Alcohol Recovery

two clients at the beach during alcohol recovery treatment

While drinking alcohol is considered a socially-acceptable activity around the world, some people may find themselves drinking alcohol frequently or in large amounts. Alcohol addiction, also known as alcoholism, is the inability to control one’s alcohol consumption due to physical and psychological dependence. With an estimated 88,000 people dying annually, alcoholism is the third leading cause of death in the US. Thankfully, alcohol recovery is possible and adequate assistance is available. If you’re seeking alcohol addiction treatment help, please contact Transcend Recovery Community and see how our treatments can assist you.

What Is Alcohol Addiction Recovery?

Alcoholism, or alcohol addiction, falls under the umbrella of chronic diseases, meaning there is no cure and it is a long-standing progressive disease. Though there is currently no cure, there is still hope for long-term recovery. Many recovering alcoholics who have sought treatment for their addiction now live lives better than what they ever imagined for themselves. With proper support and consistent dedication to their recovery even after treatment, these people have managed to reintegrate into society successfully and are capable of living alcohol-free.

Does Transcend Provide Alcohol Addiction Treatment?

Transcend believes in a focused approach to helping clients overcome their alcoholism. Thanks to our partnership with The Heights Treatment, we offer comprehensive alcohol addiction treatment to those in need of assistance. We believe we need to address the underlying issues and trauma in order to help in achieving sobriety and maintaining sobriety. 

As alcoholism presents in a variety of forms, having an all-inclusive program is a necessity in addressing all of our client’s needs. As such, we utilize comprehensive and effective methods to help clients confront unresolved trauma, promote overall wellness, and encourage long-term sobriety. Additionally, we provide practical support in the essential areas of spirituality, community, life skills, and self-care.

Why Is Alcoholism Recovery So Challenging?

Recovery from alcoholism is one of the most difficult things a person can do, as there are no shortcuts during the process. Being considered a chronic illness, alcoholism can only be managed and not cured. Achieving and maintaining sobriety requires a constant level of work and dedication to one’s recovery. While some may believe they are healed after completing treatment, recovery from alcoholism requires significant longstanding lifestyle changes.

Many alcoholics have reported common problems faced when recovering from alcoholism. Some may be in denial of how significantly their drinking has affected their lives, while others feel grief due to the perceptive loss of something that provided a great sense of comfort. In addition, many people are fearful of being labeled an alcoholic, as there is uncertainty about how they may be perceived by other people.

Recovery from alcoholism ultimately requires complete retraining of the brain if a person is hoping to sustain long-term sobriety. With all of these factors at play, recovery can seem very daunting, even for those with adequate support.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Alcoholism?

The first step to alcohol treatment is acknowledging that there is a problem. There usually are indicators present that point to possible addiction. Alcoholics may experience a few or many of these. Common signs and symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • Drinking in private in an effort to hide it from others
  • Experiencing the symptoms of a hangover without drinking
  • Progressive distancing from close friends or family members to focus on drinking
  • Short-term memory loss or full blackouts
  • Making excuses to justify drinking
  • Using drinking as a coping mechanism
  • Prioritizing drinking over other responsibilities

When Should I Seek Alcohol Help?

Determining when one should seek treatment for alcohol addiction is at times, not the most straightforward task. Transcend is willing to evaluate all potential clients to decide if help is needed, and to map the way forward for recovery. Some questions to ask yourself to clarify your drinking patterns are as follows. If you have answered yes to any of these questions, it may be time to seek alcohol treatment.

  • Have your behaviors around alcohol ever resulted in legal issues?
  • Do you ever crave alcohol?
  • Has drinking alcohol resulted in decreased interest in other activities that you used to enjoy?
  • Have you ever found yourself drinking more than you intended to?
  • Have you ever experienced what could be described as withdrawal symptoms from alcohol?
  • Do you feel irritated if anyone criticizes your drinking?
  • Do you use alcohol as a tool to cope with uncomfortable feelings?

Types of Treatment for Alcoholism

As alcohol is a widely and socially acceptable drug in society, it can be one of the more challenging substances to identify as the source of a problem. Be that as it may, excellent treatment options do exist for those who find themselves having issues with alcohol. Transcend offers a safe and supportive environment to help clients learn how to manage their alcoholism and strengthen their chances of long-term recovery.

Inpatient and outpatient treatment are both options for those needing alcohol addiction treatment. Lasting anywhere from one month to one year, inpatient can assist those in dealing with withdrawal symptoms, as well as various emotional issues. Outpatient provides this same extent of care while allowing clients to live at home or in sober living. Both treatment options often include community-based support such as Alcoholics Anonymous and relapse prevention. Many alcoholics have reported that being surrounded by peers sharing a common experience creates a safe space for personal growth.

Are There Alcohol Treatment Centers Near Me?

Transcend offers extensive alcohol addiction treatment along with transitional housing and after care at our centers in Houston and Los Angeles. Our program is top-tier, as we value our clients’ holistic health and their chances for long-term recovery. If you or a loved one are suffering from alcoholism, we encourage you to call us to discuss how we can help.

