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Alcohol

Alcoholics in Recovery Benefit from Quitting Smoking

How Alcoholics in Recovery Can Benefit from Quitting Cigarettes

For many people, alcohol and cigarettes go hand in hand, but research on the link between drinking and smoking is relatively limited, which makes it difficult to know how smoking during or after treatment for alcoholism may affect the recovery process. However, in one recent study of the relationship between cigarette smoking and the risk of substance use relapse, researchers found that quitting smoking can have a significant positive impact on alcohol recovery. Alcoholics in recovery who stop smoking seem to relapse less often than those who don’t.

Smoking and Alcohol Recovery

It makes sense that cigarettes would inhibit recovery from alcoholism, as nicotine is an addictive substance and smoking is considered a type of addiction. Published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, the latest study on smoking and drinking followed more than 30,000 adults with a past alcohol use disorder (AUD) enrolled in the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The study participants were assessed at two points in time, three years apart, for substance use, substance use disorders, and related physical and mental disorders. According to their findings, daily smokers and nondaily smokers had approximately double the rate of relapse back to alcohol dependence when compared with nonsmokers.

Long-Term Recovery from Alcohol Abuse

It’s no secret that drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes isn’t good for your health, but this new study suggests that smoking cigarettes while recovering from alcoholism may also have a negative impact on an addict’s chances of long-term recovery from substance abuse. “Quitting smoking will improve anyone’s health,” says study author Renee Goodwin, an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “But our study shows that giving up cigarettes is even more important for adults in recovery from alcohol since it will help them stay sober.” The researchers also noted that “Concurrent treatment of cigarette smoking when treating AUDs may help improve long-term alcohol outcomes and reduce the negative consequences of both substances.”

Drinking, Smoking, and Depression

Alcohol and cigarettes are the two most widely used addictive substances in the United States, and not only are people who smoke more likely to drink, and vice versa, people who smoke and drink also have an unusual tendency to suffer from major depression. In a 2014 study examining the interactions between cigarette use, alcohol use, and depression, researchers found that a person who drinks alcohol and smokes cigarettes faces a higher risk of adverse health outcomes than a person who only drinks alcohol or just smokes cigarettes. By quitting smoking, alcoholics in recovery can reduce their risk of major depression, lower their risk of death, and improve their overall physical and mental health, among other significant improvements. Although smoking cessation is often seen as a low priority in a society where drug addiction has become a national epidemic, research shows that offering anti-smoking therapies during recovery for alcoholics could save lives.

Contact BRS Rehab for More Information About Alcoholics in Recovery

These study findings are significant because they support the hypothesis that smoking cigarettes contributes to alcohol addiction, which is something that many people don’t realize. All too often, people continue smoking throughout treatment and after they have completed their rehab program, relying on cigarettes to fill the void that alcohol once filled, not knowing that continuing smoking could be inhibiting their recovery. For more information about the impact of smoking on recovery from alcoholism, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today and speak to an experienced substance abuse recovery counselor about your options.

signs of alcoholism

Signs of Alcoholism: Has Your Drinking Crossed the Line?

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism are serious problems that can cause significant disruptions in the lives of users and their loved ones, resulting in devastating physical, emotional, financial, and social consequences that can take years to repair, if they can be repaired at all. Unfortunately, because drinking alcohol is socially acceptable, and because the effects of drinking vary widely from person to person, it’s not always easy to recognize the signs of alcoholism, even for yourself or someone you spend lots of time with. If your drinking is causing problems in your life, or in the lives of your loved ones, contact the substance abuse recovery counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to discuss your possible treatment options.

Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Substance abuse experts note a significant difference between alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Unlike alcoholics, alcohol abusers are still able to set some limits on their drinking. However, among alcoholics and alcohol abusers alike, their use of alcohol presents a danger to themselves and others. Still, it’s not always easy to recognize the warning signs of alcoholism in others or acknowledge when your drinking crosses that line between moderate and social use to problem drinking. There are clear signs of alcoholism that you can watch out for though, in yourself and others. You may be abusing alcohol if you:

  • Consume alcohol to cope with stress or to avoid feeling bad
  • Feel guilty or ashamed about your drinking
  • Need to drink to relax
  • Repeatedly neglect your responsibilities at home, school or work because of your drinking
  • Experience repeated legal problems because of your drinking
  • Regularly drink more than you intend to
  • “Blackout” or forget what you did while drinking
  • Lie to others to hide your drinking habits
  • Have friends or loved ones who are worried about your drinking

Adverse Effects of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholism is the most severe form of problem drinking, and it is characterized by a physical dependence on alcohol, which means the person relies on alcohol to function or feels physically compelled to drink. Alcoholics may experience a variety of problems related to their drinking, including serious health consequences, financial instability, strained relationships and emotional trauma. Drinking too much, on a single occasion or over time, can take a significant toll on your health in particular, especially if you lose control over the amount of alcohol you consume. People who abuse alcohol make drinking their top priority, displacing healthy activities and relationships, and ultimately putting their health and well-being at risk. Among the adverse physical effects of alcoholism are:

  • Irregular heart beat
  • Liver disease
  • Cancer
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Pancreatitis
  • Changes in mood and behavior

Call BRS Rehab for Help

Progressive increases in the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption may be a warning sign of alcohol abuse, a problem that can lead to more severe physical, emotional, financial, and social signs of alcoholism if the drinking continues. Not all alcohol abusers become alcoholics, but abusing alcohol is a major risk factor for addiction, which can develop suddenly in response to a significant stressor, like a breakup, retirement or a tragic loss. If you recognize the warning signs of alcoholism in yourself or someone else, and you are unable to stop the problem drinking, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services at our toll-free number to speak to a certified addiction recovery counselor.

Americans Drinking Alcohol at Dangerously High Levels: Are You One of Them?

The opioid epidemic has garnered a great deal of public attention in recent years, with the number of overdose deaths rising rapidly throughout the 2000s. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014 more people died from alcohol-induced causes than from overdoses of prescription painkillers and heroin combined. Americans are drinking alcohol at higher levels than ever before.

Philip J. Cook, a Duke University professor who studies alcohol consumption patterns and their effects, notes that per-capita alcohol consumption has been increasing since the late 1990s. According to a research report posted by Science Daily, nearly 32 million American adults surveyed reported consuming more than double the number of drinks defined as “binge drinking” at least once in the past year. A report of the findings is online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Using alcohol does not necessarily equate to alcohol abuse, but it is easy to transition from a moderate drinker to a heavy one, and from there it’s a slippery slope downward.

Binge Drinking Defined

According to the CDC, excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21. Binge drinking, the most common form of excessive drinking, is defined as four or more drinks during a single occasion for women, five or more for men. Heavy drinking is defined as consuming 8 or more drinks per week for women, 15 or more for men. Most people who are excessively drinking alcohol are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent. However, there are significant risks to sustained alcohol use.

Drinking Alcohol at Higher Levels

The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) is a series of the major epidemiologic surveys that examine alcohol use and its co-occurrence with drug use and related psychiatric conditions. The researchers reported an increasing number of survey respondents were binge drinking more frequently and at higher levels. Side effects of alcohol abuse are deadly on their own, but extreme binge drinking is especially common among study participants who used other drugs.

“Drinking at such high levels can suppress areas of the brain that control basic life-support functions such as breathing and heart rate, thereby increasing one’s risk of death,” said senior author, Aaron White, Ph.D., Senior Scientific Advisor to the NIAAA Director. “The risk increases further if other sedative drugs, particularly opioids or benzodiazepines, are added to the mix.”

