05 Dec 2018

BY: Alexandrea Holder

Addiction / Featured

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December is Impaired Driving Prevention Month

December is National Impaired Driving Prevention Month, designated as such in response to the irreparable damages impaired driving causes during this time of year. According to the Mothers Against Drunk Driving organization, about two in three people will have some sort of involvement in a drunk driving crash. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed over 10,000 people lost their lives in drunk driving incidents in 2017. For that reason, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month is more than a month to spread awareness but one for personal change and action. Here are a few ways that you can make a difference this month for the sake of ending drunk and high driving.

Know Your Limits

One of the most important things to know is just how much alcohol impacts your ability to drive safely. The legal blood alcohol concentration limit is a concentration of .08% for general licenses and .04% for commercial drivers. The amount of drinks it takes to stay under or go above the limit depends on your body chemistry and it’s best to never gamble with the numbers. Overestimating your limits could result in legal consequences, or more detrimental results. Needless to say, there are tools and resources on the internet that could help you determine what your BAC might be based upon your weight and other factors. Knowing an estimate of your drinking limits may be an effective way of preventing yourself from over drinking before taking the wheel.

Educate Yourself and Others

Another great way to make a difference on National Impaired Driving Prevention Month is to educate yourself and others on the facts and statistics about impaired driving. Many people might be unaware of how drugs and alcohol will affect their mind before driving under the influence, especially because alcohol lowers inhibitions and distorts one’s perceptions.  The personal stories and tragedies of the people affected by drunk and impaired driving illustrate the devastation of a momentary lapse in judgment. Overall, the more you learn and share, the better. Even if you impact one person’s mindset, you could potentially save the lives of others down the road.

Get Involved

Getting actively involved during National Impaired Driving Prevention Month can be done in a few different ways. There are plenty of powerful organizations that work endlessly to put impaired driving in the past and safety in the present and future. Many of them have volunteer opportunities in which you can get involved and dedicate part of your time to the cause. If that’s not your thing, then another great way to get involved is to take a pledge of honor to not drive drunk, drowsy, or high. Altogether, taking action is a very effective way of making a difference in your own life and the community around you.

Take Care of Yourself

This month may be designated for national awareness but it’s also the perfect opportunity for you to reflect on your relationship with drugs and alcohol. Remembering the countless lives that were taken due to impaired driving accidents will remind you of the dangers that abusing alcohol and drugs can bring. If you’re struggling with an addiction, getting treatment will save your life and may prevent you from ever getting into an accident while drunk or high. You are never alone nor do you have to suffer in silence because your life is worth the time and patience. If you have any questions about our treatment programs, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here for you and all the questions you may have!

 

5 Facts You Need to Know About Alcohol 21 Nov 2018

BY: Alexandrea Holder

Addiction / Featured

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5 Facts You Need to Know About Alcohol

Did you know November 19th through the 25th is Alcohol Awareness Week? This year’s theme is change, with an emphasis on correcting misconceptions about alcohol and alcohol abuse disorders. Despite being considered one of the most acceptable illicit substances to use, alcohol is still dangerous and can lead to serious consequences. In fact, during the holiday season drunk driving attributes to 40 percent of fatal road accidents -nearly double the rate for the rest of the year (28 percent). 2.3 times as many people die in alcohol-related crashes between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day alone.

If that’s not enough to make you seriously reconsider your drinking habits, here’s 5 facts you need to know about alcohol:

#1: Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Can Be Attributed to Both Parents

Most people correlated Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) with a mother’s drinking habits, specifically during the course of her pregnancy. But did you know, the father’s alcohol consumption can also have negative effects on an unborn baby? A 2013 study showed paternal alcohol exposure could contribute to low birth weight, abnormal organ growth including the brain, and heightened neonatal mortality risks. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome also causes delayed mental development and behavioral issues including aggression, antisocial behavior, and impulse control issues.

#2: Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms Can Be Fatal

While most assume the main danger of alcohol abuse involves getting behind the wheel, the physical effects alcohol has on the body are just as damaging. Long-term abuse causes liver damage, potentially leading to a serious health condition called cirrhosis. This condition causes scarring of the liver and life-threatening liver failure. Alcohol withdrawal can also cause seizures and heart issues. Because of these risks, attempting to detox from alcohol ‘cold turkey’ can be incredibly dangerous and is not advised. Clinical supervision through a sub-acute detox program is the safest means of alcohol detox.

#3: Functional Alcoholism is a Hidden Problem

Alcohol abuse disorders aren’t always as obvious as the movies portray them to be. Functional alcoholism lurks beneath the surface and is often ignored because it doesn’t necessarily disrupt one’s ability to function in society. Symptoms like lying about or hiding one’s drinking habits, being defensive, or struggling to keep up with one’s responsibilities may point to an alcohol use disorder even if things haven’t reached a critical point. Don’t wait to hit rock bottom– early intervention could literally save your life.