Call the recovery specialists at Transcend today at 800-208-1211 or use our contact us form to see how joining the Transcend community can change your life.

Mental Health Month: Why Drinking While Depressed Leads Downhill

Depression & Drinking - Transcend Recovery Community

The great English poet G. K. Chesterton wrote: “drink because you are happy, but never because you are miserable.” More than just a saying, there is a profound and applicable truth to this, even in the modern day. Depression and drinking go hand in hand, and one makes the other worse. It’s a terrible relationship, one you would never want to entertain – and just as abusing alcohol can make you miserable, abusing alcohol because you’re miserable will only make both worse.

Alcohol is a common coping mechanism for the simple reason that it does, to a degree, make us happier. To be more precise, it makes people worry less. As an anti-anxiety drug of sorts, alcohol soothes the mind and calms the spirit – but at a cost. Not only is alcohol addictive, but it is poisonous. Too much at once, or over one’s life, will kill you.

And despite alcohol’s ability to make you forget for just a moment, nothing will have changed once you wake up. The way out of misery – the way out of depression – is by fighting through the pain and pushing against the problems. Therapy and treatment are in preparation of these two things – and drugs like alcohol will present you with setbacks in your depression, and other problems. Here’s why.

 

Alcohol And The Brain

Anyone who’s had more than a few drinks knows that alcohol clearly has a perceivable effect on the brain – one that does not take long at all to kick in. From slurred speech to difficulty thinking and slower reaction, the consensus between all drinkers is that it makes you slow – regardless of whether you are a happy drunk, a sad drunk, or an angry drunk. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions and reduces anxiety, with the specifics differing from person to person based on their history with alcohol, and their genetics.

Outside of the effects of a single binge drinking session, alcohol also leaves lasting effects on the brain – negative ones. Alcohol slowly eats away at the brain and at several of your organs, primarily your heart, liver, and kidneys. But in the brain, rapid and severe drinking will lead to memory loss, slowed cognition, and increased risk-taking – followed by problems with decision making, caused by a combination of nerve damage and grey matter damage.

 

Why Does Alcohol Worsen Depression?

This all goes hand in hand with mental health issues, as alcohol not only induces brain damage, but worsens the effects of depression by increasing feelings of guild and helplessness and presenting a risk of addiction.

The damage is long-lasting, but not permanent. Abstinence can give your body enough time to heal, but the process takes years. Just like the battle against alcoholism, improving your brain and organ health after excessive drinking takes time.

 

Finding The Motivation To Do Anything

Depression is more than occasional sadness. Sometimes, it is defined as the inability to feel joy or pleasure. To paint a picture, people struggling with depression are fighting an existential battle that, from an outsider’s perspective, is completely invisible. They struggle with thoughts of suicide, and some days, getting out of the bed can seem like an impossible task – let alone getting a change of clothes, taking a shower, or cleaning up.

There are ups and downs for everyone, but for people with clinical depression, the downs slip far below the limits of the chart, off the board, into unseen realms.

Telling someone with depression to simply feel better is asinine, but the ultimate goal of treatment and therapy is to make this very task possible. Fortunately there are treatments for depression available, including new depression treatment methods like TMS, that can help without feeling the need to drink due to depression. People with depression sometimes lack the motivation to do what most would consider the most basic things – and they feel all the worse for it. Friends or family may tell someone with depression to just do it – regardless of whether it means getting dressed, walking the dog, doing the dishes, or making coffee – and finding themselves unable to, the feeling of worthlessness grows, and the disease becomes crushingly difficult to shake off.

There are days when things are better, and the depression is not as dominating. Days when a person might wake up and have just enough energy to start the day.

These are the most important days, especially if your depression is coupled with a dangerous habit like drinking. When you wake up, make it a goal to immediately jump up and out of bed. Summon as much visceral vigor as possible to complete the most basic and fundamental task of the day – before your mind can find a way to talk you out of it. In most cases, depression manifests as a long list of self-defeating thoughts and voices – by starting the day quickly before the voices can take hold, you can get dressed as hurriedly as possible and get to the first task of the day.

That task should always be something therapeutic. Exercising, walking in sunshine, listening to music, or starting your day with a comedy podcast are all quick and easy ways to achieve an initial mental boost, right out of the gate. Choose something depending on how you feel that day and make it a morning ritual to infuse your day with a spark of joy.

With time, you can set up a more complex schedule, and draft some goals. It can start with something like completing two chores in one day, or folding laundry faster. It may be something like increasing the time you spend walking, finishing a project for one of your hobbies, completely reading a book, or progressing to a harder exercise. Accomplishing things – no matter how small they might seem – can feel like adding notches to your belt, as well as improving both your physical and mental health. There may be times when motivation is harder to come by – but in the long-term things will get better if you work at it, and get help for addition and mental help.

 

Addiction By The Numbers: What Alcoholism Costs You

Addiction Issues | Transcend R

Alcoholism is more than sitting back and enjoying a few beers on a Friday night. Like any addiction, it’s an emotionally and socially crippling disease that robs you of the freedom to drink in moderation, and instead forces you to drink or drown in pain. Alcoholism is one of the more dangerous addictions, because the alcohol is legal, widespread, often a big part of any social occasion, and can quickly kill.