Long-Term Health Risks of Drinking Alcohol

Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including:

  • High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive problems
  • Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon
  • Learning and Memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance
  • Mental health concerns, including depression and anxiety
  • Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment
  • Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism

Ending Abuse

For many, it’s a challenge to recognize excessive drinking. There is a problem if it causes one’s relationships, school or work, or social activities to suffer. Specific warning signs include:

  • lying about or hiding your drinking
  • drinking to relax or feel better
  • “blacking out” regularly
  • being unable to stop once you start
  • drinking in dangerous situations
  • neglecting your responsibilities
  • having trouble in your relationships
  • being able to drink more than you used to
  • experiencing withdrawal
  • trying to quit but being unable to

According to Per Wickstrom, the successful founder of Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, “The ongoing battle against drug and alcohol abuse is a fight that will not be won in treatment centers alone. If we wish to make a difference indeed, we must attack addiction where it begins.”

Increasing awareness is the first step to that goal.

executive burnout

Executive Burnout: What is It and How do Execs Handle It?

You’ve probably heard someone at some point say they were feeling “burned out,” meaning they’d worn themselves too thin. Furthermore, you may have even said it yourself. Burnout is a real concern for executives who are at risk for mental exhaustion from the stress they experience. Unfortunately, many managers who experience burnout begin to self-medicate. They rely on drugs or alcohol to calm their anxiety, improve their alertness, or enhance their performance at work. Self-medicating can put them at risk for dependence and addiction. If you or someone you know is experiencing executive burnout and self-medicating just to get through the day, call and speak to the substance abuse experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.

Common Signs of Workplace Stress

The demanding and challenging environment that most business executives work in makes them more prone to work-related stress. While stress affects people in different ways, some tell-tale red flags may signal executive burnout. There are healthy ways administrators can deal with workplace stress. Some of these ways include exercising regularly, getting a good night’s sleep or taking up an enjoyable hobby. However, all too often, stressed execs turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the pressure they are under to perform well at work. The following are some of the most common signs of executive burnout due to workplace stress:

  • Irritability and impatience at work
  • Depression or anxiety in the business environment
  • Lack of energy at work
  • Insomnia
  • Low self-esteem
  • Overeating or undereating
  • Frequent illness
  • Reliance on drugs or alcohol to make it through the day

Self-Medicating to Deal with Executive Burnout

Whether it’s cocaine to increase energy and mental alertness at work, alcohol to relax and unwind after a long day, or benzodiazepines to relieve anxiety, relying on substances to deal with work-related stress is a slippery slope. While cocaine, for example, may have short-term benefits regarding a temporary burst of energy and alertness, it is a highly addictive drug, and chronic use can lead to long-term health consequences, like decreased concentration, impaired memory, and diminished judgment and decision-making abilities. Business executives who deal with workplace stress by drinking alcohol may become reliant on increasing amounts of alcohol to deal with business problems and social situations, putting them at risk for alcoholism.

The Experts at BRS Rehab Can Help

The most dangerous thing about executive burnout and self-medicating with drugs or alcohol is that it can happen gradually, beginning with occasional indulgence and progressing to dependence, until drinking or doing drugs becomes the executive’s primary means of dealing with workplace stress. And it’s not just the executive who suffers the effects of executive burnout and the resulting alcohol or drug abuse. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “Employees who drink heavily or who abuse or are dependent on alcohol can undermine a workforce’s overall health and productivity,” resulting in problems like “impaired performance of job-related tasks, accidents or injuries, poor attendance, high employee turnover, and increased healthcare costs.” If an executive at your workplace appears to be suffering from burnout or addiction, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services to find out how you can help.

high-functioning alcoholics

5 Facts About High-Functioning Alcoholics

Most of us when we hear the word “alcoholic” think of a drunk person slurring words. He embarrasses himself in public, can’t hold down a job, and his life is falling apart as a result. Not all alcoholics fit into this particular mold though. In fact, there is such a thing as high-functioning alcoholics. High-functioning alcoholics are people who abuse alcohol on a regular basis. However, they manage to live relatively healthy lives, are successful at work, and have families who love them. If you recognize the signs of a high-functioning alcoholic in yourself or a loved one, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.

Do You Know a High-Functioning Alcoholic?

If you have a friend or family member who seems to plan their day around drinking, they may be a functioning alcoholic. In accordance, if they have multiple drinks to your one drink, they may be a high-functioning alcoholic. Unfortunately, high-functioning alcoholics (HFA’s) are experts at concealing their drinking from others. They are often well-liked individuals with good jobs and a tight-knit social circle. It is very easy for others to overlook the problem.

How to Recognize the Signs of High-Functioning Alcoholics

The following are five facts about high-functioning alcoholics you should be aware of:

  1. High-functioning alcoholics can be well-educated individuals with loving friends and family members. The number one myth about high-functioning alcoholics is that they can’t hold down a job or be successful. People think that they can’t maintain close personal relationships because of their problem drinking. On the contrary, HFA’s are often socially active individuals with good jobs and families who love them. In fact, one study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) in 2007, found that 19.5% of alcoholics in the United States fall into the subtype of “functional” alcoholics. Functioning alcoholics are, as a rule, well-educated, middle-aged individuals with stable jobs and families.
  1. HFA’s do show signs of alcoholism. It’s true that high-functioning alcoholics may seem like they have it all together. However, if you look a little closer, you’ll begin to notice some of the warning signs of alcoholism. Some of these red flags might include drinking alone or needing to drink to feel confident or relaxed. It might also include hiding the evidence of their drinking from others. 
  1. High-functioning alcoholics are not in control. High-functioning alcoholics are often well-educated, intelligent, successful people. They are masters at hiding their problem drinking from others. A high-functioning alcoholic might be able to convince himself and others that he has his drinking under control. For alcoholics, the issue is that the alcohol controls them, not the other way around. 
  1. High-functioning alcoholics have a problem. Just because a high-functioning alcoholic may somehow manage to maintain obligations at home, work or school, that doesn’t mean that drinking is not an issue. He experiences cravings, just like a “typical” alcoholic. He goes through withdrawal and faces the tolerance that comes with a dependence on alcohol. 
  1. HFA’s can benefit from substance abuse treatment. The very definition of a high-functioning alcoholic is an alcoholic. For the most part, he manages to function effectively in his personal, professional, and social life. As such, an HFA can easily convince himself that he doesn’t fit the traditional stereotype of an alcoholic, and therefore, doesn’t need help. The truth is that an HFA, like any alcoholic, can benefit from an intensive substance abuse treatment program like Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.

Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services Today

High-functioning alcoholics face the same potential consequences of their problem drinking as “traditional” alcoholics. In fact, they are typically the last ones to seek treatment.  High-functioning alcoholics convince themselves that they are in control while they hide their drinking from the people around them. Being aware of the signs of a high-functioning alcoholic, and recognizing the fact that HFA’s face the same problems “typical” alcoholics do, you can help your loved one get the help he or she needs. Call the substance abuse experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to discuss the available treatment options for high-functioning alcoholics.

functioning alcoholic

Trying to Maintain Your Life as a Functioning Alcoholic

Alcoholism is a serious issue that affects many families around the world. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 37,000 adolescents received treatment for an alcohol problem in 2015. Many people know when someone is an alcoholic, but what about when it isn’t so obvious? According to WebMD, around 20 percent of alcoholics are considered to be functioning alcoholics. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a functioning alcoholic can be very important.

What is a Functioning Alcoholic?

