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.

Alcohol Hits Harder with Age

When a person is young, their bodies can more easily face the unhealthy effects of alcohol. There are times of course when a teen or young adult might drink excessive amounts of alcohol and suffer from alcohol poisoning. But for the most part, young people can handle the unhealthy ways that alcohol affects the body. As one gets older, however, the body handles alcohol differently, and this may be important for anyone over 65 years of age to remember.

The pressures to drink don’t stop with adolescence. There can be pressure to have a drink in your hand at business meetings, parties, and during retirement. According to U.S. News, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognized a growing problem with alcohol abuse among those over 65 years of age. It’s an “invisible epidemic” SAMHSA called it.

One of the biggest problems is that because alcohol impairs the body in more significant ways with age, drinking can bring more serious consequences. Aging can lower a person’s body tolerance to alcohol. This can mean that older adults feel the effects of alcohol more quickly than when they were younger. And this can create incredible risks for an elderly person to experience falls, car accidents, and other forms of accidental harm.

To make matters worse, there are more and more people aging with the baby boomer population. For instance, the 65-and-older population is estimated to be at about 83 million people by the year 2050. And in 4 years – by the year 2020 – the baby boomers will help double the rate of those over the age of 50 who have an addiction, raising it from 2.8 million in 2006 to 5.7 million in 2020. Furthermore, the resources for providing treatment for addiction, especially among the elderly, will have to expand in order to meet the projected needs of those addicted to alcohol and drugs.

And when it comes to those over 65 years of age, it’s  not only treating addiction, but it’s also treating the illnesses that come with addiction – or that have been made worse because of alcohol use. For instance, drinking alcohol for a long period of time in one’s life 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. Other illness associated with chronic drinking include:

  • Cancer
  • Cirrhosis
  • Dementia
  • Depression
  • Seizures
  • Gout
  • High blood Pressure
  • Nerve Damage

Furthermore, because many elderly men and women already have health concerns, they may be taking medication and undergoing forms of medical treatment. The mixture of medication and alcohol can also be a concern. In fact, it can create internal bleeding and heart problems, among other risks.

If you or someone you know is over the age of 65 and drinking alcohol on a regular basis, seek professional help. Without alcohol, those in the latter part of life can think clearly, experience less health problems, and have more energy. If you’re drinking, speak to your doctor or mental health professional for assistance.


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Alcohol Is a Poison That the Body Works Hard to Eliminate

For some, it might be hard to realize that alcohol is actually a toxic chemical. Sure, it can make a party more lively and it can bring out the social side of people, but at what cost? The body is severely affected by the continued use of alcohol, and it’s important that the general public know this.

Essentially, there are two toxins in alcohol that the body needs to work hard to eliminate. These are acetaldehyde and acetic acid. Acetaldehyde is a colorless liquid created by oxidizing ethanol. And alcohol is a colorless, flammable liquid that comes in various forms. However, the form that is used in beverages such as wine, beer, and liquor is known as ethyl alcohol. It is produced through the fermentation of grains and fruits, which happens when yeast acts upon certain ingredients in food and creates alcohol. Beer and wine are drinks that are fermented and can contain anywhere from 2% to 20% alcohol. And other drinks that are distilled, such as liquor, can contain anywhere from 40% to 50% of alcohol.

No matter the type of alcoholic drink, however, alcohol is dangerous to the body. The liver does the majority of the hard work in processing alcohol and removing it from our system. However, about 10% of alcohol is also eliminated through our breath, sweat, and urine. Whatever is left in the body will slowly be eliminated over the next 7-12 hours following drinking.

Although the liver does the hardest work in eliminating toxins, alcohol use impacts all the other major organs as well. In fact, the head scientist of a study on alcoholism reported the following: “Clearly alcohol abuse can compromise the structure and functionality of several human organs, thus directly increasing the risk of death,” The study mentioned here also revealed that alcoholics may be more at risk for certain types of cancers. This study and other research studies have found that alcoholism can contribute to the following health problems:

  • Hypertension
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Impotence
  • Irregular menstrual cycles
  • Pancreatitis
  • Stroke
  • Confusion
  • Amnesia
  • Cirrhosis
  • Dementia
  • Seizures
  • Gout
  • High blood pressure
  • Nerve damage
  • Night sweats

Furthermore, regular use of alcohol can contribute to glucose intolerance as well as obesity, which are both linked to Type II diabetes.