Up to one in six Americans binge drink every week. While not immediately a sign of alcoholism, binge drinking presents a massive risk of alcohol poisoning, which can be painful and fatal. Up to a fourth of adults between the ages of 18 and 34 engage in the behavior, with twice as many men as women.

Yet alcoholism is more than binge drinking. If the average binge drinker consumes about seven drinks per binge, four times a month, that racks up to nearly $1,500 per year at an affordable cost of $4 per drink. And that’s only counting the binge drinking sessions, and not the rest of the year. Meanwhile, an alcoholic will often consume much more.

 

Doing The Math

The top ten percent of American drinkers – that is, the ten percent of the population that drink the most – consume on average 74 drinks per week. That’s more than ten drinks per day, a statistic about 24 million Americans contribute to.

At a cost of about $4.61 (the average bar cost of a beer in LA) per drink, that’s over $300 per week, and $16,780 per year. If the drink costs more, then that cost rises exponentially. For reference’s sake, you can buy a car with that. You can also buy yourself a house in certain neighborhoods. Finance the creation of two wells, providing clean fresh drinking water for over 600 people.

With over $16,000 you could pay for a month’s gym membership, over 330 times. You in a family of four could live off that money in groceries for about 70 weeks if you spend liberally. That’s over 16 months. Or, you could take a cruise ship around Europe, easily getting a family of four over the pond in just over $10,000.

You can easily check for yourself exactly how much you’re drinking, by monitoring yourself for a week and averaging it out. The amount of money you may be spending on alcohol might astound you – and while you’ll have to invest a lot of that money into recovery, the long-term savings are insane. If you drink an average of ten drinks a day at $4.50 per drink, or five at $9, then going sober for ten years will save you $163,800. That money could, over the course of your sobriety, go into home improvements, tuition fees, good and healthy food, gym memberships, memorable vacations, and much more.

Even with a more conservative cost of about $2.05 per drink, you’re still looking at nearly $7,500 per year at ten drinks a day.

But if you don’t quit, then your addiction will ruin you. Aside from costing a boatload over the course of an addict’s life, the cost of addiction is much more than just the cost of the booze itself.

 

More Than Just Alcohol

The money you lay down to support your alcoholism is only a small slice of the pie. Excessive alcohol consumption has costs that go way beyond the booze itself – with a total societal cost of $249 billion a year, nearly $82 billion of that are lost purely due to a loss of productivity caused by drinking.

In states with heavy drinking statistics like California, the hidden cost per drink to the nation and its people is $2.77. Multiply that by the drinks you’ve had this week, and you’ll know exactly how much your habit has cost the economy.

Going back to personal consequences, however, it’s not just the American economy that gets tanked by alcoholism, and addiction in general. It’s your finances, as well.

 

Healthcare Cost Of Alcoholism

Studies in the past have shown that heavy drinking leads to significantly higher healthcare costs, even when accounting for other factors. This is logical, as heavy drinking presents a great risk of hypertension, heart disease, liver disease, cancer, and brain damage.

Furthermore, alcoholism worsens the risk as it usually leads to progressively higher alcohol consumption, on top of the risk of alcohol poisoning and the medical costs associated with surviving and recovering from an ER situation after a binge.

To understand just how widespread the issue is, a quarter to 40 percent of all US general hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from the consequences of alcohol-related problems. Overall, the cost of health care due to excessive alcohol consumption is $28 billion a year.

 

The Cost Of Lost Time

Aside from money spent on healthcare and booze, you lose an incredibly amount of time drinking. It’s not just the act of having a drink and getting drunk. It’s the broken sleep schedules, the debilitating hangovers, the blackouts and frequent lapses in memory, the consequences of bad cognitive skill and decision making due to excessive alcohol consumption, and much more.

Like any addiction, alcoholism can steal a person away from their jobs, their families, and their lives. It can turn a wonderful person into someone disagreeable and incoherent. But it can be treated.

 

Life Without The Addiction

Aside from the thousands saved simply not drinking, quitting will also give you newfound time and energy, and give your body time to heal and recover, cutting your healthcare costs and hopefully massive improving your quality of life. You’ll feel stronger, you’ll feel better about yourself, and with the right support, you’ll have a chance to lead a meaningful and productive life full of adventures and memorable experiences without a single drop of alcohol.

The best part? It’s more than just make belief. You can get help – and you can get better. Addiction treatment and sober living has come a long way, and we understand more about alcoholism today than every before. While it isn’t easy, the path to long-term abstinence and successful sobriety is extremely rewarding.

 

Dealing With The Mental Effects Of Prolonged Addiction

Mental Effects Of Addiction | Transcend Recovery Community

It’s much more than a choice. Addiction can best be described as a mental illness or a brain disease, a powerful compulsion that pushes patients to seek out drugs even if they know it’s detrimental and carries heavy mental effects and consequences. Drug users will go out of their way for the next high, to the point of risking something like prison again – repeat offenders prove that even a correctional system as harsh as America’s isn’t an effective deterrent for many.

