November 29, 2007

Impact on the Alcoholic and the Family

There are addicts of all sorts all over. Now with the neoclassical definition that many are proposing it would seem that every single individual is an addict of some kind and it is only the level of addiction that varies. Addiction is a persistent on-going condition where the individual or animal would crave for a particular substance(s) or seek to repeat certain behavior(s) in order to satisfy a need(s). As is being proposed this in itself is not a problem until the individual becomes physiologically or psychological unstable when that need is not satisfied (then there is no more self-control).

It is this lost of control on the part of alcoholics and other addicts that affect every single aspect of society. First and foremost the individual is affected in a variety of ways depending on his addiction. There are those addictions that are not obvious to anyone and may remain hidden and kept secret from those close to you as well as the outside world for several years (in fact others will only know of it after you have confessed). Then there are addictions that are a little more obvious but only to those who are close to you (friends and family members) and can only be kept secret for so long. Then there are addictions that you could see from a mile way (so obvious it stinks). At every level, the individual and by extension society is affected in some way or another.

Individuals who through abuse of alcohol have become addicted are more than likely to undergo a personality change. This change of personality will definitely affect anyone who is close to them. Some alcohol addictions lead to indifference to matters and issues that were once of serious interest to the alcoholic (a college education may no longer be their top priority!). Work ethics and the sense of responsibility that an addicted person once had would no longer be upheld. Personal pride (being neat and well groomed has now taken a back seat) and self-esteem would suffer, leading to actions that are uncharacteristic of the individual.

All of these effects of alcoholism would then be spilled over into other areas of their lives. Lack of work ethics and the continuous deterioration of the quality of work they produce may lead to them eventually losing their jobs, which in turn affects the finance and well being of their family. Uncharacteristic behavior of the alcoholic could cause them to become abusive (whether it be physical, emotional or mental) to their spouse and children. There is the factor of risk-taking where their life and that of those around them become less important and they are likely to place themselves and others in life-threatening situations. Alcoholism in many cases, may lead to disassociation from friends and family members in an effort by the alcoholic to either hide his addiction or avoid criticism from others about his addiction.

Alcoholism that has lead to the addict withdrawing from close friends and in particular family members could have serious emotional effects. In many cases family members who are close to the alcoholic are completely taken aback after becoming aware of the addict’s problem. This may seem rather impossible as there are obvious indicators of smell and lack of coordination among other things that would indicate that someone has been under the influence. While this may be true and family members are aware of the signs of the individual being under the influence of alcohol; you often find that it is only late into the addiction that they become convinced that the individual is an alcoholic; as much effort is usually made by alcoholics to conceal their alcoholism from other individuals.

Then there is the abuse that close family members, in particular spouses and children, are likely to be subjected to. These are likely to have even longer lasting impact on the family. In many cases, after the alcoholism has been dealt with and treated, the scars from such abuse would remain as a thorn when trying to mend broken relationships. For many families involving alcoholism, the deal breaker is money. Some addictions may lead to job loss for the victims; and financial problems for their family. Studies have shown that many families under financial pressure can only hold on for so long before it all comes caving in. In some cases you may find that these very alcoholics, in order to sustain their habit, would initially deplete all of their own money (savings and joint-savings with spouse); and when that is done, try to do the same to other family members. With the alcoholic’s obvious indifference to such problems and the financial strain that would be created would result in unwanted consequences. This is likely to lead to delinquencies in meeting certain obligations such as mortgage payments and utilities, which would only serve to aggravate the family situation.

Alcohol abuse, like any other drug, also greatly increases the risk of individuals developing health problems. Complications with liver, kidneys and a whole lot of other vital body organs are a common side effect of alcoholism. This not only complicates the situation for the individual but the family at large, as limited financial resources are would have to used to remedy such ailments.

Even when there has been professed cases of overcoming alcoholism, the damage done prior to attaining that victory is usually so extensive and severe that many lives (in particular that of the individual and family members) would never be the same. Lifelong relationships may have become permanently severed and the alcoholic, for the most part, would have been left completely despondent and dejected after the ordeal. It may seem unfair to many victims of alcoholics and family members where addictions have brought total chaos and destruction that those alcoholics need their total love and support. It is true, alcoholics need every bit of their love ones that could be offered when recovering from alcoholism and even more so while they are still being controlled by it. So whenever possible be patient and loving towards those who need you most; even when it seems like that most difficult thing to do.