A functioning alcoholic is one that does not fit the typical “alcoholic” stereotype. We think of an alcoholic as someone who engages in domestic violence, can’t keep a job, and is not close to their family. This type of alcoholic may have a ton of friends, personal success, and a seemingly normal life. However, they are secretly suffering from alcoholism and living day-to-day with it. They can still function to the point where most people wouldn’t believe that alcohol could ever be an issue for them.  A functioning alcoholic is putting their health in danger, though, because their signs of alcoholism may not be as visible to friends and family.

What are the Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic?

Since functioning alcoholics don’t seem like they have a problem, it may be even harder to diagnose. Here are some signs to watch for: 

  • They may ask for help from friends and family for certain tasks. If someone asks to borrow money and it seems unusual for them, they may have spent too much on alcohol. Doing this brings other people into the problem who often become the enablers.
  • They believe that they set their own drinking limits. If you hear someone say that they only drink with their friends, or only drink on the weekends, they may be in denial of having an alcohol problem. They may be trying to convince everybody else otherwise.
  • They may isolate themselves from friends and family. When a potential functioning alcoholic spends a lot of time by himself, he may be using that time to drink. Furthermore, going to bars alone may mean they don’t want others to know how much they drink.

Should You Hold an Intervention?

The definition of intervention is, “The process by which an addict’s family, friends, counselors, or professional intervention specialists can show the user his destructive behaviors in a way that may result in the addict choosing to seek help immediately.”

When planning an intervention, make sure that you present the functioning alcoholic with your ideal outcome. Let them know what they need to do to get there. Prepare yourself for anger, denial, and refusal. Show them the consequences of what will happen if they do not decide to get help.

Per Wickstrom, the founder, and CEO of Best Drug Rehabilitation, believes that “We don’t tell you what you have to do to achieve peace and sobriety. We show you so that you have the power to make changes for yourself.”  It is important to lead your loved one to a path of sobriety. However, you can’t force them. With the help of your words, they will hopefully make the change on their own.

alcoholism impacts families

The Impact Alcoholism Has on Families

The very nature of addiction means an alcoholic is unable to control their impulses. They may begin prioritizing alcohol over the home, work, and social responsibilities or activities.  It’s easy to see how alcohol abuse can become all-consuming. It can eventually start disrupting an individual’s entire network of friends, family members, and co-workers. Alcoholism impacts families and can destroy a marriage. Alcoholism can drive a wedge between parents and their children, causing irreparable damage to the family unit. Fortunately, there are substance abuse recovery services available that benefit the addict as well as their loved ones. If you, or someone you love, are struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, contact the staff at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.

Alcoholism Impacts Families in Many Ways

Some people see addiction as a weakness of character or morality. They see it as an excuse to blow off work when a person doesn’t want to go. However, research has shown that alcohol dependence is a legitimate health concern. A dependency of any type impacts not just the addict, but the people around them as well – friends, co-workers, and most importantly, family. In some cases, a functioning alcoholic may be able to maintain the pretense of a happy home life. However, there is no escaping the negative consequences associated with ongoing drinking or alcoholism, without professional help.

Common Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the following are some of how functioning alcoholic symptoms can have negative effects on an alcoholic’s family and friends.  Alcoholism impacts families in many ways, including:

  • The inability to stop drinking at will – The hallmark of an addiction problem is the inability to control the impulse to drink or do drugs. Any time an individual is unable to control his actions, especially in the case of substance abuse, his loved ones are bound to suffer the consequences.
  • Neglect of essential duties – A common symptom of alcoholism is impaired judgment, physical capabilities, and cognitive function. An alcoholic will, at some point, begin to neglect essential duties and responsibilities at home and work.
  • Encountering legal problems – When a person drinks, they are more likely to get into physical altercations, display disorderly conduct in public, and engage in risky behavior, like driving while intoxicated, which increases the risk of encountering severe legal problems.
  • Needing time to nurse hangovers – Alcoholism has any number of short-term consequences, the most common of which is a hangover. When an alcoholic needs time to nurse a hangover, it can significantly disrupt their ability to honor important commitments. It can also result in unhealthy behaviors, such as poor diet and a lack of exercise.
  • Subjecting children to trauma – As a general rule, individuals who grew up in homes where a relative abused alcohol have a higher likelihood of experiencing emotional problems than those who grew up in sober homes. Also, they are four times more likely to abuse alcohol themselves.

Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services for Help

People who have no control over their drinking can harm their family in any number of ways. They may do this by causing fights, blowing through the family savings, or impairing their physical health. Furthermore, they damage the emotional health of their loved ones. Fortunately, there are valuable resources available in the recovery community.  There are treatment programs where addicts can learn the tools they need to live a healthy life free from alcohol.  At the same time, their families can find out how best to support their loved one while receiving counseling themselves. If you are facing a substance abuse problem that is having an adverse impact on your family, don’t hesitate to get the help you need. Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to discuss their alcohol rehab services with a professional addiction recovery counselor.

alcohol awareness month

Alcohol Awareness Month: How to Support a Loved One in Recovery

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. The experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services are encouraging you to take the opportunity to learn about alcohol abuse. Together, we can decrease the stigma people associate with alcoholism. The unfortunate truth is that many people are suffering from alcohol abuse or dependence. However, the shame and embarrassment prevent them from getting help. Sometimes they simply don’t know it’s available. There is also such a thing as functioning alcoholism. The alcoholic may successfully hide his problem from the people around him. If you or someone you know is engaging in problematic drinking, contact the addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.

What is Alcohol Awareness Month?

Alcohol Awareness Month brings a nationwide effort to increase awareness and understanding about the prevalence of alcohol abuse and dependence. It also makes us aware of treatment and recovery options that are available to alcoholics. Each April, communities across the country are encouraged to reach out to the public to help reduce the stigma we associate with alcoholism. We also strive to break down the barriers to substance abuse treatment. Doing this will increase the likelihood that individuals struggling with alcohol dependence will seek lasting recovery. Many family members have loved ones who are currently seeking treatment for alcoholism. Alcohol Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity to learn how to provide a strong support system throughout the recovery process.

Providing a Supportive Environment During Recovery

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. In fact, approximately 17.6 million people suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence. Several million more engage in binge drinking or another type of risky drinking that can lead to alcohol problems. Alcohol abuse or dependence can have an impact on all aspects of an individual’s life. It can adversely affect his career, his physical and emotional well-being, and his personal and social relationships. It’s easy to feel helpless when someone you care about has an uncontrollable urge to drink alcohol, so much so that it’s taking over his life. If you are wondering how to provide the best kind of support to a loved one in recovery, or if you believe you are living with a high functioning alcoholic, the following are five concrete ways to help:

  1. Learn as much as you can about alcohol dependence and recovery, including the physical, emotional, and behavioral components of the healing process.
  2. Encourage your loved one to stick with the full treatment program, even if he begins to feel better halfway through, to prevent relapse.
  3. Foster a safe and supportive sober environment in which your loved one can recover.
  4. Acknowledge and accept the fact that your loved one may make certain life changes after treatment, ones with which you may or may not agree.
  5. Make sure to take care of yourself too, throughout the recovery process. Don’t put all of your needs and feelings aside to focus on your loved one. Support groups and family therapy are valuable resources you may find help a great deal.

Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services for Help

An individual’s uncontrollable need for alcohol is what characterizes alcoholism. Because of this need, alcoholics can’t overcome their addiction problem without professional help. But with the right kind of support and treatment, many alcoholics can stop drinking and finally reclaim control of their lives. Once an alcoholic completes treatment, the support of his loved ones can help reduce the risk of relapse. If you know someone who is struggling with heavy drinking or binge drinking, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services to speak to a professional addiction recovery counselor.