What does help, however, is treatment. But to understand why treatment helps, it’s important to understand what addiction does to you – and how mental illness and the mental effects of long-term addiction play into why it’s so hard to stay clean for many.

There’s more to addiction than the fact that you feel the urge to get high. Prolonged drug use can physically harm you and cause mental damage, and the financial consequences of addiction can be ruinous.

 

What Mental Effects Drugs Have On The Brain

Drugs interact with the brain in many ways, but most of them work on the same basic principle. The best way to simplify how drugs work is to think of them as impostors of existing crucial neurotransmitters, or brain chemicals. They hijack the receptors in your brain’s cells and act as certain neurotransmitters, transmitting specific signals throughout the brain to elicit feelings of joy and happiness, but also other reactions, such as weakened coordination and slowed movement, as with alcohol, or a numbing effect that reduces the body’s ability to feel pain, like opioids. Whichever one is used, the mental effects are always negative.

All drugs have something in common, and that is their addictiveness. From nicotine to heroin, drugs elicit a response in the brain that is unnatural – this effect causes the brain to adjust. Most drugs invoke mental effects that condition the brain towards further usage, to the point where you begin to crave a drug. But as you take it more often, its effects are also severely diminished, causing you to need to take more. The two effects go hand in hand, making addiction particularly dangerous as the risk of overdosing is built into the nature of the disease.

Over time, it becomes harder to quit. Not only do most drugs cause physical damage to the brain and other organs, making it harder to think rationally and fight against the addiction, but as the brain normalizes drug use, it becomes reliant on it. Suddenly quitting can elicit painful withdrawal symptoms – sometimes, these mental effects can be fatal.

Aside from these complications, perhaps the biggest deterrent to recovery is the fact that drug use actively diminishes a person’s ability to think clearly, make informed decisions, and be critical. Drug use is also seen as a very effective short-term coping mechanism, drawing in people with high levels of stress caused by work or mental illness. At other times, due to its very poor performance as a long-term coping mechanism, and the fact that it can be mentally and socially ruinous to get addicted, addiction also leads to mental health problems including depression due to the consequences of getting addicted. A person who experienced years of loss due to their alcoholism may find it harder to quit because of the emotional (and physical) pain they endure while sober because of their drinking.

The only way out is through. One of the harder truths about recovery is that the mental effects and emotional pain are something everyone must process and overcome if they want to stay sober and successfully abstain for the rest of their lives.

 

Addiction, Anxiety, And Depression

Research shows that people with mental health issues – particularly forms of anxiety and mood disorders like depression – struggle with addiction more often than the general population. This is because people with mental health issues often try to self-medicate to deal with their issues without seeking out help or treatment, either to avoid stigma or for other reasons.

In other cases, excessive drug use may lead to the development of depressive symptoms and a diagnosis of major depression, because of the mental effects of addiction and the events that followed.

 

Seeking Comprehensive Treatment

Addiction treatment and mental healthcare have come a long way. Even though we’re not the best in the world at tending to our mental health, we do have a great understanding of the detrimental effects of stress and emotional pain, and the correlation between addiction and mental illness.

That is why many addiction treatment facilities utilize the knowledge of in-house experts to recognize the mental effects of addiction and formulate a comprehensive treatment. There is no one-size-fits-all in addiction treatment or in mental healthcare. But a treatment plan that addresses both issues as one – and even tackles physical issues through proper diet and exercise – can achieve wonders.

 

The Importance Of Strong Support

Ultimately, a person’s sobriety is as strong as they are – but when your strength falters, it’s important to have people in your corner backing you up, ready to help you get back on your feet and back into the ring. Some wrestle with addiction much longer and much harder than others, but regardless of your story or your circumstances, having people who love you and want you to stay clean and healthy can make a world of difference. A solid support system will give you a shoulder to lean on, an ear to speak to, and a fresh perspective whenever you feel the negativity catching up with you.

It’s one thing to have people around you ready to help you stay clean, but it’s another to be willing to ask them for help at the right moment. It’s important to recognize when you’re slipping and get the help you need to stay on the straight and narrow.

Beyond your support system and immediate circle of friends and family, consider sanitizing your relationships and removing yourself from relationships that you feel hurt you, or pull you down. Sometimes we retain friendships from the old days before the treatment, hoping to help them as well, but some people won’t accept help and have to find their own way to recovery. Knowing when it’s time to move on is important both for staying sane, and for staying clean.

In the end, it is possible that you will be struggling with the aftermath of addiction for the rest of your life. But that doesn’t have to impede on your ability to lead a colorful, exciting, and awe-inspiring life. Once you’re clean and the reigns are in your hands, it’s all up to you.

 

10 Signs of Alcoholism

signs of alcoholism | Transcend Recovery Community

Recognizing alcoholism isn’t quite as easy as it sounds. Alcohol, unlike a lot of harder and illegal drugs, is a pervasive part of Western culture. Whether it’s enjoying a glass of wine, having a pint at the local bar with some friends, or enjoying some champagne for New Years and eggnog for Christmas, a little bit of booze here and there isn’t an uncommon sight at nearly any adult social gathering. That doesn’t mean there aren’t any obvious signs of alcoholism – and recognizing these signs can be the difference between helping a friend in need and finding your friend in the ER.