#4: Alcohol Abusers are More Susceptible to Prescription Drug Abuse

Where marijuana is often portrayed as the ‘gateway drug’, studies show a stronger correlation between alcohol use and the development of polysubstance abuse disorders. That is, people with alcohol use disorders are 18 times more likely to abuse other substances, most commonly prescription drugs. While sometimes the interactions are unintentional, they are often used as a means to intensify or prolong the effects of either or both substances.

#5:  1.5 Million Drunk Drivers =$52 Billion Tax Dollars Annually

Hate when your tax dollars go to stupid things? Well, thanks to the 1.5 million DUI incidents each year, $52 billion is siphoned away from important public resources. These funds cover emergency response teams, equipment, and property damage repairs. Fines for drivers can be up to $10,000, not including court costs and insurance penalties. Legal ramifications include jail time, alcohol monitoring, court mandated counseling, and drunk driving awareness courses.

Struggling with alcohol? We’re here to help! Call us today.

What to Say When You Think Someone Has a Drinking Problem 07 Nov 2018

BY: Alexandrea Holder

Addiction / Featured

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What to Say When You Think Someone Has a Drinking Problem

You don’t really want to ask.

It’s rude.

It’s the elephant in the room no one’s given voice to yet.

But you have to because 88,000 people die from alcohol-related deaths every year in the United States.

Each one of those deaths was preventable.

Alcoholism doesn’t remain the sleeping beast forever. Alcohol use disorders cause significant physical and psychological damage; alcohol-induced brain damage appears in loss of memory, nerve cell damage, measurable cerebral changes, and a decline in brain mass.

You get the picture.

But how do you do something about someone else’s drinking problem?

Here’s an ingenious way to talk about someone else’s drinking problems everyone overlooks:

 

Talk Impact: “Hey Joey, I noticed you’re not working anymore.”

When broaching the subject about how someone’s drinking problem is affecting their life, talk impact. There’s a good chance they’ve heard it before, and they won’t want to hear it again.

But:

Your voice may cut through even the stubbornest of “enthusiasts” if you offer tangible evidence about how one’s drinking is impacting the lives of the people they love around them. Use examples from how their children are affected, significant others, and progression of one’s aspirations.

Chances are if your loved one is in the throes of a full-blown alcohol substance use disorder, your words won’t cut through the psychological and physical need of alcohol. However, if your loved one is experiencing early warning symptoms of alcoholism, this tactic may work well.

Alcoholism (full-blown or not) impacts every facet of daily life including:

  • Parenting ability
  • Work ethic and professionalism (Do you go to work hungover?)
  • Have a healthy self-image
  • Measure of fatigue
  • Lags of memory (Blackouts)
  • Drinking binges

 

Some Conversation Starters Include:

“You don’t seem happy anymore. Is there a particular reason why you’re drinking so much? No judgment, I just want to understand what you’re going through.”

“I remember when you loved working on _________. Is there a reason why you haven’t pursued it? Is that one of the reasons why you’re self-medicating so often? Is there anything I can do to help? I’m always here to just listen.”

“I noticed you and (significant other or child) don’t spend as much time together anymore. I haven’t heard any new stories! What’s going on? I’ve also noticed you’re drinking a lot more— and I don’t say that out of judgment, I’m just genuinely asking if you’re doing well.”

The key here is to be earnest, be genuine, and be ready to help.

You don’t have to be a therapist to lend someone an ear. Although alcoholism (or symptoms of abuse) are concerning, there’s always an underlying cause for one’s self-medication.

 

What You Need to Know About Self Medication with Alcohol

Self-medication is the unconscious or conscious use of an addictive substance to blot out the discomfort of emotional unrest.

This may be generalized depression or an undiagnosed mental health disorder. Self-medicating is not limited to addictive substances, and may extend into abusive or dysfunctional romantic relations, an unhealthy relationship to food, or binge-watching.

Self-medicating has no bounds.

And if someone you love has found temporary solace in alcohol, don’t crucify them for it— try to understand why it happened.

Why does alcohol help you feel better? What don’t you want to feel anymore?

Self-medication is a classic way to escape pain.

 

The Takeaway

Alcoholism or alcohol abuse is serious, but there’s always a cause.

Your job is to let your loved ones know you’re there for them and that you’re ready to help— no matter what that means. If your loved ones are ready to get help, check out listings for local treatment centers and start asking the right questions about getting help. Open the conversation with an opener that 1) emphasizes something that has happened (or has been lost) as a result of one’s drinking problem and 2) firmly establishes your inquiry has no strings of judgment attached.