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November 27, 2007

The Perils of Teenage Drinking

We had a very disturbing weekend.

It centered around an issue that far too many parents either don’t take seriously enough or bury their heads in the sand and avoid altogether.

I’m talking about teenage drinking.

Fortunately, the weekend turmoil resulted not from my own kids’ drinking but from the ignorance and denial exhibited by other parents. But before I climb up on my soapbox, let’s take a look at some frightening statistics.

Currently, alcohol use among young people under 21 is the leading drug problem in the U.S. According to the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University:

• More youths in the U.S. drink alcohol than smoke tobacco or marijuana, making it the drug most used by young Americans.
• Every day, 5,400 young people under 16 take their first drink of alcohol.
• In 2005, one out of six eighth-graders, one in three tenth-graders, and nearly one out of two twelfth-graders were current drinkers.
• In 2004, more than 7 million youths ages 12 to 20 reported binge drinking, which is defined as “having five or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past 30 days.”

In addition, recent surveys have also found that:

• Girls are binge drinking more, while boys are binging less or increasing their binging at a slower rate than their female peers.
• Twelfth-grade female drinkers and binge drinkers are now more likely to drink distilled spirits than beer.
• The new "Alco pops" are particularly attractive to girls, and are most popular with the youngest drinkers.

The consequences of underage drinking are heartbreaking:

• Every day, three teens die from drinking and driving.
• At least six more youths under 21 die each day in non-driving alcohol-related cases, such as homicide, suicide and drowning.
• More than 70,000 college students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape each year.
• Recent studies have found that heavy exposure to alcohol may interfere with adolescent brain development, causing loss of memory and other skills.

For a complete report of this Executive Summary, please see

A Parent In Denial

These are sobering statistics, ones that every parent should take note of. So why is it that most of the parents I talk seem to be in complete denial?

This weekend, my husband and I were awakened at 1:20 a.m. by a parent who called to tell us that our son had been drinking and was running around drunk. When I asked what made him think our son was drunk, he claimed that our son and several others had been in his house drinking (unsupervised), and took off when he and his wife came home.

Not surprisingly, this parent sounded quite upset. Because the drinking took place in his home, he was worried about what would happen if any of the boys in question got in trouble or, worse, got killed in a car crash.

I asked him to calm down, and explained that my son was already home. Although he did have one beer while at his friend’s house, he wasn’t drunk and he wasn’t driving. Moreover, all the other boys involved were at home and safe in bed.

At that point, the parent flew into a rage, saying he couldn’t believe that I knew my son drinks and questioning my fitness as a parent. When I asked if he knew that his own son drinks, he insisted that I didn’t know what I was talking about and ordered my son to stay out of his house.

The sad part is, his response did not shock or even surprise me very much. In fact, I have had this conversation (or ones very much like it) with parents on a regular basis. For some reason, parents don’t want to acknowledge that their kids drink, smoke, or try drugs. Of course, other kids do these kinds of things, but never their own.

This Is Your Wakeup Call!

I happen to know that this particular parent’s son has a serious drinking problem. Not only does he drink too often and too much (often during school), he also drives when he drinks. Yet, his parents refuse to acknowledge that he drinks at all, much less has a drinking problem.

Obviously, not every teenager has a drinking problem. But the harsh reality is this — like it or not, your kids will try cigarettes, alcohol and at least one recreational drug. Their behavior afterwards, and the choices they continue to make regarding alcohol and drugs, will depend to a large extent on your reaction to those experiments.

Instead of getting bent out of shape and claiming that it can’t or won’t happen in your house, please talk to your kids and listen without judgment. Allow your teenage children to confide in you, so that you can be there for them and guide them when they get into questionable situations.

My kids know — because I have told them again and again — that while I don’t support their drinking, I will be there for them (and all of their friends) if they should become inebriated. No matter what time of day or night, I will pick them up and drive everyone home if they don’t have a sober driver.

Even at fabulously forty we can still make bad choices, and we sometimes pay a hefty price when we do. So it’s natural to want to prevent our kids from doing the same.

But it’s far more important that our kids know that we love them and will be there for them when they do make a mistake.

Our children are a reflection on us, and we want them to be perfect. But as we all know, we don’t live in a perfect world. The way I see it, we have two choices. We can choose to have kids that are not so perfect but are alive and well, or we can choose to be ignorant of their faults and risk losing them.