Please note that these are simply common signs of alcoholism, and they do not denote a definitive diagnosis of an addiction. It’s best to let an expert gather all the information before making an informed call, and even then, an addiction can’t be treated or even properly addressed until the person struggling with the problem acknowledges it to begin with.

However, knowing these 10 signs of alcoholism can help you not only identify if your friend needs help but if you might have a problem with your drinking habits. Alcoholism does not just target people with anxiety or depression issues, and neither is it a sign that things are going badly in your life. Some people just happen to slip down the slippery slope of addiction through a cascade of decisions, and getting back out of it before realizing how far you’ve fallen can be exceptionally tricky without some perspective.

Without further ado:

 

Signs Of Alcoholism: Hiding The Habit

The absolute biggest tell regarding alcoholism – or any addiction, for that matter – is when someone is hiding their behavior. This doesn’t strictly mean that they think they have a problem, though. It simply means they know that what they’re doing looks like an addiction – and they rationalize their behavior by telling themselves that they’re still in control of their actions and that they’re simply taking precautions to protect their reputation, rather than expose themselves as actual addicts.

This is because struggling with addiction is a serious stigma. That’s not exactly ground-breaking news, but it does make it harder for people to admit to themselves that something is wrong – because no one wants to acknowledge something’s gone wrong if they can’t help it.

If you’re finding yourself going through extreme measures to hide your drinking, or if you find someone sneaking alcohol into places they shouldn’t, and drinking at times they shouldn’t, then it’s the first major signs of alcoholism.

 

Unexplainable Mood Shifts

Addiction can quite dramatically mess with a person’s brain, and the constant influx of drugs – including alcohol – can change the way a person feels drastically, and affect their mood in both the short-term and long-term.

Alcohol is a drug that lowers a person’s inhibitions, cognition and anxiety. It quite literally makes you a little braver, by diminishing your risk management skills, decision making abilities and fears. This, however, can result in erratic, thoughtless behavior, including sudden aggression, sadness, inexplicable bursts of joy and anger. Excessive alcohol can increase depression and anxiety, too.

There are underlying triggers for most of these emotions, although sometimes, alcohol just simply causes mood swings that don’t have anything to do with being an exaggerated emotion of your own. Experiencing these mood shifts may be one of the signs of alcoholism.

 

You Feel Guilty

If you feel guilty about your drinking habits, then you’re likely well on your way to an alcoholic status, or have already reached that point. Guilt isn’t just a negative emotion – it’s the denial starting to crack under the pressure of reality, and it can be very painful as one of the signs of alcoholism.

Guilt is not something you’re meant to live with, but you are meant to overcome it – and if you feel guilty about how much or how often you’ve been drinking, then that is one of the good signs of alcoholism that show you should seriously consider getting help. You can try and quit on your own, but depending on how far your addiction has gone, getting help is the better option.

 

Drinking Despite The Consequences

Drinking alcohol, like most other mind-altering substances, has its consequences. Drinking a lot of alcohol is even worse, as the drug acts like a poison in the body, creating massive headaches and overwhelming feelings of nausea.

But beyond the physical consequences of alcohol consumption, the hardest consequences to deal with are the social, psychological and emotional ones. Excessive drinking can be expensive, can cost you entire relationships and friendships, and can even end your career.

If you’re starting to strain your relationships with those around you due to your excessive drinking and showing signs of alcoholism, you need help.

 

Escaping Any Situation Through Alcohol

Alcohol is not a constructive coping mechanism in the slightest. It does not effectively relieve stress, simply masking it, and it does not benefit your mind or body in the slightest way – the opposite, in fact.

On top of that, excessive drinking tends to make things worse when you need a little bit of an escape. If you absolutely need to unwind with some friends and have never had a problem with moderate drinking, that’s another matter – but if binge drinking is your answer to dealing with loss, grief, or frustration, then you’ll be doing no one any favors including yourself. The signs of alcoholism are there when you’re binge drinking away your feelings.

 

Requiring A Drink To Get Through The Day

If alcohol is your go-to brew in the morning, afternoon and before bedtime just to deal with your every day life, then you’ve got more than just signs of alcoholism to deal with.

Alcohol is not a problem solver, it only creates more problems. Relying on it to coast through a rough time in your life will make things worse – but by getting help, you won’t only find a way to deal with your new alcohol habit, but you can get the help you need to get your life back in order and address the major trigger of your addiction: stress.

 

Getting Aggressive And Defensive Over Your Drinking

Mood swings caused by drunkenness can often include aggression. When a person’s inhibition is lowered, this includes their natural inclination to avoid conflict. Getting blackout drunk means you probably won’t be able to think straight, and you can easily be provoked – or provoke others around you.

You might just wake up the next day with more than a little head throbbing. In the long-term, these signs of alcoholism and resulting altercations can cause more than just a few bruises.

