Many individuals struggling with alcohol addiction decide to do an outpatient program (instead of a live-in inpatient treatment) to aid in their recovery. Although length and intensity can vary depending upon each individuals needs, many points of treatment remain the same.

Most outpatient treatment programs geared specifically for alcohol addiction include:

  • An expectation of abstinence from alcohol
  • An initial assessment to determine the needs of the client
  • Seminars and activities for alcohol treatment that the client is expected to attend in order to educate themselves about the science of addiction.
  • Goal setting and formation of an outpatient alcohol treatment plan while discussing one’s emotions and underlying conditions (such as depression or anxiety)
  • Rules about individual’s behavior while they attend outpatient treatment for alcohol abuse.  Breaking rules often means individuals are ejected from the outpatient program
  • A certain number of therapy session each week will be agreed upon
  • Clients are generally asked to divulge personal information in individual or group settings in regards to alcohol and themselves with other clients

Connections: Alcohol and Drug Dependence

As we’ve reported, people who either suffer from substance abuse issues or may be prone to them may find a connection between alcohol and drug dependence.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism, a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, “Alcohol and drug dependence often go hand in hand; research shows that people who are dependent on alcohol are much more likely than the general population to use drugs, and people with drug dependence are much more likely than the general population to drink alcohol.”

Indeed, the NIH statistics are eye-opening:

  • 15.3 million adults meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder*
  • Of those, 2.3 million adults meet the criteria for a drug use disorder*

Outpatient Alcohol Addiction Treatment: Pros & Cons

There are pros and cons when deciding between inpatient and outpatient treatment programs for alcohol addiction. And just as with most outpatient programs, outpatient alcohol treatment requires work to bring forth progress. However, if clients are ready and willing to work hard, the self examination and results of outpatient treatment for alcohol can be very rewarding and extremely life changing.

An intensive outpatient rehab program exists for one purpose:To help you get your life together without leaving it. A proper approach teaches individuals how to achieve and maintain long-term sobriety through essential coping skills, while still giving enough time to take care of responsibilities at home.

Participants learn these essential coping skills from a team of addiction treatment experts.

According to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation: “Addiction to alcohol or other drugs is considered a spectrum disorder, meaning the condition can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. Outpatient rehab programs work best for those with mild or moderate substance abuse symptoms. An inpatient program is a better fit for individuals on the more severe end of the spectrum as well as those with co-occurring disorders such as depression, anxiety or trauma.”

“Different levels of outpatient rehab are available so that you can transition progressively from more frequent and intensive therapy to less intensive therapy as you show an ability to manage your own recovery with less clinical support.”

One challenge to being in the general population, of course, can be understanding some of signals around drinking too much.

We’ve noted an immediate effect: alcohol acts as a depressant that can lower mood and trigger depressive feelings. “The inability of the body to fully process this much alcohol in the blood leads to far more than just intoxication. Binge drinking causes dizziness, loss of motor coordination, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, and loss of consciousness,” Alcohol.org, an American Addiction Center Resource site explains.

Alcohol’s effects over the long run on the nervous system can cause anxiety, agitation and further depression and extreme discomfort, often known as the “hangover” feeling. Sometimes, the effects become so uncomfortable, people turn to drinking again to temporarily alleviate the unpleasant symptoms. Ultimately, it can become a vicious cycle that can lead to serious addiction.

Alcohol Use Disorder

Medical News Today notes that “according to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM–5), 11 criteria help a professional decide if someone has an AUD [Alcohol Use Disorder]. If the person meets two of these criteria during a 12-month period, a doctor will consider they have the condition.”

Now a new study published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism identifies 5 types of alcohol use disorder that vary with age. The study is titled “Dynamic Features of Problematic Drinking: Alcohol Use Disorder Latent Classes Across Ages 18–64.”