Warning signs of alcoholism

The Warning Signs of Alcoholism: Do You Have a Drinking Problem

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 86.4 percent of individuals who are ages 18 or older drank alcohol at some point in their life. Alcohol is a common way that people socialize with their friends. They may also use alcohol to let off some steam or get their mind off of troubling situations. However, when drinking turns into a way to cope with life’s problems, alcoholism or alcohol abuse may become a part of that person’s life in the long run. Do you know someone who is exhibiting the warning signs of alcoholism? Or maybe it’s you who are displaying warning signs of alcoholism.

Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Alcoholism has many signs that are easily recognizable while others are a little harder to point out. Whether it is you or a loved one, the warning signs of alcoholism can be different for everybody. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Short-term memory loss
  • Mood swings
  • Drinking alone
  • Lying about how much they are drinking
  • Withdrawal symptoms when not consuming alcohol
  • Blackouts
  • Neglecting personal responsibilities
  • Making alcohol the center of their life
  • Using alcohol as a way to deal with stress
  • Isolating themselves from others
  • Strain in relationships
  • Higher tolerance
  • Shifts in people they hang out with
  • Not being able to quit drinking

Medical professionals may ask the potential alcoholic a series of questions to determine if they are indeed suffering from alcoholism. One way to accurately determine a diagnosis is by using the CAGE questionnaire. The exact questions are:

  1. “Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?”
  2. “Have people annoyed you by criticizing your drinking?”
  3. “Have you ever felt bad or guilty about your drinking?”
  4. “Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get over a hangover?”

If you answer “yes” to two or more of these questions, you may have an alcohol problem and need to get more help. Additional questions to ask yourself may be, “Have I ever been in a situation where I drank more than I initially wanted to?” or “Have I ever experienced alcohol withdrawal if I didn’t have any for a period?”

In fact, by being truly honest with yourself about your drinking habits, you will be better prepared to face your problem and reach long-term sobriety. Additionally, your relationships will improve, your health will improve, and your overall well-being will improve as a result.

What Should You Do if You Have a Drinking Problem?

First of all, when considering your treatment options, you must take your overall well-being into consideration. For instance, if you are interested in going to a treatment facility, make sure that you choose one that provides a holistic approach. A holistic approach is one that wants the person’s mind, body and spirit to become healthier.

Per Wickstrom

Per Wickstrom, the founder, and CEO of Best Drug Rehabilitation includes a nutritionist, fitness center, counseling services, and more into his facility. Moreover, he believes that this holistic approach is a more efficient way to long-term recovery from any addiction.

By learning skills that will help a person cope with their addiction, they will also be better equipped to handle life’s hardships in times of crisis. These skills will also decrease their chances of relapse since they will know the right way to handle stressful times instead of turning back to alcohol.

Also, different support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) allow you to meet other people going through the same things as you. Support groups will help you to cope with your alcoholism better and more efficiently by seeing what works for other people and what doesn’t.

In summary, by being honest with yourself, you can beat alcohol addiction!

celebrating recovery milestones

Celebrating Recovery Milestones: Does it Promote Sobriety in Alcoholics?

If you know someone in recovery, or if you’ve seen any movie featuring a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, you’re probably familiar with the idea of a “recovery milestone.” A recovery milestone is like a “sobriety anniversary” that renews a recovering addict’s motivation to stay sober. In Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), for example, different colored chips are used to commemorate significant milestones, such as one day, one month, or one year of sobriety. For some people, celebrating recovery milestones in the ongoing process of recovery is a positive way for them to hold themselves accountable and reflect on how far they’ve come on the path to sobriety. For others, it’s a validation of how hard they’ve worked to live a sober life.

Ways of Celebrating Recovery Milestones

Whether you’ve been sober for one week, six months, or ten years, celebrating recovery milestones that are relevant and meaningful to you is an important part of the healing process. Marking each milestone helps you gauge your progress in recovery, and celebrate the small victories along the way. Some people choose to acknowledge these milestones privately, either by only reflecting on the recovery process or setting new personal goals to keep themselves motivated. Others invite friends and loved ones to join in on the celebration, by having a picnic or attending a support group meeting. Celebrating recovery milestones acknowledges your personal accomplishments, and it’s also an act of hope, reaffirming the faith you have in yourself to reach the next milestone, and the next, and the next. Following are five sober ways of celebrating recovery milestones:

  1. Celebrate National Recovery Month in September.
  2. Participate in a local or national recovery event.
  3. Treat yourself to a new outfit, a weekend away, a new gadget, or something else that will motivate you to continue on the road to recovery.
  4. Start a recovery milestone tradition. It can be as small as writing a new entry in your journal, or as large as organizing an annual walk or run with your friends, family, or support group.
  5. Give back to your community and those who have helped you stay sober by volunteering, becoming a sponsor, or simply sharing your story with others in recovery.

Benefits of Celebrating Recovery Milestones

Some people recovering from alcoholism are reluctant to self-congratulate, even when they’ve reached a significant milestone because they worry they will fail to live up to their own expectations, and the expectations of others. However, celebrating a recovery milestone serves some valuable purposes. Even for addicts who have been sober for years, celebrating these sobriety anniversaries serves as a reminder of who they used to be, how far they’ve come on the road to sobriety, and how easy it is to stumble and fall back into old habits. Especially under circumstances where life becomes stressful or lonely or sad, circling back to your recovery and acknowledging all that you’ve accomplished can be a reminder that you’ve faced bigger challenges in the past and prevailed.

Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services for Help

Recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction is a big achievement, one that consists of much smaller, but still significant, accomplishments that deserve recognition. Whatever way you choose to celebrate your recovery milestones, keep in mind that recovery is an ongoing process, and with any significant challenge, like overcoming an addiction to drugs or alcohol, there will be bumps in the road along the way. Relapse, or a return to drug or alcohol use, is an unfortunate, but common, part of the recovery process, and while it can be frustrating and disappointing to fall back into old habits when you’ve been sober for a period, relapse isn’t the end of the road. Plenty of people healing after alcohol abuse who relapse still go on to meet their recovery goals. If you or someone you know is in need of alcohol addiction rehabilitation, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (877) 926-5530 to speak to a certified recovery counselor.

americans drinking alcohol

Are You One of The Americans Drinking Alcohol at Dangerously High Levels?

The opioid epidemic has garnered a great deal of public attention in recent years, with the number of overdose deaths rising rapidly throughout the 2000s. But according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2014 more people died from alcohol-induced causes than from overdoses of prescription painkillers and heroin combined.  The number of Americans drinking alcohol is escalating rapidly.

Philip J. Cook, a Duke University professor who studies alcohol consumption patterns and their effects, notes that per-capita alcohol consumption has been increasing since the late 1990s.

According to a research report posted by Science Daily, nearly 32 million American adults surveyed reported consuming more than double the number of drinks defined as “binge drinking” at least once in the past year. A report of the findings is online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Using alcohol does not necessarily equate to alcohol abuse, but it is easy to transition from a moderate drinker to a heavy one, and from there it’s a slippery slope downward.

Binge Drinking Defined

According to the CDC, excessive drinking includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any drinking by pregnant women or people younger than age 21.

Binge drinking, the most common form of excessive drinking, is defined as four or more drinks during a single occasion for women, five or more for men.

Heavy drinking is defined as consuming 8 or more drinks per week for women, 15 or more for men.

Most people who drink excessively are not alcoholics or alcohol dependent. However, there are significant risks to sustained alcohol use.

The National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) is a series of extensive epidemiologic surveys that examine alcohol use and its co-occurrence with drug use and related psychiatric conditions. The researchers reported an increasing number of survey respondents were binge drinking more frequently and at higher levels.