 

Taking Unnecessary Risks All The Time

Risky behavior is a trademark of being drunk – but if you’re struggling with alcoholism, then the risky behavior will become a trademark of your life. And regardless of how lucky you get, repeatedly taking massive risks means it’ll just be a matter of time before you lose, and too often, the loss can be tragic.

 

Blacking Out Often

Excessive binge drinking of alcohol causes black outs, accompanied by a lack of memory regarding what happened just before the black out. This isn’t just a short-term drawback – not only are you going to be missing out on entire hours and days of your life if this becomes a regular occurrence, but the constant blacking out can affect your brain and your capacity to remember things in general.

All drugs carry long-term deleterious consequences, typically for the brain. Alcohol is no exception. If you find yourself losing your mental faculties quickly, then you need to seek help with one of the most dangerous signs of alcoholism.

 

You Can’t Stop (Physically or Emotionally)

The final straw for determining alcoholism is the ability to stop – or lack thereof. If you can’t stop, either due to severe withdrawal symptoms or an emotional need (or both), then addiction treatment becomes a necessity.

Alcoholism is a genuine issue in America, although things have been getting better. By continuing to support each other and our loved ones, and offering help to all those who need it, we can further reduce the deaths alcohol claims on a yearly basis, and help people find a better life in sobriety.

A Sober Spooktacular Halloween: 5 Alternatives To Drinking

A Sober Spooktacular Halloween: 5 Alternatives to Drinking | Transcend Recovery Community

You might think of Halloween as the first holiday of many for the months to come. And perhaps you have friends and family members who find Halloween to be the first drinking holiday of the season. However, if you’re in recovery or at least striving to stay sober, then drinking or drug use is something you want to avoid.

But what if you also want to join in on the fun? Halloween can be incredibly festive especially with the opportunity to be creative and dress up in a costume. And have you ever participated in the Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead? It too is colorful, celebratory, and creative. Both holidays are meant to honor those who have already passed on, perhaps friends and family members that we love. It’s a day of honoring the ancestors who now live in a world beyond our own.

If you want to enjoy the festivities, here are some alternatives to consider so that you don’t find yourself drinking.

Stay Home and Celebrate with Family

If you have sober friends and family members, invite them over for a sober celebration of Halloween. Put up your decorations and colorful Halloween designs. You might even get out the pictures of your relatives that are now deceased. Celebrate their lives, make it a night of honoring loved ones that have passed on.

Volunteer to Hand Out Candy (or Snacks) to Trick or Treaters

Often, social organizations will stay open and hand out something healthy to young trick or treaters. Instead of candy, they might give them stickers, snacks, or small toys. You can still dress up and enjoy the fun, but as a volunteer you’ll be doing something positive for your community.

Find a Sober Halloween Buddy and Enjoy the Fun Together

You’re probably not the only one who wants to stay sober. Have you met someone at a 12-step meeting? Or perhaps at one of your support groups?  The two of you can support each other’s sobriety on Halloween. Together, you might take a walk downtown or visit the mall to watch the fun, while holding each other accountable in sobriety.

Go to a 12-Steps Meeting

Some meetings might be celebrating Halloween too! All your sober buddies might also dress up and come to the meeting in costume! At the same time, other meetings might not be celebrating at all. This can be another way to treat holidays – as though they are just like any other day.

Do Something Fun That’s Non-Halloween Related

If you want to enjoy yourself on the holiday, sobriety doesn’t mean you have to take the fun out of life! But perhaps to keep it safe on Halloween, you might go out but avoid the parties. Maybe you’ll go to a movie, enjoy the show at a comedy club, or go roller skating.

These are suggestions for steering away from drinking and drug use on Halloween, or any other holiday for that matter. It’s important to have a plan, especially if you’re the type who wants to have your cake (fun), and eat it too (sobriety). Yes, you can have both! Think ahead of time about what you’re going to do, who you’re going with, and what you’re going to say if someone says, “Can I buy you a drink?” Your prepared answer might be, “I still enjoy having fun, but I no longer need to drink to enjoy myself!”

Alcoholism and Diabetes

Many experts have described addiction as an illness. Just like any chronic illness, addiction needs to be managed over time. It does not have a cure and therefore its symptoms need to be controlled. Addiction is also considered to be an illness because it can reoccur if a recovering addict is not careful. And like addiction, diabetes is an illness that can have severe effects on one’s health.

Diabetes is an illness in which the body does not have the ability to produce any or enough insulin which can cause elevated levels of glucose in the blood. If glucose levels get too high, it can severely impair other organs in the body. In addition to both being an illness, diabetes and alcohol addiction do have a direct relationship. For instance, a person who drink alcohol excessively may later develop diabetes and continuing to drink even after one has been diagnosed with diabetes can make the illness worse.

Regardless of the type of diabetes, alcohol can impair one’s healing and make one’s condition worse. There are three types of diabetes:

Type 1: A person with this illness is dependent upon insulin. Their pancreas is not making enough insulin and therefore a person needs to take the hormone insulin on a regular basis. This illness usually gets diagnosed when a person is still in their childhood and it requires the regular use of insulin shots or an insulin pump in order to control blood sugar levels.