The authors state: “Alcohol use disorders (AUDs) are linked with numerous severe detrimental outcomes. Evidence suggests that there is a typology of individuals with an AUD based on the symptoms they report. Scant research has identified how these groups may vary in prevalence by age, which could highlight aspects of problematic drinking behavior that are particularly salient at different ages. Our study aimed to (a) identify latent classes of drinkers with AUD that differ based on symptoms of AUD and (b) examine prevalences of latent classes by age.’

As Medical News Today notes, the study adds “even more nuance to the issue of problematic drinking.” The profiles, as the post outlines, can be useful for individuals who are considering treatment to understand. They include:

  • “‘Alcohol-induced injury’ characterized 25 percent of the participants. People with this profile engaged in risky behavior and got into dangerous situations that might have caused injury.”
  • “Highly problematic, low perceived life interference’ characterized 21 percent of the participants. This group said that their alcohol consumption did not have any adverse effect on their lives and did not affect their family, work, or social obligations, despite also reporting that they experienced many AUD symptoms.”
  • “The ‘Adverse effects only’ profile included 34 percent of the participants, who reported hangovers or alcohol withdrawal symptoms.”
  • “‘Difficulty cutting back’ was a profile prevalent among 13 percent of the participants. People in this category struggled or were unable to cut back on their drinking.”
  • “Highly problematic’ was the final category, which made up 7 percent of the total number of participants who had every symptom of AUD.”

Outpatient Rehab: What to Learn

As we highlight, among the topics individuals in intensive outpatient rehab will learn include:

  • Drug and Alcohol Relapse Prevention
  • Life Skills
  • How to Recognize, Confront and Handle Triggers
  • Health and Nutritional Study
  • Family and Relationship Education
  • Continuing Care
  • Anger Management/Domestic Violence
  • Relaxation and Meditation Skills
  • Phases of Recovery

See a fuller list here.

Bill Moving Forward to Fight Detox Deaths in Utah Jail

With the opioid crisis in full swing, many county jails across Utah are seeing more and more people detained while withdrawing from their addiction.  Legislators are working to pass a bill in which research would be implemented where alcohol and substance abuse withdrawals within county jails would be studied and the results would be reported and presented to the legislature to prevent deaths due to detox, also called “detox deaths.”.

KSL.com reported, “Madison Jensen had been fighting an opioid addiction when she died in the Duchesne County Jail from the effects of withdrawal in December 2016, Moss said. One nurse was criminally charged in the 21-year-old woman’s death, and Jensen’s father filed a federal lawsuit against Duchesne County.”  They further report that, “Jensen didn’t get any medical treatment and was found dead in her jail cell within four days after losing 17 pounds from the vomiting and diarrhea during her withdrawal.”

Most think that when their loved ones are sent to jail they are fairly safe and taken care of.  But jails are not treatment facilities and many addicted people are ended up in jail, especially with the opioid crisis.

In 2017 there were 24 deaths that occurred in county jails.  Finding solutions to this problem is key is preventing detox deaths.  Hopefully the bill will promote some great research and make changes to include treatment for addictions in jails to prevent detox deaths.

source: ksl.com

The Effects of Alcohol on the Body

Most of us tend to think of alcohol use affecting mainly the liver and the brain. However, recent research points to evidence that alcohol impacts and effects almost every organ and system in the body. Further, the effects can be temporary or permanent depending on the amount consumed and the frequency of consumption.

According to drugrehab.org, “Alcohol is ingested orally and travels through the esophagus to the stomach. Alcohol requires no digestion before it enters the bloodstream. If the stomach is empty, twenty percent of the alcohol is absorbed through the stomach walls into the bloodstream and begins to affect the brain within a minute. For this reason, many alcoholics prefer to drink on an empty stomach. Although the esophagus is only the tube through which an alcoholic drink passes on its way to the stomach, half of oral, esophageal cancers and laryngeal cancers are related to regular drinking. The remaining alcohol makes its way to the small intestine where it is also readily absorbed” (http://www.drugrehab.org/alcohol-rehab/alcohol-effects/).