Side effects of alcohol abuse are deadly on their own, but extreme binge drinking was particularly prevalent among study participants who used other drugs.

“Drinking at such high levels can suppress areas of the brain that control basic life-support functions such as breathing and heart rate, thereby increasing one’s risk of death,” said senior author, Aaron White, Ph.D., Senior Scientific Advisor to the NIAAA Director. “The risk increases further if other sedative drugs, particularly opioids or benzodiazepines, are added to the mix.”

Long-Term Health Risks for American Drinking Alcohol

Long-term alcohol abuse can lead to the development of chronic diseases and other serious problems including:

  • High blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, and digestive issues.
  • Cancer of the breast, mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon.
  • Learning and memory problems, including dementia and poor school performance.
  • Mental health problems, including depression and anxiety.
  • Social problems, including lost productivity, family problems, and unemployment.
  • Alcohol dependence, or alcoholism.

Ending Abuse

For many, it’s a challenge to recognize excessive drinking. There is a problem if it causes trouble in one’s relationships, in school or at work, in social activities, or in how one thinks and feels. Specific warning signs include:

  • lying about or hiding your drinking
  • drinking to relax or feel better
  • “blacking out” regularly
  • being unable to stop once you start
  • drinking in dangerous situations
  • neglecting your responsibilities
  • having trouble in your relationships
  • being able to drink more than you used to
  • experiencing withdrawal
  • trying to quit but being unable to

According to Per Wickstrom, the successful founder of Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, “The ongoing battle against drug and alcohol abuse is a battle that will not be won in treatment centers alone. If we truly wish to make a difference, we must attack addiction where it begins.”

Increasing awareness is the first step to that goal.

children of an alcoholic parent

How Children of an Alcoholic Parent Have Lasting Emotional Effects

Throughout their childhood and adolescence, children look to their parents for cues on how to think, feel and act. For children of an alcoholic parent, the potential effects on their emotional well-being can be devastating. Parents who abuse drugs or alcohol put their children at a greater risk for future substance abuse. In addition, they also increase their risk of developing psychological problems and suffering from severe and potentially life-threatening medical conditions. If you or someone you know are struggling with a substance abuse problem, contact the addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.

Impact on Children of an Alcoholic Parent

According to the Children of Alcoholics Foundation, alcohol dependence is defined as the child’s perception that a parent drinks too much and that the parent’s drinking interferes with the child’s life in some way. It could be something as seemingly harmless as missing a school play or forgetting to pick the child up from school one day. Or, it could be something major, like subjecting the child to physical or emotional abuse while drinking. However the parent’s alcoholism manifests itself, the emotional impact of the alcohol abuse on the child can be far-reaching. Alcoholism interferes with parenting skills and marital relations. It possibly even affects adolescent development and adjustment.

Even more alarming than the emotional toll addiction can have on the children of an alcoholic parent, it is well-known that there is a genetic factor to alcoholism. What this means is the children of an alcoholic parent may be genetically predisposed to alcohol abuse. According to research, a child is nearly three times more likely to abuse alcohol if one parent is an alcoholic. Alarmingly, they are about five times more likely if both parents are alcoholics. So, while early intervention can prevent future addiction problems in children of an alcoholic parent, the mere fact that one or both parents are addicted to alcohol automatically increases the child’s risk of ending up on the same path.

Adverse Physical Effects of Alcoholism

There are many studies on the physical and emotional effects of alcohol abuse. The negative effects of alcoholism on a child may begin to manifest itself even before a child is born. This can happen in cases where an expectant mother drinks alcohol while pregnant. During childhood and adolescence, a parent’s alcohol abuse may adversely affect the child’s development and adjustment. Furthermore, if the child of an alcoholic develops an alcohol problem later in life, he may suffer from any number of medical conditions associated with alcoholism, including the following:

  • Damage to the peripheral and central nervous system
  • Cirrhosis of the liver
  • Hypertension
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Pneumonia
  • Tuberculosis
  • Cancer
  • Endocrine abnormalities

Many alcoholics also suffer from co-occurring emotional problems or psychiatric disorders, such as depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts or tendencies.

Contact the Addiction Recovery Experts at BRS Rehab

Although the emotional effect of living with a parent who is an alcoholic varies on a case-by-case basis, research shows that nearly all children from alcoholic families face an increased risk of behavioral and emotional difficulties. Many of these children carry with them psychological or physical scars as a result of parental addiction. The bottom line is that parental alcohol abuse damages and disrupts the lives of children and families across the country. Children of substance abusing parents are the ones who suffer the most. Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today if you or someone you love is abusing alcohol.

workplace substance abuse

Guide for Dealing with Workplace Stress Without Alcohol

It’s not uncommon for people with stressful jobs to decompress after a long day at work by enjoying a glass of wine or downing a strong cocktail, but when consuming alcohol becomes an individual’s primary means of dealing with workplace stress, the alcohol use becomes problematic. Unfortunately, substance abuse in the workplace is a common occurrence in society today, and because drinking at work is socially acceptable in many circumstances, few business executives with alcohol problems get the help they need. If you or a loved one is struggling with problematic alcohol abuse that seems to be related to workplace stress, contact the addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (877) 926-5530, to learn about the available treatment options.

Workplace Substance Abuse not Uncommon

Alcoholism in the workplace is a serious problem, one that has a negative impact on the individual with the drinking problem and on the company as a whole. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “Employees who drink heavily or who abuse or are dependent on alcohol can undermine a workforce’s overall health and productivity.” Even if the drinking is taking place at home, and not actually in the workplace, “[…] the specific problems created by alcohol or other drug use may include impaired performance of job-related tasks, accidents or injuries, poor attendance, high employee turnover, and increased health care costs.” The personal toll workplace substance abuse can take on the individual is even more alarming, and may include chronic health issues like high blood pressure, stroke, heart disease, liver disease, and cancer.

Healthy Ways to Deal with Job Stress

Work-related stress is a significant health and safety issue, and when employees begin abusing alcohol to deal with the stress they are facing on the job, the consequences can be devastating. Fortunately, there are rehab facilities with substance abuse recovery programs that deal specifically with job-related stress and problematic alcohol use, teaching recovering alcoholics how to deal with stress at work in a healthy and productive way. When recovering from alcoholism, an important part of the recovery process is finding a suitable replacement for alcohol. The following are healthy methods for dealing with workplace stress without turning to substance abuse:

  • Be active. Go for a hike, start up an exercise routine, begin your morning with a brisk walk or jog, any enjoyable physical activity that helps you burn through your stress.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. A lack of sleep can have a number of adverse physical and psychological effects. Investing in a solid eight hours of sleep at night will give your body the strength it needs to handle stress.
  • Talk to someone you trust. Sometimes figuring out how to handle a problem at work simply takes a conversation with someone who has your best interests at heart. Reach out to a friend or loved one for support, or find a local support group where you can express your feelings in a safe and caring environment.
  • Do something you love. The best way to fight stress is with pleasure. Set some time aside to read a book, take a cooking class, play an instrument or learn to draw. Devote time to your passion, and you’ll find the stress you’re facing at work begin to melt away.

The Experts at BRS Rehab Can Help

Learning how to manage alcoholism is the first step on the path to life-long sobriety, and once you’ve developed the skills you need to deal with work-related stress in a healthy and effective way, you can begin living a healthier, happier life in recovery. Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at our toll-free number to speak to a professional addiction recovery counselor about your workplace substance abuse problem.

Acupuncture for Alcohol Cravings

Can Acupuncture Reduce Alcohol Cravings?