Type 2: This type of diabetes is often diagnosed later in one’s life. Although the pancreas might have produced insulin earlier in one’s life, it now produces too little or the cells have become resistant to insulin. This type of diabetes is frequently the result of making too many poor choices regarding food and alcohol intake. Those with this type of diabetes take medication versus insulin shots.

Gestational Diabetes: This type of diabetes is temporary and usually experienced by women who are pregnant.

It is unlikely that alcohol addiction would cause type 1 diabetes. However, there is evidence that suggests that alcoholism can lead to type 2 diabetes. Among many health concerns that alcoholism causes (such as impotence, irregular menstrual cycles, stroke, confusion, and amnesia), alcoholism can also lead to pancreatitis. Furthermore, regular use of alcohol can contribute to glucose intolerance as well as obesity, which are both linked to type 2 diabetes.

If you are experiencing an addiction to alcohol and you’re concerned about developing diabetes, look for the following signs:

  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Frequent thirst
  • Passing excessive amounts of urine
  • Wounds that take a long time to heal
  • Recurrent infections
  • Often feeling hungry
  • Irritability
  • Frequent skin, gum, or bladder infections
  • Blurry vision

Of course, any of these symptoms alone may not be an indicator of diabetes. However, if you have two or more of these signs, contact a medical doctor right away. Furthermore, if you are using alcohol on a regular basis, contact a mental health provider for support.

 

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Alcohol Can Increase the Risk of Suicide

Alcohol Can Increase the Risk of Suicide | Transcend Recovery Community

It is often the case that men and women drink alcohol to escape pain. This might be physical pain in the body. However, frequently, it is emotional pain. People tend to turn to drinking when they are faced with fear, sadness, loss, anger, or the feelings of betrayal. Sometimes these feelings are the result of life challenges, such as financial worries or divorce. However, sometimes certain feelings are the result of an underlying mental illness. Someone might experience depression or anxiety or the mood swings that typically come with bipolar disorder. And mental illness, specifically depression, is commonly associated with suicidal thinking. This article will review the relationship between drinking alcohol to supposedly feel better and how drinking can actually increase the risk of suicide.

When someone turns to drinking alcohol, likely they are hoping to feel better. They are wishing for that alcoholic buzz and delirium that takes life’s problem away. However, there are dangers to drinking, especially when someone experiences suicidal thinking.

Here are some reasons why drinking alcohol can be risky when someone has a tendency for suicidal thoughts:

  • Alcohol can exacerbate what someone is actually already feeling. When someone is feeling bad, he or she could feel a lot worse afterwards. Of course, this deterioration of mood could further any thoughts or ideas about suicide.
  • Regular alcohol abuse can bring on depression in someone. Research indicates that about 40% of those who abuse alcohol also have depression.
  • Alcohol can create feelings of impulsivity. Someone is more likely to attempt suicide when drinking without thoughts about the future of one’s family or any other consequences.
  • Alcohol can also lower inhibitions in someone. If someone had been thinking about suicide but had been afraid to do so, alcohol might propel them to take their life. Many of those who die by suicide reveal that they had alcohol or other drugs in their system.
  • The addiction of alcohol frequently contributes to the deterioration of one’s life. Losing friends, family, career, and home can create a significant amount of stress for someone, further contributing to their suicidal intentions.
  • Alcohol can increase feelings of aggression, which can be exhibited by taking one’s own life.

According to research, about 21% of people who experience an alcohol addiction lose their life to suicide. If you or someone you know drinks alcohol regularly, the following are warning signs to look for regarding suicide:

  • Giving possessions away.
  • Long periods of low mood with hopelessness about the future.
  • Increase in the use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Withdrawing from friends and family.
  • An obsession with death.
  • Actively seeking tools to commit suicide.
  • Impulsivity.
  • Talking to friends and family as though they are never going to see them again.
  • Mood swings.
  • Expressing feeling of relief when thinking about suicide.

If you or someone you know regularly drinks alcohol and exhibits any of the following warning signs, you can save a life by calling for help. Contacting a physician or mental health provider can be just the right support to turn a life around.

 

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The Cycle of Violence in Relationships and Addiction

The Cycle of Violence in Relationships and Addiction | Transcend Recovery Community

Domestic violence tends to follow a pattern of abuse. If you’re not familiar with domestic violence, you might only see violence among two people happening from time to time or randomly. However, there is a clear cycle of violence that has been identified and that gets played out time and again. Typically, the cycle of violence involves four stages.  These phases are:

Tension building: During this initial phase, the relationship is experiencing increasing amounts of tension. There’s a breakdown in communication, fear is increasing, and the victim will do her best to appease the abuser.

Abuse: The tension explodes into an abusive incident in which there is anger, blame, rage that gets expressed through emotional, physical, or verbal abuse.

Reconciliation: The abuser apologizes for his actions, gives excuses, blames the victim, or claims that the abuse was not all that bad.

Calm: The abuse is forgotten and a honeymoon period begins again.

Domestic violence is a form of conflict that often exists between intimate partners. Often, there is an underlying fear that one partner uses to control the other. And there are many ways in which one partner can use fear to manipulate and control. This can include physical abuse, verbal abuse, sexual violence, coercion, financial control, abusing trust, and using intimidation.