Those who drink on a regular basis are doing even more damage to their bodies. Gastritis, a condition that irritates the stomach lining tissues, can occur as well as reflux, ulcers, and erosion of the stomach wall. Malnutrition can present due to damage to the small intestine absorption mechanisms from regular alcohol intake. If individuals drink regularly over long periods of time, other conditions such as hepatitis, inflammation of the liver, and/or development of a fatty liver can occur. Ultimately, cirrhosis, defined as irreversible damage to the liver manifested in permanent scaring and decreased function, occurs from long-term regular drinking. Blood cells are also damaged making alcoholics more infection prone due to white blood cell abnormalities.

Mental function is also impaired with alcohol intake. First, drinkers may feel euphoric and calm. Then, judgement may become impaired which often leads to drinking more than intended. Memories can be lost, vision blurred, and coordination impaired with more alcohol. Last, even more alcohol intake can lead to confusion, stupor, coma, and even death from intoxication.

Although some damage from alcohol intake may never be repaired, abstinence can definitely heal many affected parts of the body. Generally, when alcoholism is present, medically supervised rehab is recommend. Getting enough vitamins and rest is necessary to repair the damage that has occurred. Sobriety can be achieved through this type of supervision, along with counseling and other support systems. Mental functioning can also be improved and regained with sobriety assuming that permanent brain damage hasn’t occurred. Outpatient therapy can help with lasting mental or cognitive impairment and is generally necessary to combat the effects of alcohol, on the body.

Binge DrinkerAre You a Binge Drinker?

Recent research from the University of Alabama at Birmingham estimates that 1,825 college students ages 18-24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries like car accidents, about 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for an alcohol use disorder, and 1 in 4 college students report academic consequences from drinking. So binge drinking is a college kid problem right? Everybody grows out of it right? Research says, “not so.” Although most people associate binge drinking with college age individuals, it isn’t exclusive to young adults.   In fact, a recent CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) report suggests that over 38 million adults binge drink an average of four times a month. The report also indicated that those who make more than $75,000 and those over 65 years of age are more apt to binge drink (not your typical college kid). If you’re wondering if you or someone you love is caught in a dangerous cycle of binge drinking, look for the following 6 signs:

  1. Overall, the individual takes more risks than they use to
  2. Larger quantities of alcohol are consumed more often than before
  3. They can’t to stop drinking at a “predecided limit”
  4. They black out after drinking
  5. They’ve becoming more negligent or lazy recently
  6. Their close friends and/or family are concerned

alcoholandPromAlcohol and Prom Night

As prom season begins, many parents start to worry about the safety of their children on this special, coming-of-age evening. Most kids attend the prom but end up leaving the dance at some point to head to another gathering with their date. The prom doesn’t end with the dance at the school, as it did years ago. And many of the after prom parties involve alcohol.

If you ask teens, over 90% of them will tell you that their friends will drink and drive on prom night. Research shows that of this 90%, over 50% of these teens will have had four or more drinks on prom night. In fact, drinking and driving on prom night has been shown to contribute to the over 5,000 teens each year that die from underage drinking.

Alternatively, there are other options besides drinking alcohol on prom night. In fact, there are lots of schools that sponsor their own “after party” – hoping to lure teens away form parties where there is alcohol. Some schools have a booth set up the week of prom where students can pledge to stay sober and stay away from alcohol for the duration of prom week.

Most importantly, parents play a huge role in helping their kids stay away from alcohol on prom night. Knowing where your teen is headed, who they are with, expecting them to check in and be home at certain times, and being involved with the dance in any way can lessen the likelihood of the combination of alcohol and prom night.

 

LowerBloodAlcoholandDrivingLower Legal Limit on Blood Alcohol Content (BAC)

This month the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended that states across the country drop the legal BAC (blood alcohol content) levels from 0.08 to 0.05 — “or even lower” — in an effort to discourage more people from driving while intoxicated in 2016. CNN.com reported that the NTSB tweeted “Safety is a journey, not a destination. Reducing BAC limit to .05 is one of many steps to end substance impairment in transportation.”