Addiction is a complicated issue that often requires multiple strategies to treat. For someone seeking treatment for alcoholism, for example, it can be helpful to supplement a traditional substance abuse recovery program with one or more holistic rehabilitative techniques, and many recovering alcoholics have found acupuncture to be an effective method of achieving life-long sobriety. At rehab centers like Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, alternative therapies like acupuncture can be incorporated into the client’s individualized addiction treatment program, to create a personalized approach that addresses his or her unique recovery needs. For instance, using acupuncture for alcohol cravings dramatically reduces the patient’s desires for the substance.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a crucial component of traditional Chinese medicine, and the practice of acupuncture involves the insertion of thin metal needles into the skin at strategic points on the body, typically as a treatment for chronic pain and musculoskeletal problems. When used in the treatment of alcoholism or drug addiction, however, acupuncture targets just a few specific points on the body, typically the points that are connected to the lungs, kidney, and liver, three organs significantly affected by alcohol abuse. In some cases, alternative acupuncture points may be stimulated to achieve different results, for instance, in the treatment of those struggling with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders.

Acupuncture for Alcohol Cravings

Research has shown that acupuncture is a safe, affordable, and effective treatment method for substance abuse that can reduce cravings in alcohol- or drug-dependent individuals. In a 2000 study conducted by researchers at Yale University, it was reported that nearly 55% of cocaine addicts who underwent acupuncture tested negative in their last week of treatment, compared to only 23.5% of addicts who did not receive acupuncture treatment. In another study published in the Chinese Journal of Integrative Medicine in 2014, researchers studied the effect of acupuncture for alcohol cravings in patients with alcohol dependence and found that the acupuncture group experienced a significant reduction in cravings compared to the placebo group.

Cravings can pose a significant challenge for individuals undergoing treatment for a dependency on alcohol and acupuncture is one way recovering alcoholics can correct the underlying imbalance that triggers their addiction, thereby treating the addiction problem and any related emotional issues. According to the 2014 acupuncture study, by stimulating the Zhubin (KI9) point in the lower leg, which has traditionally “been used as an acupoint for detoxification,” rather than the popular auricular acupuncture points recognized by the National Acupuncture Detoxification Association (NADA), acupuncturists can effectively use acupuncture for alcohol cravings. By doing this, it reduces cravings in alcohol-dependent clients. As Pacific College of Oriental Medicine (PCOM) faculty member Donna Keefe says, when an addict is suffering from an imbalance, they begin abusing alcohol to self-medicate. By using acupuncture for alcohol cravings, it can “help patients get back to a ‘para-sympathetic’ state on their own, where they’re not in ‘fight or flight’ mode, but where they feel most like their true self.”

The Acupuncture Therapy Experts at BRS Can Help

Alcohol is the most commonly abused addictive substance in the United States, and according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, 17.6 million people (one in every 12 adults) struggle with alcohol abuse or dependence. Fortunately, Behavioral Rehabilitation Services has trained and certified acupuncture specialists on staff who understand and appreciate the benefits of acupuncture in the treatment of alcoholism, and who work hard to address the unique recovery needs of each client. If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol dependency or another severe addiction problem, call BRS today to discuss with a professional addiction recovery counselor the benefits of acupuncture therapy in substance abuse treatment.

man at his desk drinking at work

Drinking at Work: The Social Norms of Executives and Alcohol

Executives’ drinking at work is widely tolerated or accepted in today’s society.  One of the most familiar scenes you see in movies where successful business executives are portrayed is the scene where the exec returns to his office to pour some expensive whiskey or scotch from his drink cabinet, either to put a cap on a long day or to celebrate a victory at work. Sometimes the exec is alone, but in most cases, he is accompanied by a coworker, or even a client, an example of what was once a social norm for high-powered business executives – professional drinking at work. If you believe a loved one’s drinking at work has become a serious problem or alcohol addiction,  contact the substance abuse professionals at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to discuss some possible treatment options.

Is Drinking at Work Socially Acceptable?

Drinking at work used to be socially acceptable, and substance abuse was even romanticized in some ways during the 1980s, as illustrated in movies like The Wolf of Wall Street, with boozy business lunches and late-night meetings taking place over a few stiff drinks (or a few lines of cocaine, as is the case in 2013 film). However, with the growing rates of substance abuse and addiction across the United States and around the world, particularly among business executives and other high-earning professionals, businesses of all types are taking steps to eliminate professional drinking in the workplace.

In Ireland, for example, while the 1989 Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act made no mention of intoxicants, the 2005 Act that replaced it makes both “explicit and implicit references” to drinking at work, says Kieran Sludds, an occupational health manager at the Health and Safety Authority in Ireland, in an article published in the Irish Times. “There’s nothing in the Act that explicitly says the employer must manage intoxicants in the workplace. But it does say that the organization must manage the health and safety and welfare of employees and create a safe place to work.”

Drinking and Addiction Rates Among Business Execs

The implication here is that a workplace where employees are intoxicated is not a safe work environment, and more and more companies are instituting policies that allow employers to test their employees for intoxicants, particularly in “white-collar service industries and blue-collar jobs where there are health and safety issues,” says Richard Grogan of Richard Grogan and Associates Solicitors, which specializes in employment law. The culture of professional drinking at work has apparently changed, and companies around the world are changing with it. Says Grogan, “I would be of the view that it is legitimate for an employer to say to people: ‘Do not drink during the working day.’”

Not only are there legal ramifications to business executives drinking on the job – say the exec were to get behind the wheel after having a few drinks and end up involved in an accident – but there is the real threat of a business executive’s workplace drinking becoming a problem, one that lands him in rehab. Addiction rates among high-powered business executives are some of the highest in the country, due in large part to their disposable income and the toll working in a high-stress environment takes on their mental health. According to a 2015 Gallup poll, people who earn more than $75,000 per year drink more alcohol than any other economic group, and many business executives could even be classified as high-functioning alcoholics.

Contact the Addiction Recovery Experts at BRS Today

For many business executives struggling with addiction, their substance abuse began during a time when it was socially acceptable to drink at work, and now that the culture of professional drinking in the workplace has changed, they are left with a substance abuse disorder that will only bring them trouble at home and work. If you believe a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, and you want to know how you can help, contact the addiction recovery counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today.

man thinking about moderation or abstinence from alcohol

Using Moderation or Abstinence from Alcohol in Recovery

Moderation or abstinence from alcohol plays a significant role in a person’s long lasting recovery.  Alcoholism and drug abuse remain a serious problem in the United States, and because these types of addiction affect such a wide variety of individuals, those of all ages, career paths and socioeconomic levels, it can be difficult to identify one approach that promises to benefit all addicts. However, research has shown that abstinence, or the practice of restraining oneself from indulging in something, namely drugs or alcohol, is the safest and surest way to keep from repeating past harmful behaviors. The unfortunate truth is that nearly anyone can fall victim to substance abuse and addiction, regardless of how stable they seem and how much money they earn, even high-powered business executives, and, for problem drinkers or drug users, learning how to abstain from these behaviors is the best route to recovery.

Importance of Moderation or Abstinence from Alcohol

Research shows that people who earn more than $75,000 per year drink more alcohol than any other economic group, and people with high-salary positions are also more likely to abuse drugs, like cocaine or prescription medications, compared to those with lower-paying jobs. It may seem counterintuitive for powerful business executives and Wall Street financiers to make up the top categories of drinkers and drug abusers, when we tend to associate substance abuse and addiction with poverty and homelessness, but research shows that, because high-powered executives have the money to buy drugs or alcohol whenever they want, and have a certain sense of entitlement that goes along with earning a high salary, they are also at a greater risk for addiction.