Alcohol Abuse in Georgia 25 Oct 2018

BY: Alexandrea Holder

Addiction / Featured

Comments: No Comments

10 Signs of Functional Alcoholism You Shouldn’t Overlook

Alcohol: the most socially accepted addictive substance in the United States. Drinking and sometimes drinking to excess is seen as a social norm, almost to the point of being an expectation. Alcohol consumption is part of everyday American culture. Mourning, celebrations, relaxing, and even dinner gatherings seem to circulate around drinking. Alcohol is in our movies, television shows, and music, too. The normalization of alcohol abuse in all aspects of our lives makes it easy to miss signs of alcoholism, especially when they aren’t blatantly obvious. This gray area allows people- often labeled functioning alcoholics- to slip between the cracks, harboring addiction just beneath the surface.

What is a Functioning Alcoholic?

Scientifically, alcoholism is a long-term chemical change within the brain caused by alcohol consumption. In layman’s terms, alcoholism is an addiction to alcohol, typically resulting in excessive drinking. Because alcohol affects men and women differently, the guidelines for sensible drinking differ. The typically accepted limit is:

  • Men: Two drinks per day or 14/week

 

  • Women: One drink per day or 7/week

 

Functional alcoholism is a form of alcohol abuse which is not readily recognizable. Whereas alcohol abuse disorders are often characterized by clear dysfunction and instability, functioning alcoholics are better able to conceal their addiction symptoms. People living with alcoholism who fall into this category are often viewed as not having a problem or still being in control; they maintain employment and continue tending to other responsibilities, so we often overlook the warning signs.

We shouldn’t. Functioning alcoholism is just as dangerous as any other type of alcohol abuse disorder. It may even be worse since without being properly addressed, alcohol abuse can have life threatening consequences.

10 Signs of Functional Alcoholism You Shouldn’t Overlook

1: Getting an Early Start

People who are functioning alcoholics may not drink all day everyday, but beginning the day with alcohol may be a warning sign of deeper lying issues. Weekend mimosas first thing in the morning or spiking your coffee to make it through the workday could signify physical or mental dependence, especially when habitual.

2: Working Hungover

Going into work hungover is often viewed as a sign of a good time the night before. But regularly toughing it through the day while nursing a migraine, fighting back nausea, or struggling with vertigo should be a wake up call. Alcohol abuse can also lead to missing work days, excessive sick days, and other employment issues.

3: Secretive Drinking

Having to drink in secret to avoid judgement or raising concerns is a red flag. If you have to downplay your drinking habits in order to not arouse suspicion, it’s time to re-evaluate your relationship with alcohol.

4: “Pre-Gaming”

This common tradition among the partying crowd is a harmful habit which could indicate alcohol abuse. While many view it as a means of avoiding inflated bar prices or ensuring a good time, pre-drinking before going out to drink could be an indicator of an elevated tolerance brought on by excessive alcohol use.

5:Exceeding Set Limits

Going out with a specific boundary set only to exceed your self-imposed limit may be a sign of impulse control issues. The inability to stop drinking or follow a reasonable pace is significant in terms of identifying warning signs of functional alcoholism.

6: “Blackouts” and Memory Issues

Getting drunk to the point of blacking out is dangerous for everyone involved. It leaves one vulnerable to malicious intent and raises the risk of life-threatening situations. Missing hours or days’ worth of memories due to alcohol abuse is a sign it may be time to seek help.

7: Drinking Instead of Eating

Making choices to purchase alcohol over food or lacking an appetite in favor of drinking is not only damaging to one’s health, it could implicative of functional alcoholism. Pay attention.

8: Defensiveness of Drinking Habits

“I’m just a social drinker!”

“Come on, I don’t drink that much!”

“I’m an adult, I can drink however much I want! I’m not hurting anybody!”

Often, the people closest to us notice changes within us long before we do. Deflection and defensiveness when they express concern for one’s alcohol consumption can be telling of the true depth of alcohol abuse.

9: Joking About Alcoholism

They say behind every joke is a bit of truth, which may ring true for jokes about alcoholism or being an alcoholic. Joking about excessive drinking may be an attempt to receive validation or convince yourself or others that the problem isn’t as bad as it seems.

10: Binge Drinking

Of all the invisible symptoms of functional alcoholism, binge drinking is perhaps the most ambiguous. While binge drinking alone is not necessarily a sign of alcoholism, a pattern of doing so may be. Binge drinking is defined by the CDC as “a pattern of drinking which brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above.” This typically translates to five drinks or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women, but may vary.

While no single item on this list is absolutely demonstrative of functional alcoholism, patterns of addictive behaviors should not be overlooked. Alcoholism in any form is too often ignored unless it has harmful or tragic consequences. By opening the conversation about alcohol use disorders and recognizing potential trouble in our own habits, we can help to reduce the harm of alcohol on our families and communities.

If you or someone you love is struggling with alcoholism, Tangu Recovery can help. Contact us today.

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