Although the NTSB hopes that by lowering the legal BAC limit, the number of fatal car accidents due to drunk driving will decrease, many individuals don’t think moving to 0.05 will do much good. The rational for the difference in the BAC was explained by NTSB Vice Chairwoman Bella Dinh-Zarr. She thinks going to a 0.05 BAC limit would save lives, citing studies from other countries where it’s been implemented and believes lowering the bar for what counts as legally drunk is one of the many things can be done to combat drunken driving.

Of course, there is support for and against the proposal to lower the legal limit on BAC. Many organizations believe that lowering the legal BAC limit will discourage people from drinking too much, or driving after drinking at all. Other groups believe sobriety checks or ignition locks are the way to approach the problem. Although the NTSB tried to lower the legal BAC level last year, they have not yet been able to implement anything.

source: CNN.com

pregnancyandalcohol10 Percent of Pregnant Women Drink Alcohol

Pregnant women between 18 and 44 years of age were surveyed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and ten percent reported drinking alcohol while pregnant. Using the CDC’s Behavior Risk Factor Surveillance System, an even more alarming statistic was uncovered: 3.1 percent of pregnant women are participating in binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as consuming more than four alcohol beverages in a two hour time frame. Further, the pregnant women who binge drank during pregnancy reported that they did so around four to five times per month. This is a shocking fact because most non-pregnant woman who binge drink usually do so around just three times per month.

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is dangerous for the mother and the baby. It can lead to fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, which sadly affects between two and five percent of children. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder can manifest behaviorally, physically or mentally in children. Drinking alcohol can also lead to bird defects, miscarriage and premature birth.

Ongoing research is examining why pregnant women are more prone to binge drinking and what can be done to put a stop to it.

Close-up portrait of a masculine guyAppearances and Drugs and Alcohol

Although many people believe that taking drugs and/or drinking alcohol will only have an impact on the inside of their body, these substances greatly affect one’s outward appearance as well. Alcohol and drugs most certainly affect internal organs, but drinking excessively or taking drugs too often or in higher quantities can take a toll on one’s skin, teeth, hair, and weight.

First off, alcohol is filled with calories. In fact, just one can of beer or one glass of wine is equivalent to eating a buttered dinner roll. Interestingly, studies show that having too much to drink can lead to an increase in caloric intake. Surveys show that binge drinking caused people to eat about 6,000 extra calories. Everyone has heard the expression “beer belly” and it comes from eating and drinking all of these extra calories. Further, alcohol can affect your outward appearance in that it can cause broken capillaries in one’s eyes due to dilating blood vessels, and dry skin from dehydration. The effects on appearance of dehydration from alcohol intake don’t stop there: dehydration from alcohol can leave you with brittle hair and nails and cause premature aging to your skin.

Another substance that causes weight gain is marijuana since it makes people feel hungry. When individuals feel hunger, they tend to eat, and even overeat when they would not be feeling hungry if they had not ingested marijuana. Alternatively, heroin suppresses one’s appetite, leading, in some cases, to grossly extreme weight loss. Also, heroin can cause visible track marks, sores, acne, premature aging, and blue skin and nails due to low blood pressure from taking the drug.

Similar to heroin, cocaine can also leave visible sores. In fact, symptoms such as a sunken face or a collapsed nose from snorting the drug show that cocaine is a substance that can have a very drastic impact on one’s appearance.

Last, but definitely not least, is meth. Meth ravages one’s appearance in many ways. It can cause weight loss, tooth decay, sores and premature aging.

Drugs and alcohol never leave the user feeling better or more beautiful than before, which is another reason to avoid them all together.

