal"
  • Having legal problems or problems with relationships, employment or finances
  • Building a tolerance to alcohol so that you need an increasing number of drinks to feel alcohol’s effects
  • Experiencing physical withdrawal symptoms — such as nausea, sweating and shaking — if you don’t drink

People who abuse alcohol may experience many of the same signs and symptoms as people who are dependent on alcohol. However, alcohol abusers don’t feel the same compulsion to drink and usually don’t experience physical withdrawal symptoms when they don’t drink. A dependence on alcohol also creates a tolerance to alcohol and the inability to control your drinking.

If you’ve ever wondered if your own alcohol consumption crosses the line of abuse or dependence, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you need a drink as soon as you get up?
  • Do you feel guilty about your drinking?
  • Do you think you need to cut back on your alcohol consumption?
  • Are you annoyed when other people comment on or criticize your drinking habits?

If you answered yes to two or more questions, it’s likely that you have a problem with alcohol. Even one yes answer may indicate a problem

You can find this information and more at www.mayoclinic.com by clicking here.

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May 25, 2007

A Society of Alcoholism

Four Major Types of Alcoholic Families -families in which the disease of alcoholism has affected the way the family system operates.

TYPE 1
This system is riddled with active alcoholism. In children, parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and even further back in the family history, active alcoholism is rampant. Every generation of this family will have both active alcoholism and adult children of alcoholics issues to deal with. For the Type 1 alcoholic family, crisis has become a life-style, a cycle which is difficult to break. They believe that theirs is a normal way of life.

TYPE 2
In this alcoholic family system the actively drinking member of the nuclear family has stopped drinking. Although the active alcoholism has been arrested, the family system will continue to operate in a way that can only be described as alcoholic. It is important to note that even when the alcohol is removed from the system, if the family remains untreated, the alcoholic behaviour will continue to operate. Many ACoAs who come from this type of system feel a great deal of conflict.

TYPE 3
In the Type 3 system the active drinking has been removed from the family for one or more generation. In this system, the parents did not drink in an alcoholic way, but one of their parents-or even grandparents-was an alcoholic. Even though active drinking has not been in the family for some time, the family dynamics continue in a way that is still characteristic of an alcoholic family. Many ACoAs come from this type of family. Their parents did not abuse alcohol, but one or more of their grandparents did, and their family continues to follow the rules and behaviours of an actively drinking alcoholic family. It is extremely important for people who come from this type of system to realize that the behavioural characteristics of the disease of alcoholism are transmitted through the family, even though the active drinking has ceased.

Many times the hidden alcoholism factor will only come to light after a thorough family history has been completed. Often people from a Type 3 family will not understand why they feel so at home with ACoAs, or why they are so personally familiar with the characteristics of ACoAs.

TYPE 4
In this non-alcoholic family one of its members becomes an alcoholic. The family then becomes an alcoholic family system. The children of this family will have ACoA issues and will be at high risk for becoming alcoholic themselves. As the disease of alcoholism progresses in the alcoholic member, the family becomes more and more dysfunctional in its attempts to deal with the alcoholic’s behaviour.

For more information about this and much more contact St Joseph’s Hospital. You can visit their web page by clicking here.

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May 23, 2007

Alcohol and Depression

More than 9 out of 10 people in the United Kingdom drink alcohol. It is part of our culture and we feel comfortable with it. Moderate drinking doesn’t cause many problems. However, over the last 30 years, society has become wealthier and alcohol has become cheaper. We are starting to drink at a younger age and we are drinking more. More than 1 in 4 men, and about 1 in 7 women are drinking more than is medically safe for them. According to the Department of Health, around 1 in 8 men is physically addicted to alcohol.

Alcohol is like many other drugs that act on the brain, such as tranquillisers. If we drink it regularly, we find that it has less effect on us. We need to drink more and more to get the effect we want. This is called ‘tolerance’ and is a powerful part of becoming addicted to alcohol.

Alcohol can also lead to:

  • Dementia – memory loss, rather like Alzheimer’s dementia.
  • Psychosis – long- term drinkers can start to hear voices.
  • Dependence – if you stop drinking, you get withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, nervousness and (sometimes) seeing things that aren’t there.
  • Suicide – 40% of men who try to kill themselves have had a long- standing alcohol problem. – 70% of those who succeed in killing themselves have drunk alcohol before doing so.

What is the connection between depression and alcohol?

We know that there is a connection – self-harm and suicide are much more common in people with alcohol problems. It seems that it can work in two ways.

  • If we drink too much, too regularly, we are more likely to become depressed.

Regular drinking can leave us tired and depressed. There is evidence that alcohol changes the chemistry of the brain itself and that this increases the risk of depression.

Hangovers create a cycle of waking up feeling ill, anxious, jittery and guilty.

Regular drinking can make life depressing – family arguments, poor work, unreliable memory and sexual problems.

  • If we drink alcohol to relieve anxiety or depression, we will become more depressed

Alcohol helps us to forget our problems for a while. It can help us to relax and overcome any shyness. It can make talking easier and more fun, whether in the pub, a club or at a party. It is a very effective way of feeling better for a few hours.