Personally, I choose the first option. For your sake and that of your teenagers, I hope you do the same.

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November 23, 2007

Drunk Driving Car Crash

Accidents caused due to drunken driving are one of the major-concern issues haunting the US in the past few decades. Drunken driving causes more than 16,000 automobile casualties every year, leading to more than a million deaths. Not to mention the millions of drivers that are arrested for drunken driving each passing year.

Several people who party into the wee hours of the night drive with the drink still inside them. Youth that attend rave parties are susceptible to a more serious problem, as they often mix drugs with their drink. All these activities are deemed not only dangerous but also illegal by law. Drunk driving endangers the lives of the drivers and their passengers as well as other people on the road.

Strict methods are employed by traffic authorities to restrict and impound drunk driving. Measures such as breathalyzers are adopted by traffic police to detect whether a driver is drunk or not. A breathalyzer can ascertain the amount of alcohol in the breath of a driver. Another factor to determine the presence of alcohol in the body of a driver is the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). A BAC level of more than 0.15 is considered unsafe for driving. There are other crude means adopted in certain jurisdictions such as making the suspected driver to walk in straight line or making them read out a passage.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for creating guidelines for safe driving. They have implemented rules under the National Minimum Drinking Age laws to wean drunken drivers off the road. According to their estimates, these laws have met with great success and have been able to prevent more than 20,000 drunken driving deaths in the past year.

Various organizations are dedicated to cause awareness about the problem of drunken driving. Particularly, MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) has met with a lot of popularity in this field. Media such as the television and newspapers are used extensively to educate people of the dangers of drunk driving. There are clips showing gruesome drunken driving deaths interspersed with movies and TV serials and true life accounts of victims.

The country has met with success in its fight against drunken driving. The number of fatalities is dwindling off with each passing year. There is a 33% decrease in the number of deaths this year from the past year. However, there is still a lot of work to be done and several organizations are working together to drive the bane of drunken driving into extinction.

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November 21, 2007

Teenage Drunk Driving

Teenage drunk driving is a serious problem for our nations youth. It’s hard to believe but more and more teenagers are using and abusing alcohol and/or drugs than ever before. Combine that with the intense peer pressure that teenagers go through and we have a serious problem called teenage drunk driving.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teenagers between the ages of 15 and 20. One report puts the numbers of high school students who admit to driving after drinking at almost 50% of those polled. That’s a staggering statistic by any means but what’s even worse is that these are teenagers who aren’t used to being behind the wheel, going through emotional changes/puberty, and subject to a tremendous amount of peer pressure.

The problem comes from the amount of teenagers with access to alcohol and/or drugs. Statistics show that one out of every ten teens (age 12-13) drink alcohol at a minimum of once per month. By limiting the access that these teenagers have to drugs and/or alcohol we are half way there to controlling this dangerous problem of teenage drunk driving.

Teenage drunk drivers also face some serious legal consequences that will harm them into their adult lives. They face revocation of their driving privileges, stiff fines, probation, alcohol education and treatment, and community service not to mention potential jail/prison time for a severe offense.

Overall this problem has not gotten enough publicity and awareness… most parents don’t realize that their kids have access to alcohol nonetheless that they ‘may’ be driving drunk. The solutions to this problem encompass education, awareness, preventing access to alcohol, and most of all prevention.

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November 19, 2007

Social Implications of Drunk Driving

Like it or not DUI or drunk driving has many social implications within society today. If you are convicted of driving under the influence here’s what you can expect from friends, family, co-workers and the like…

Most people who have not had first hand experience with DUI have the “it won’t ever happen to me” attitude and as such are quick to judge the person who may be experiencing a DUI charge (regardless of guilt).

DUI is one of those crimes in society that people love to hate because it is highly publicized and reported by lobbying organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) who greatly distort the statistics.

While no one condones actually driving under the influence or breaking the law, the fact of the matter is that it is NOT illegal to drink and then drive. It is perfectly legal to drive so long as you are capable of driving safely and your blood alcohol level is below the legal limit (currently .08%). But MADD has been fighting very hard to make people believe that ‘drunk driving’ is a worse problem than it actually is in comparison to other dangerous driving activities like talking on a cell phone while driving, driving while texting (DWT), and even just plain old speeding.

The organization has done a lot of good by lowering the allowable BAC to this level but they continue to push for lower levels by distorting the actual statistics and pushing other serious traffic concerns to the back burner because they insist on keeping the spotlight on alcohol. By keeping the spotlight on alcohol they get more federal funding for the MADD organization.