What Causes Addiction?

In most cases, addiction occurs when an individual becomes curious about recreational substance abuse, either because he sees someone else using drugs, or because abusing illicit drugs, to him, is a means of escape. This is particularly the case for business executives expected to perform well in a challenging business environment. However, the addiction comes about, seeking help from a professional substance abuse counselor is the best way to overcome that addiction. As impossible as it may seem for the addict and their loved ones, recovery from chemical dependency is an attainable goal, and with the right substance abuse program, users can break the cycle of addiction and return to their lives as healthy and productive members of society. And at residential addiction recovery facilities like Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, the key to helping an addict overcome his chemical dependency is abstinence.

Abstinence vs. Moderation in Addiction Recovery

“Abstinence” is a word those of us familiar with addiction recovery have heard used about the voluntary act of refraining from consuming http://brsrehab.com/addiction/alcohol-addiction/alcohol or using drugs altogether, in spite of a strong desire to do so. Abstinence is an important concept in the philosophy of addiction recovery, and abstaining from alcohol and drugs is considered the most effective way for recovering addicts to maintain their sobriety. Another popular term in the world of addiction recovery is “moderation,” which is the exercise of self-control or restraint in consuming alcohol or using drugs, which some believe is an effective method of managing a substance abuse problem. In other words, by drinking “just the right amount” of alcohol, or using “just the right amount” of a drug, an addict can maintain the feeling of pleasure his addiction gives him, without causing himself any serious harm.

Compared to abstinence, moderation is simply not an effective method of managing an addiction problem, largely because it is nearly impossible for an addict to judge how much is the “perfect” amount to consume and because the very nature of an addiction problem is the inability to control one’s impulses. While it may seem like the easier approach for an addict to gradually wean himself off of alcohol or drugs, rather than stopping their use all at once, the innate inability of an addict to control the substance abuse impulse that tells him to drink or use drugs in spite of the harmful effects of these actions, means that attempting to moderate one’s alcohol intake or drug use is simply not good enough.  To learn more about moderation or abstinence from alcohol, call our toll-free number today.

High-functioning alcoholic

5 Signs of a High-Functioning Alcoholic

Do you know a high-functioning alcoholic? In many cases, it’s that person who seems to have it all– successful career, happy family and lots of friends – but in order to keep it together, abuses alcohol or binge drinks, all the while denying the fact that he has a problem, and successfully hiding the problem from the people around him. High-functioning alcoholics can go years without being confronted about having a problem with alcohol, and, in many cases, a pattern begins to develop where the alcoholic himself denies the abuse, and his friends and loved ones simply become used to the drinking. This is the point when getting professional help becomes a necessity.

What is a High-Functioning Alcoholic?

Most people think of alcoholics as people who drink too much and too often, and whose lives are falling apart as a result, but not all problem drinking fits that exact mold. Some people seem to be just fine when they abuse alcohol; they are responsible and productive, and they may even be wealthy or powerful. In some cases, it is the high-functioning alcoholic’s success that leads the people around him to overlook his drinking, but it’s still a problem. As Dr. Mark Willengring of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism puts it, “People can be dependent and not have abuse problems at all. They’re successful students. They’re good parents, good workers. They watch their weight. They go to the gym. Then they go home and have four martinis or two bottles of wine. Are they alcoholics? You bet.”

It’s no wonder that, when a high-functioning alcoholic finally suffers one or more consequences of his abusive behavior – a DUI, a failed marriage or even a fatal accident – the alcoholic’s friends and loved ones often respond with shock and dismay. High-functioning alcoholics are adept at hiding their behavior from others, which is the very nature of the problem, and they lead a double life of sorts: a public life where they are successful businessmen, entrepreneurs, doctors and lawyers, and a private life where they drink far more than what is considered acceptable social drinking.

Warning Signs of a High-Functioning Alcoholic

It can be tough to recognize that a person is a high-functioning alcoholic, especially if that person has a successful job, spends quality time with his family, is a good parent, has a healthy social life, and isn’t financially impacted by his abusive drinking. The alcoholic himself may justify his drinking by making excuses like, “I only drink expensive wine,” or “I haven’t suffered any serious consequences because of my drinking.” There are obvious red flags though when it comes to problem drinking, and the five most common warning signs of  high-functioning alcoholism are:

  1. They have three drinks to everyone else’s one drink, or they say they are only going to have a couple of drinks and end up drinking far more
  2. They exhibit physical signs of overindulgence (insomnia, stomach problems, shakiness in the morning)
  3. They have binge periods when they get extremely drunk, and may even black out
  4. They plan their day around drinking
  5. They go through periods of abstinence where they make it a point not to drink, during which they are anxious or irritable, and then go back to their usual pattern of drinking heavily and often.

Getting Treatment for Alcoholism

It’s important to remember that being an alcoholic isn’t the same thing as being a failure, and high-functioning alcoholics defy the stereotypical characterization of an alcoholic. In many cases, even the alcoholic himself doesn’t recognize that he has a problem until things finally come crashing down, which they eventually will, and may not realize that he is putting himself and others at risk when he abuses alcohol, no matter how well he disguises it. If you or someone you know is a high-functioning alcoholic, it may be time to get professional help. Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to discuss the treatment options available to high-functioning alcoholics.

Jamie’s Recovery Month Review

This Recovery Month, Jamie and BRS are celebrating his alcohol addiction recovery. At BRS, we celebrate recovery throughout September and beyond. For Jamie and his fellow addiction rehabilitation graduates, there is much to celebrate this Recovery Month. Jamie discusses this in his Recovery Month review.

Jamie arrived at our inpatient drug and alcohol rehab center after struggling with alcoholism (alcohol addiction) for nine years. His primary concerns included wanting to be a better, sober parent to his children. At Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, Jamie found that he has a life outside of alcohol abuse. The modernized facility, luxurious amenities, outdoor activities, and peace afforded at BRS empowered him to uncover his passion for reading and working out. Part of his recovery has been rediscovering himself and reconnecting with his passion for life. Before BRS, Jamie believed he was most and solely interested in being intoxicated. Together, Jamie and BRS identified treatment options and self-empowerment methods that have equipped Jamie with the tools he needs to maintain his sobriety from alcohol and drugs. He talks about this in his Recovery Month review.

In His Recovery Month Review, Jamie Tells How BRS Helped Change His Life.

Behavioral Rehabilitation Services’ modern facilities, luxurious amenities, professional staff and holistic approach to inpatient alcohol and drug addiction rehabilitation create the supportive, relaxing environment you need to rebuild the life you deserve. Sobriety doesn’t have to be hard. We can help.

An Excerpt of Jamie’s Behavioral Rehabilitation Services Review Video:

“Everyone here cares…And I think that that’s the main difference between this program and others: it’s on you. Even though they’re here to help and will try to do everything they can for you, you’ve gotta do it yourself.”

Take the first step on your addiction recovery journey. Contact us this Recovery Month, so you too can Celebrate Recovery with your Recovery Month review.

Learn More about SAMHSA and Addiction Recovery Month

young man having trouble overcoming alcohol addiction

Why Overcoming Alcohol Addiction is so Hard

Overcoming alcohol addiction is a difficult process that takes time and much effort. The road to sobriety is paved with many starts and stops. It is not unusual for a person to be sober for an extended period of time only to suffer from a relapse without a warning. People who have traveled this road know the agony of trying to manage sobriety after facing relapses. Relapses leave many addicts feeling hopeless and wondering why alcohol is so addictive.