If you are depressed and lacking in energy, it can be tempting to use alcohol to help you keep going and cope with life. The problem is that it is easy to slip into drinking regularly, using it like a medication.The benefits soon wear off, the drinking becomes part of a routine, and you have to keep drinking more to get the same effect.

You can get this information and more like it at The Royal College of Psychologists.

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May 21, 2007

fetal alcohol syndrome

Does Drinking Alcohol Harm An Unborn Baby? Here’s the thing; if you are pregnant and drinking, your baby is drinking as well.  As soon as you take a drink of any alcoholic beverage, your unborn child is taking the same drink.  Any alcohol you drink goes directly through your bloodstream into the placenta.

Would you fill a bottle with alcohol and give it to a baby?  Hopefully the answer is, “no” and if this is the case, you should also give up alcohol if you are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.

Still not convinced?  When you drink alcohol while you are pregnant the alcohol interferes with the baby’s ability to get enough oxygen and the nourishment needed for normal cell development in the brain and other body organs.

A developing fetus has a very low tolerance for alcohol.  Serious problems may occur when pregnant mothers consume alcohol.

One of the problems a baby may be born with if the mother has been drinking during the pregnancy is Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.  No one knows how much alcohol is too much for FAS to develop.  Babies born with FAS suffer from mental and physical defects. These problems do not go away.

Fetal Alcohol Effects or FAE causes fewer problems but the issues are still serious.  Children born with FAE may face a lifetime of handicaps that will limit their potential.  These children often need special care throughout their lifetimes.

If this is not enough to convince you that drinking alcohol can be dangerous to an unborn baby, here are some other possibilities.   A baby affected by alcohol may have a small body size and weight.  He may develop at a slower rate and have problems catching up to other children his age.

He may be born with a deformed sternum and ribs.  A curved spine and hip dislocations may be present as well as missing, bent, fused or webbed fingers or toes.  He may have limited movement in his joints and small eye openings.

Babies who have mothers who drink alcohol during pregnancy may be born with facial abnormalities, small jaws, thin upper lips and short, upturned noses.  They may be nearsighted or have drooping eyelids.  The ears are sometimes low-set or poorly formed.

When mothers consume alcohol during pregnancy their babies may have organ deformities or suffer from heart defects or heart murmurs.  Sometimes the kidneys and urinary system are damaged.  The genitals may be deformed and they may be born with central nervous system problems that lead to handicaps.

As the baby gets a little older there are other problems that become apparent.  They may be mentally challenged and have short attention spans.  They may be irritable in infancy and hyperactive in childhood.  Poor finger, hand and body coordination may be issues that the child will face.

This is serious business and something that every mother-to-be should carefully consider.  Is it worth giving up alcohol to have the best chance possible of having a healthy baby?  Why risk the health of your baby and his future?

Want to find more information on how to stop drinking then visit: stop drinking alcohol

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May 18, 2007

Drink Driving Commercial

Here’s a commercial ad from Mark “Chopper” Read on Drink Driving.

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May 8, 2007

facts on alcohol

Drinking can have quite a cost and the price tag involves more than money. Alcohol is an expensive proposition and abusing it makes the endeavor even more so. Let’s add up some of the costs of overusing alcohol. We’ll start with the monetary costs and move on to the emotional and relationship costs later in the article.

It may start slowly and you won’t even notice that the alcohol you consume is affecting your budget. A drink here or there after work with friends or coworkers. Little get-togethers on the weekend or a few drinks during a party or barbeque. It’s just a way to relax and what’s the big deal if you have a drink while eating out or stop at the bar for an occasional beer. O.K. so the price tag for this type of drinking is not astronomical.

What happens to the price tag when you find yourself joining friends on a really regular basis and dropping between $50.00 and $100.00 each time? Maybe every time you cash your paycheck you head to the liquor store and spend as much on alcohol as you do on groceries. What is the cost of this? There may even come a time when you choose buying alcohol over paying your bills. Ever stop to think maybe it’s a little too pricey?

Do you find yourself hosting parties every weekend? Parties that involve the purchase of large amounts of alcohol? Parties where you always drink too much and so do most of your guests? What is the cost?

So now that we have covered some of the financial costs of purchasing the alcohol, let’s focus on some of the other costs involved in the misuse of alcohol. There are other financial costs besides the money you spend acquiring the alcohol.

Ever missed any days of work because of your drinking? Do you have the type of job where you are not paid if you are not there? What is the monetary cost every day you aren’t at your job? Ultimately, do you risk losing your job if you miss too many more days?

Have there been times when you were arrested for DWI or other alcohol-related incidents? Did you need to hire an attorney? Did you miss more time at work because of court appearances? Add it up.

Relationship costs add up quickly when a person is drinking too much, too often. Have you lost any friendships because of your drinking habits? Are your relationships with family members suffering? If so, start adding up those costs. Think of the times when you weren’t able to follow through on your commitments to your partner, children or parents. How many people have you let down because drinking has become your first priority?

Besides all the other costs, there is the price you may pay in the area of your health, both physically and emotionally. Heart and liver disease are just two of the health issues you may have to deal with. You may also have problems with cancer and pancreatitis. Emotionally, you may pay a high price as well if you need to contend with anger issues or depression.

Add up the costs of misusing and abusing alcohol and determine if it is a price you are willing to pay.

Want to find more information on how to stop drinking then visit: stop drinking alcohol

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