As you can tell by now the social implications of a DUI charge and/or conviction are much more than just a misdemeanor record. You have powerful lobbying organizations shaping public attitude and creating the ‘stigma’ of getting a DUI. You’ll be dealing with this after charged for drunk driving.

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November 16, 2007

How To Cut Down On Drinking

If you are drinking too much, you can improve your life and health by cutting down. How do you know if you drink too much? Read these questions and answer "yes" or "no":

  • Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad?
  • Does your drinking ever make you late for work?
  • Does your drinking worry your family?
  • Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won’t?
  • Do you ever forget what you did while you were drinking?
  • Do you get headaches or have a hang-over after you have been drinking?

If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you may have a drinking problem. Check with your doctor to be sure. Your doctor will be able to tell you whether you should cut down or abstain. If you are alcoholic or have other medical problems, you should not just cut down on your drinking – you should stop drinking completely.

Learn how to say NO.

You do not have to drink when other people drink. You do not have to take a drink that is given to you. Practice ways to say no politely. For example, you can tell people you feel better when you drink less. Stay away from people who give you a hard time about not drinking.

Stay active.

What would you like to do instead of drinking? Use the time and money spent on drinking to do something fun with your family or friends. Go out to eat, see a movie, or play sports or a game.

Get support.

Cutting down on your drinking may be difficult at times. Ask your family and friends for support to help you reach your goal. Talk to your doctor if you are having trouble cutting down. Get the help you need to reach your goal.

Watch out for temptations.

Watch out for people, places, or times that make you drink, even if you do not want to. Stay away from people who drink a lot or bars where you used to go. Plan ahead of time what you will do to avoid drinking when you are tempted.

Do not drink when you are angry or upset or have a bad day. These are habits you need to break if you want to drink less.


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November 14, 2007

Warning Signs of a Teen Drinking Problem

Although the following signs may indicate a problem with alcohol or other drugs, some also reflect normal teenage growing pains. Experts believe that a drinking problem is more likely if you notice several of these signs at the same time, if they occur suddenly, and if some of them are extreme in nature.

  • Mood changes: flare-ups of temper, irritability, and defensiveness.
  • School problems: poor attendance, low grades, and/or recent disciplinary action.
  • Rebelling against family rules.
  • Switching friends, along with a reluctance to have you get to know the new friends.
  • A "nothing matters" attitude: sloppy appearance, a lack of involvement in former interests, and general low energy.
  • Finding alcohol in your child’s room or backpack, or smelling alcohol on his or her breath.
  • Physical or mental problems: memory lapses, poor concentration, bloodshot eyes, lack of coordination, or slurred speech.

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November 12, 2007

Facts About Alcohol Poisoning

Excessive drinking can be hazardous to everyone’s health! It can be particularly stressful if you are the sober one taking care of your drunk roommate, who is vomiting while you are trying to study for an exam.

Some people laugh at the behavior of others who are drunk. Some think it’s even funnier when they pass out. But there is nothing funny about the aspiration of vomit leading to asphyxiation or the poisoning of the respiratory center in the brain, both of which can result in death.

Do you know about the dangers of alcohol poisoning? When should you seek professional help for a friend? Sadly enough, too many college students say they wish they would have sought medical treatment for a friend. Many end up feeling responsible for alcohol-related tragedies that could have easily been prevented.

Common myths about sobering up include drinking black coffee, taking a cold bath or shower, sleeping it off, or walking it off. But these are just myths, and they don’t work. The only thing that reverses the effects of alcohol is time-something you may not have if you are suffering from alcohol poisoning. And many different factors affect the level of intoxication of an individual, so it’s difficult to gauge exactly how much is too much

What Happens to Your Body When You Get Alcohol Poisoning?

Alcohol depresses nerves that control involuntary actions such as breathing and the gag reflex (which prevents choking). A fatal dose of alcohol will eventually stop these functions.

It is common for someone who drank excessive alcohol to vomit since alcohol is an irritant to the stomach. There is then the danger of choking on vomit, which could cause death by asphyxiation in a person who is not conscious because of intoxication.

You should also know that a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) can continue to rise even while he or she is passed out. Even after a person stops drinking, alcohol in the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. It is dangerous to assume the person will be fine by sleeping it off.