It should be noted that most countries have a guideline for alcohol use for men and women, For instance, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse, men should avoid drinking no more than 4 drinks in a day or no more than 14 drinks per week.  Women should avoid drinking no more than 3 drinks in a day or no more than 7 drinks per week. However, these guidelines are put into place to minimize the damage that alcohol already has on people’s health and well being.

It goes without saying that alcohol also contributes to crime, deadly car accidents, and other forms of substance use. It can also play a role in suicide attempts and one’s overall psychological health.

If you or someone you know is regularly drinking alcohol, consider the above health risks. If you feel you need support in bringing your drinking to an end, contact a mental health provider today.


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Marijuana vs. Alcohol: Which Is Safer?

Thousands of men and women use marijuana every day, despite it being an illegal drug in most states. On the other hand, alcohol is legal to purchase and consume, sending the message that it is safer – at least in moderation. However, when comparing the two, research indicates that alcohol may be the more dangerous drug.

According to a paper published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, British researchers David Nutt and Ruth Weissenborn explored the many effects of marijuana and alcohol in England. Their study found that alcohol was twice as more harmful as marijuana among those who smoked marijuana regularly. And alcohol was five times more harmful as marijuana among those who did not smoke marijuana. In these cases, the researchers explored the way that alcohol can contribute to domestic violence, child abuse, and traffic accidents more so than marijuana.

Furthermore, in an article published in the American Scientist, psychologist Robert Gable detailed the results of his 10-year long study of toxic recreational drugs. In the article, he ranked the most common 19 substances by how likely they are to kill a person. Alcohol ranked at number 7, while marijuana ranked last at 19. (Heroin ranked at number one on his list.)

Certainly, recreational drugs have been used for centuries to alter one’s consciousness. However, it is the relationship with the substance that matters. If a person is using alcohol, or any substance, in moderation, he or she may not experience its ill effects. However, it is when use becomes excessive or dependent that a problem begins. Another point to consider is that even though a particular substance may be used in moderation, long-term use of a drug can also produce certain effects.

Even long-term use of marijuana – even though it may be a relatively safe drug compared to alcohol and other substances – it too can be harmful. Marijuana has been associated with crime, drinking, and addictions to other substances. And although it may be safe, people can in fact develop an addiction to it. Research indicates that 9% of people who use marijuana develop an addiction to it. This is compared to 15% of people who become addicted to cocaine and alcohol. And research indicates that the earlier a person begins to use the drug, the more likely he or she will become dependent on it. Also, dependency will develop within two years for 17% of those who began smoking marijuana at ages 14 or 15. Furthermore, marijuana is a popularly known as the gateway drug, meaning that once a person begins using it, it’s likely going to lead to the use of other drugs.

It might be clear that alcohol is dangerous, given the many accidents, diseases, and crimes that are associated with it. However, the so-called safety of marijuana use can actually lure a person to use the drug on a regular basis. In fact, considering marijuana to be harmless, in a sense, makes it more dangerous. Someone using the drug may not be able to make the connection between some of its ill effects on life and the body.


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What to Do If You Have CFS and Want to Drink Alcohol

Alcohol is a substance that is highly accepted in society. In fact, it’s so accepted that it continues to be used by millions of people around the world despite the many dangers that it presents. Alcohol has played a role in car accidents, caused alcohol poisoning, and has contributed to a person’s participation in crime and suicide. However, alcohol also has many health risks, including severely affecting the liver if consumed on a regular basis.