 

youtubevideosdrinkingDrinking seems funny on YouTube

The Internet is flooded with comical videos, many on YouTube of people drinking alcohol. During these quick clips, one will often hear laughing, snickering, and talking about the funny or dumb things that the person on camera in engaging in while drunk. The focus of all of these videos is humor – many of the videos show individuals doing not just funny, but dangerous things — while their friends are heard laughing and joking in the background. However, what’s missing from YouTube or from these videos is the very dark side of drinking alcohol, including drunk driving, or alcohol abuse.

In a study by Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, researchers watched YouTube videos that had been viewed at a high volume. They searched words such as buzzed, tipsy, trashed, drunk, hammered and found 70 of the most popular videos with a combined viewing total of over 330 million views. Interestingly, the researchers found that 70 percent of the videos were comical in nature and 24 percent of the YouTube videos showed actual intoxicated drunken alcohol use. However, although 86 percent of the videos showed intoxicated drunken alcohol abuse, only 7 percent actually discussed alcoholism.

It is important to realize that these YouTube and other videos are potentially influencing young viewers to believe that drinking excessive amounts of alcohol in order to be ‘funny’ and ‘comical’ to others is fun and accepted. However, young viewers lack the maturity to know that while being ‘comically’ drunk is acceptable and seems harmless, actions that occur while under the influence of drinking alcohol are no laughing matter. It seems that it would be helpful if more videos about the dangers of alcohol abuse would be posted and young fans may realize more that alcohol abuse that seems funny can soon turn into trouble. Hopefully, this prevention tactic could allow young viewers to see that drinking seems funny on YouTube, but can be equally as dangerous as it is comical.

Sources: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, youtube.com

Mother Cuddling Newborn Baby In Bed At HomeWomen and Alcohol

Some recent statistics show that more and more women are struggling with alcohol related issues. Many think of alcohol abuse as a more dominantly male struggle, but alcohol abuse in women seems to be on the rise. In fact, a recent analysis of national surveys shows that 47 percent of white women were regular drinkers in 2002, up from 37 percent a decade earlier. Among black women, the rate rose from 21 percent to 30 percent; among Hispanic women, from 24 percent to 32 percent. In a recent survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) more than 5 percent of women in the United States have alcohol use disorders. Interestingly, the gap overall between women and men who have alcohol problems seems to be narrowing.

So, what has caused the shift? First of all, alcohol is more available and more affordable than it used to be and advertisers are more sophisticated in their marketing ploys, marketing alcohol pops and berry flavored vodka to women. Promises.com reports that, “A large research study of women born after World War II conducted by the University of Washington, led researchers to conclude that cultural changes paved the way for the increase in the number of women with alcohol dependence. These changes included: drinking became more socially acceptable for women, women entered the workforce in greater numbers, more women attended college, gender stereotypes were less restricting on women, and purchasing power of women increased.”

Although some of their reasons are the same (such as stress, anxiety, overcoming inhibitions, or relaxing), women tend to drink for different reasons than men do. According to a book titled “Women Under the Influence,” as well as 10 years of research conducted by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University (funded by Bristol-Myers Squibb and published in 2006 by The Johns Hopkins University Press) the reasons for women drinking alcohol are interesting. These include:

  • Women in substance abuse treatment are five times more likely than men (69 percent vs. 12 percent) to have been sexually abused as children. And girls are more likely than men to suffer eating disorders. Both sexual abuse and eating disorders are seen as contributing factors for substance abuse.
  • Women, more than men, said they started drinking heavily following a crisis, such as divorce, unemployment, miscarriage or a child leaving home.
  • Older women are more likely than men to self-medicate with alcohol and/or prescription drugs to deal with the loss of a spouse, financial difficulties or loneliness.”

Further, drunk driving arrests are on the rise among women as are emergency room visits for alcohol-related accidents. Binge drinking is also on the rise for women. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 percent of women between 45 and 64 say they binge drink; and so do 3 percent of those over 65. Many treatment programs are gender specific which is helping to treat this issue differently for women vs. men. Hopefully an increase in gender focused treatment can help to reduce the rate at which women and alcohol abuse is climbing.

Sources: niaaa.nih.gov, promises.com

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