Interestingly, regular alcohol abuse is one of the leading risk factors for intimate partner violence. In fact, research has shown that a battering incident that is coupled with alcohol abuse may be more severe and result in greater injury. Furthermore, domestic violence and drug and alcohol addiction frequently occur together, but no evidence suggests a casual relationship between substance abuse and domestic violence.

In a 2002 report, the Department of Justice found that 36% of victims in domestic violence programs also had substance abuse problems. Other research has found that the risk of violence between intimate partners increases when both partners are abuse alcohol and drugs. And, the U.S. Department of Justice found that 61% of domestic violence offenders also have substance abuse problems.

It’s important to know that substance abuse treatment does not “cure” abusive behavior.  Therefore, just because someone participates in an addiction treatment program does not mean that the domestic violence will end. Instead, one or both partners should attend programs that focus on healing the domestic violence. In such programs, participants learn about the cycle of abuse and how a violent relationship typically has one partner who uses fear to control the other partner.

Although there is a causal relationship between drug and alcohol use and domestic violence, combining treatments for each may make the other ineffective. Because of this, it’s important to get treatment for each of these separately. If you or someone you know is in a domestic violence relationship and if one or both of the partners struggle with an addiction, be sure to find treatment for the addiction and separately for the violent relationship.

To begin, contact a mental health professional in your area.

 

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Types of Medication for Treatment of Alcoholism

Types of Medication for Treatment of Alcoholism | Transcend Recovery Community

Many people who are severely addicted to alcohol cannot simply walk away from that addiction. The psychological and physical dependence is so strong that it requires a transitional drug to slowly facilitate sober living.

Furthermore, drinking heavily over a period of time will medical consequences that need tending to. The body will begin to deteriorate in a variety of ways. Long-term alcohol consumption can affect nearly every organ in the body, including the brain. Heavy drinking can affect coordination, thiamine deficiency, and other forms of poor nutrition. Alcoholism can lead to illnesses having to do with the heart, such as hypertension and an irregular heartbeat. It can also cause impotence, irregular menstrual cycles, pancreatitis, stroke, confusion, and amnesia. Alcoholism can also wreak havoc on the functioning of the brain.

For this reason, there are specific drugs that recovering alcoholics are prescribed in order to minimize the effects of withdrawal and help bring the body into balance. These federally approved treatment drugs help reduce the side effects of withdrawal and curb cravings which can lead to relapse. They are medications used not just for “detox”, but for long-term use in order to sustain sober living.

Naltrexone

Naltrexone is an opioid blocker that is also used as a way to medically treat alcoholism. There are some advantages and disadvantages to using Naltrexone. It does not have any addictive properties, which is a significant advantage over other medication for alcoholism. The drug blocks the parts of the brain that feel pleasure when one drinks alcohol. When these of the brain are blocked, there is less of a desire to drink alcohol because alcohol’s positive effects are minimized. Side effects to Naltrexone include nausea, headaches, constipation, dizziness, anxiety, and insomnia. Research shows that this drug has been effective in combination with the attendance to AA meetings, addiction counseling, and residential treatment. However, one problem is the lack of adherence to taking the drug daily.

Benzodiazepines

Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Valium, Ativan, and Klonopin, are commonly prescribed for anxiety. However, Benzodiazepines have also been very effective in treating alcohol withdrawal syndrome. The risk with Benzodiazepines, however, is that they are highly addictive and have severe withdrawal symptoms. Yet, if a recovering addict can take Benzodiazepines as prescribed, they usually don’t experience the risk of addiction and instead, the medication greatly facilitates their alcohol detox process. However, if an addiction does develop, the withdrawal process from Benzodiazepines can be severe.

Toprimate (also known as Topomax)

This drug is an anticonvulsant as well as a mood stabilizer, which helps reduce alcohol cravings. It works by reducing brain levels of dopamine, which is believed to create the pleasurable sensations caused by drinking). Side effects include numbness, tingling, nervousness, confusion, and difficulty concentrating. The drug has been noted to significantly decrease cravings and obsessive thoughts about drinking. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recently published a notice indicating that the use of Topomax by pregnant women can cause a cleft lip in their infants.

Campral

Campral blocks the receptor sites that cause craving for alcohol. It is safe, relatively free of side effects, and helpful for many individuals seeking sobriety. Campral helps reduce the urge to drink, but does not take the place of the psycho-social changes needed to accomplish recovery from alcohol dependency. Furthermore, studies show that both the use of Campral and Naloxone together can lead to better treatment outcomes.

Of course, the long-term effects of alcoholism can not only include physical impairments but also psychological effects. Heavy alcohol consumption not only affects the health of the body; it also affects the stability of the mind. Approximately, 10%-15% of those with alcoholism will attempt to take their life. Sadly, those who are successful in their suicide attempt tend to have positive alcohol levels in their blood stream.

Yet, when an individual can find within themselves the choice to stop drinking, the above medications along with counseling, family support, a sober living environment, and a network of support, putting an end to drinking is possible. Even with a long-term addiction to alcohol, living a sober life can be within reach.

 

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