Recent research also shows that there may be a relationship between alcohol and the presence of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). This is an illness in which a person cannot relieve symptoms of fatigue and tiredness through resting. Essentially, a person feels tired all the time and has little energy to complete his or her responsibilities in life. CFS can get in the way of work, supporting one’s family, and having a social life. Symptoms include:

  • Extreme and chronic tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Muscle pains
  • Extreme fatigue after putting out large amounts of energy, such as in exercise.
  • Joint pain
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Problems with short term memory
  • Sensitivity to noise
  • Feeling of fatigue that is different than generally feeling tired

Although there is no strong evidence that shows consuming alcohol can contribute to the development of CFS, alcohol can certainly make the condition worse. Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it will slow down the functioning of the body and mind. This, at first, might make it seem that alcohol can help a person with CFS feel better. And there’s no question that some people with CFS might turn to alcohol as a means to take away their physical and emotional pain. However, regardless of whether a person has an illness, continued use of a substance as a means to cope with life can lead to psychological and physical dependence. And the danger of dependence upon a substance is the possibility of addiction. Furthermore, there have been studies that show that those with CFS should avoid the use of alcohol altogether.

If you struggle with CFS and you have found yourself reaching for alcohol as a means to feel better, gather a team of professionals to support you. Contact your doctor and let him or her know what you’re going through. Call a mental health provider to see what you can do to avoid alcohol dependence and addiction. And lastly join a support group of those who also have CFS. Spending time with others with the same illness might curb those feelings of being alone with an illness, which might otherwise add to the need to drink.

However, if you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol abuse, whether you have an illness such as CFS or not, contact a mental health provider for support. Doing so may help you break free from the need to drink alcohol and find greater inner resources to face the illness of CFS.


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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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Breaking the Cycle of Drinking and Drug Use

Breaking the Cycle of Drinking and Drug Use | Transcend Recovery Community

Addiction is none other than a habit. It’s a pattern of engaging in the same behavior again and again. Of course, it’s a little different than biting your nails when you’re nervous. Instead, addiction is a habit on a larger scale, with more significant consequences. However, at its most basic level, addiction is a habit that must be broken.

For instance, you might have gotten into a routine. Perhaps you started out drinking on the weekends. You were in a routine of working Monday through Friday and then unwinding with a few glasses of wine at the end of the week. Gradually, that routine might have shifted a bit and you might have started to drink after work too. Then, a new routine developed. Instead, of taking a nap or spending time with family after work, you might have started to drink, knowing how good it makes you feel. You enjoy the buzz of drinking and it might be the tool that helps take your anxieties away.

Then, as the addiction progressed, you might have developed a new routine – whenever you feel anxiety, that’s when you drink. And as the brain is beginning to change because of excessive alcohol use, you might find that you’re actually drinking before work too. If you don’t want to face the day, you use alcohol to help take the tension away. If you don’t want to face the board meeting where you’ll have to rub elbows with all the executives of the organization you work for, you use alcohol to help reduce the social anxiety.

For many people, the routine of addiction is taking a drug or substance whenever they are not feeling well. However, this is precisely the problem because often use of the drug only leaves you feeling worse in the end. And though it’s tempting to take more of the drug to feel better, doing so only creates an emotional hole that’s hard to climb out of.

Breaking out of the routine of addiction can mean two things:

First, it’s breaking the habit of turning to drugs or alcohol to feel better. It’s common to use substances as a means to cope with life. However, there are many other coping tools that are healthier and that can leave one feeling better instead of feeling worse. For instance, anxiety-prone people might learn and regularly practice relaxation techniques. These practices can reduce anxiety over time and be a source of coping with life’s challenges.

Second, just like we get into a particular daily routine, there is also a routine to drinking or drug use. We might become attached to those patterns. For instance, you might be in the routine of making yourself lunch the night before for your workday. You might get attached to the ease of having that ready when you wake up in the morning. Similarly, there are attachments to drinking or drug use. You might be attached to the routine of unwinding after work with a glass of wine or on the weekend with a case of beer.

Treatment for addiction is breaking the habit of substance use – both the routine of using at certain times as well as the ways that one has come to rely upon the drug. Although it is challenging to break the habit of addiction, it can be done!


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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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When Hearing Voices Leads You to Drink or Use Drugs

When Hearing Voices Leads You to Drink or Use Drugs | Transcend Recovery Community

Hearing voices is an incredibly difficult experience. And it’s one of those experiences that can’t be explained if you’ve never experienced it. Although there are some tools to use that can mimic what it’s like for those who want to know what it feels like, the great difficulty of the experience can never be fully understood unless you know it yourself.