Alcoholism is defined by The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse as a “progressive, incurable disease characterized by a loss of control over alcohol and other sedatives.” According to experts, alcoholism can not be overcome, it must be managed. Many addicts have to acknowledge that there is a possibility that they may never break free from the urges to consume alcohol.

Everyone Reacts Differently to Overcoming Alcohol Addiction

Addiction is a complex matter to understand because it affects each person in a different way. Some people may have a straight path to sobriety, while others endure a bumpy road. However, there are several factors that may explain alcohol’s addictive nature and the reasons it is so hard to beat.

External factors such as stress, pain, and depression cause people to consume alcohol in abnormal quantities. After a pattern of alcohol abuse is established, the brain begins to respond to the alcohol. The neurotransmitter, dopamine, is responsible for controlling pleasure in the body. When alcohol is consumed, dopamine is released throughout the body. This release sends a signal that a pleasurable experience is present.

The Biology of  Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol has the power to override normal brain functions that control impulses and make decisions. As alcohol releases a surge of dopamine, it also shuts down the part of the brain that is responsible for impulse control. The brain becomes overwhelmed with pleasurable feelings. As a result, it becomes desensitized to overconsumption.

If people drink excessively, their brains become incapable of detecting when they have consumed too much alcohol. This level of damage makes it difficult to overcome addiction.

Habitual Cues

There is a grain of truth to the saying “old habits die hard.” Part of the reason is the brain develops cues when we perform an action repeatedly. For example, a person may follow similar steps each time a glass of wine is prepared for consumption:

  • Put the glass on the table.
  • Unscrew the cap.
  • Pour the wine.
  • Put wine on the second shelf of the refrigerator.
  • Drink the wine.

Now that the person has habitually performed this task, the brain begins to connect each step of the wine preparation to alcohol consumption. This is known as associative conditioning.

Consequently, a person may see the second shelf of the refrigerator and get the urge to have a drink. If there is no wine on the shelf, the association is so powerful that the person will drive to the nearest liquor store to quench the desire. These strong connections occur because the brain has established habitual cues.  These cues are part of why overcoming alcohol addiction is so difficult.

Pressure from Social Occasions

Alcohol is a staple at most adult social gatherings. Most people do not ask the host “will alcohol be served?” They often ask “what type of alcohol will be served?” People naturally assume that any adult celebration will involve the consumption of alcohol.

Attending social gatherings as a recovering addict is especially difficult because the person’s brain has created habitual cues. These cues often connect social gatherings with alcohol consumption. Attending a wedding may become associated with an open bar. A New Year’s Eve celebration may become associated with the champagne toast. These social occasions may be too much for the addict to handle, and a relapse may occur.

Past Trauma

There may be a deeper issue that an addict is trying to suppress by consuming alcohol. The person is not ready to deal with the feelings that are associated with the traumatic event. If the deeper issue is not resolved, then the person will continue to abuse alcohol.

Genetics/Family History

According to worldwide alcohol statistics, the disturbing truth is 4 out of 9 children with alcoholic parents will become alcoholics at some point in their lives. These facts lend themselves to the debate of nature vs. nurture.

Are children destined to abuse alcohol because of genetics? Or are they more likely to succumb to alcohol abuse due to environmental factors? The cause may not be the issue, but the effect is increased alcoholism.

Although there have been studies that link genetics to alcoholism, many specialists have not definitively concluded that there is an alcohol gene. They have concluded that being raised in an alcoholic environment causes children to use alcohol to cope with problems as adults. After being immersed in a negative environment for many years, it becomes nearly impossible to release the addiction.  These individuals will also have a more difficult time overcoming alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Withdrawal

The body has a fit when it is deprived of a substance that it has grown accustomed to consuming. It goes through withdrawals because it is releasing the dependence on the substance. Alcohol withdrawals cause the addict to experience discomforts such as severe cravings, shaking, hallucinations, convulsions, and seizures. People will do almost anything to increase pleasure and avoid pain. During the withdrawal phase, many addicts often revert to drinking because the pain becomes unbearable. As a result, they quit the process before they are able to kick the habit.

Social Acceptance

Alcohol is the only drug that is publicly accepted and marketed in the media. In fact, it is so socially acceptable that friends encourage others to consume it. For the addict, this level of social acceptance enables them to mask the addiction. At parties, addicts are able to disguise the extent to which they indulge because other people are drinking with them.

The actions of inebriated family members are often applauded when others are recounting funny stories about their drunkenness. When an action is celebrated or accepted, there is very little motivation to quit.

The dynamics of addiction are so varied that all of them cannot be adequately addressed by one article. It is best for a person who is having trouble overcoming alcohol addiction to seek immediate medical attention.

when seniors abuse alcohol it presents unique problems

When Seniors Abuse Alcohol it Presents Unique Risks

Due to underlying health problems, when seniors abuse alcohol it presents unique risks.  Drinking problems in the elderly are often overlooked, underestimated and undertreated due to a common association of alcohol abuse and addiction with younger adults and teens. A 2008 survey found that approximately 40 percent of adults 65 and older consume alcohol on a regular basis. While there are health benefits associated with some alcoholic beverages in moderation, excessive drinking can compound seniors’ existing health problems and present unique risks if not addressed as soon as possible.

When Seniors Abuse Alcohol it Complicates Existing Health Problems

Age-related changes in metabolism can affect how certain medications work, presenting added health concerns when alcohol is involved. According to the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, seniors 65 and older not taking any medications can safely consume 2-3 drinks on any given day, but no more than seven drinks within a week. Seniors with serious health problems or certain conditions may not be able to safely drink at all. Frequent drinking or periods of heavy drinking can affect seniors who are struggling with:

  • High blood pressure and diabetes
  • Issues with heart and liver functioning
  • Memory problems (including dementia-related conditions like Alzheimer’s)
  • Osteoporosis and spine conditions

Why Seniors Sometimes Turn to Alcohol

Changes often taking place later in life can contribute to senior drinking problems. Grief from the loss of a spouse, for instance, can help feelings of isolation and loneliness that may lead to excessive drinking. Initiating treatment can be difficult when seniors abuse alcohol and problems may be overlooked when:

  • Healthcare providers or family caregivers mistake signs of alcoholism for symptoms of dementia or other conditions common among older adults.
  • Older adults hide their problem out of shame or embarrassment.
  • Family members and friends overlook signs of a problem by denying it exists or making excuses for their senior loved one.

Helping Seniors Identify a Problem

Regardless of age, treatment isn’t going to be successful if a person isn’t willing to admit that they have a problem. Loved ones can help by making an effort to express concerns in a non-judgmental way and identifying available sources of support such as nearby inpatient treatment facilities. Adverse effects of excessive alcohol consumption in seniors that can reference during such discussions include:

  • an increased risk of experiencing serious falls
  • a reduced ability to function independently
  • longer recovery times following illnesses or surgeries

Why Inpatient Treatment Makes Sense for Seniors

Also, when seniors abuse alcohol, it sometimes stems from underlying depression or problems that were never identified or treated earlier in life. Inpatient treatment for alcohol dependency allows for a more comprehensive recovery process to determine underlying issues. Inpatient programs often include:

  • Individual and group counseling
  • Follow-up support following initial treatment
  • Cognitive behavioral therapies (exploring the connection between thoughts/feelings and behaviors)

Self-treatment is rarely effective, especially since alcohol dependency affects chemicals in the brain that play a part in cravings. Seniors dealing with an addiction to alcohol face unique challenges. A long-term treatment plan that starts with an inpatient program specific to older adults can help seniors overcome such challenges – with the ultimate goal being meaningful and sustained recovery.  There are things you can do when seniors abuse alcohol that will help them get the help they need.