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November 10, 2007

What Are the Alcoholism Stages?

Almost everyone knows about the twelve steps to recovery from alcoholism. But what are the stages someone goes through on the way to alcoholism?

Alcohol addiction stages are generally defined as early, middle, and late. These three stages, however, are very broadly defined and are going to look a little different in each alcoholic. One person may never move past the early stages, while another may zoom through the early and middle stages like a rocket and land squarely in the late stage.

In the early stage of alcoholism, the drinker may not consciously admit he or she has a problem, but realizes there’s some sort of social opposition to the alcohol consumption. At this stage the alcoholic begins to drink alone, sneak drinks, feel guilty about drinking, and avoid or refuse to talk about drinking.

Beyond that, the second or middle stage of alcoholism includes such symptoms as trying and failing to reduce drinking or quit altogether. At this point the drinking has gotten to the point where there is almost always an impact on the family. The alcoholic may fight with spouse, parents, or children. There may be issues at work like increased use of sick leave, tardiness, or absenteeism. Legal troubles may surface here. A DUI arrest is not uncommon for someone in the second stage of alcoholism.

Especially for the binge alcoholic, who can go a long time between drinking periods, there is remorse after a binge. The middle stage of alcoholism is usually where blackouts and memory loss first occur. The alcoholic also becomes much better at rationalizing the drinking activity.

If the alcoholic reaches the third, final or "late" stage, the alcoholism is having a severe impact on his or her life. The body has absorbed so much alcohol over such a long period of time that the person has a very high tolerance for alcohol. A woman in Washington State was arrested for DUI in April of 2007 with a stunning blood-alcohol level of .47. Almost half her blood was alcohol!

This level of alcohol actually indicates alcohol poisoning, and many other people would have been dead long before they reached .47. This woman’s tolerance was so high that not only was she still breathing, she thought she could drive a car. The police officer disagreed with her.

Someone in late stage alcoholism will almost certainly have blackout periods and/or memory loss. The alcohol has permeated the brain and is changing it. Liver diseases like fatty liver or cirrhosis are probably present and the person’s health has definitely declined by this point. It is absolutely critical at this point that the alcoholic either seek help on his or her own, or have an intervention.

One other interesting fact that has recently come to light: women, almost without exception, pass through these stages faster than their male counterparts. Women’s bodies generally have less water than a similar-sized male’s. Alcohol in the bloodstream mixes with water, but since there is less water in a women’s body, that makes the alcohol more potent.

Anyone, male or female, who has entered any stage of alcohol dependency should seek help immediately. Alcoholism affects not only the drinker, but his or her family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who may encounter the impaired driver out on the road. Perhaps the fourth stage of alcoholism should be recovery.

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November 8, 2007

The Best Alcoholism Addiction Treatment

According to professionals, alcoholism bears on any condition that result in the continued consumption of alcoholic beverages without taking into account the negative personal and social consequences. Hence, an alcohol addict is someone that indulges in alcoholic beverages no matter the accompanying negative consequences.

Many forms of alcoholism addiction treatment exist out there. But the best alcoholism addiction treatment can be found within the walls of a treatment center. Hey, wait before run away. You’ve got to hear me out on this. I know you have peruse something like this elsewhere but I want to say something you may not have peruse anywhere else. Why did I say the treatment center is the best form of treatment?

Whether the person (the addict) is just a beginner or has gone deep into alcoholism, the alcoholism addiction treatment center is the best place to go for help. I have come across many people that have tried quitting on their own but could not help going back into it. They’ve mustered all the power at their disposal, yet they could not seem to overcome the attraction of the bottle. When you or a loved one wants to quit alcoholism, you need to attend a treatment center. Now, which of the center should you attend?

This is where many people get it incorrect. I generally recommend to people like you or your loved one to attend only a Christian alcoholism addiction treatment center. Frankly speaking, this is the best place to attend. These types of centers generally combine the spiritual and traditional system in order to assist addicts get away from alcohol. This is what many people out there are ignorant of. They thought everything about the Christian alcoholism addiction treatment center is bible. No, that is far from the truth. The centre will in addition to the bible use other traditional means to assist patients. The patients will be introduced to a higher power that can assist him or her quit if prior attempt have not yielded any good result. Also, one on one counseling will be given to the addict. They would be counseled on the effects of alcoholism and what they can do to quit. Medically, they will be given some drugs that can assist their body so that they don’t rely on alcohol again.

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