However, in an effort to describe it, hearing a voice can be similar to the way that most people might hear a voice externally, as though someone were calling you. However, the difference is that it is happening within. The voice has no physical source. Interestingly, although most people haven’t had the experience of hearing voices, it’s common for some who hear their name being called but then look and discover that in fact no one was calling them. Perhaps this might be a close example for the experiences of hearing voices.

There are many ways to hear voices. It might happen as a “voice thought”, engaging you in a conversation. Voices can feel as though they are coming from inside the head, such as a thought or they might feel as though they are coming from within the body. Voices might be talking to you or they might be talking about you. Other voices might be entirely non-verbal, such as images, visions, and even smells, but related to a particular inner spontaneous experience.

Voices can also be experienced like a dream, such as having an experience that feels real but isn’t. Often, when people fall asleep on the job, for instance, and perhaps have a day dream, there might be an experience of reality to it, making it feel like a waking dream.

Sadly, hearing voices can continue to happen all day long, without ever stopping. It could be similar to a song that is replaying over and over again in your mind. You did not ever make the decision to play that song in your mind, but perhaps you heard it recently, it is making its appearance. The disruption to your thinking that the song creates can be similar to the discomfort that voices can have.

In fact, hearing voices can become so severe that it can lead to drinking or drug use. It can lead to the need to escape from one’s own mind, and as a response, drug use is a common answer. In fact, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, those who have schizophrenia are much more likely to have a substance abuse addiction than the general population. Yet, at times it can be difficult to tell the difference between those with schizophrenia and those who are affected by alcohol or drugs because those who abuse drugs can show similar symptoms to those who have schizophrenia.

However, instead of using drugs or trying to drown voices away by drinking, the following are some helpful tips, provided by the Mental Health Foundation, on how to manage the voices you might be hearing:

  • Talk to others who hear voices for support.
  • Participate in a self-help group with others who hear voices.
  • Talk about your voices with others you trust. This gives you an opportunity to learn the games and tricks that your voices might have.
  • Although it is a difficult step to take, try to accept the voices as a part of who you are. This can be the beginning to feel more in control rather than having the voices control you.
  • If you have a voice that is malicious, be sure to connect with others who hear voices so that you’re not alone. You can discover ways to structure the voices so that they do not feel as invasive. More importantly, learning how to manage negative voices can keep you safe and away from engaging in risky behavior that the voice might prompt you do engage in.
  • Continue to talk with family and friends that you trust. As they come to accept the fact that hearing voices is a part of an illness, they can be supportive versus judgmental. Sharing what you learn about hearing voices with them can also earn their trust and support.

Drinking and drug use isn’t going to make your internal experience any better. In fact, it might only worsen the negative feelings and thoughts you have. The above are tips to use to manage any voices you hear safely and effectively.


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Don’t Let Loneliness Be the Reason for Drinking or Drugging

Don't Let Loneliness Be the Reason for Drinking or Drugging | Transcend Recovery Community

One of the most common reasons to drink or use substances of any kind is the feeling of loneliness. This might be particularly true if you’ve just separated from a relationship or marriage. If you’re living alone, without a community of people to spend time with, then loneliness can easily be a part of your life. This feeling is very commonly one that draws men and women to want to get high – or change their emotional experience through drinking. Others might turn to substance use, such as marijuana or painkillers to try to feel better.

However, you don’t have to turn to drugs or alcohol to feel like you’re not alone. Instead, you can find a community of people to spend time with. Plus, there are other ways to alleviate your loneliness. Consider the following three options:

Connect with yourself. If you are alone and you’re beginning to feel loneliness, start to connect with yourself. You can do this by being creative. You can do this through journaling, painting, or dancing. When you are creative, you have the opportunity to get in touch with what’s inside of you. You can access what you want to express. Another way to connect with yourself is to ask yourself questions that matter:

  • What do you want to do in life?
  • Who do you want to become?
  • What are your goals?
  • What kind of life do you see yourself living?
  • What kind of contribution do you want to make in your life?

These are important questions. Although you might be focused on sobriety, eventually, you may want to discover more about the direction your life is going. Exploring these questions and writing about them can facilitate getting answers.

Connect with others. Perhaps you want to connect with others, but there aren’t people around to connect to. Or there might not people around you want to connect with. However, if loneliness is a feeling you experience often, then connecting with someone can be helpful. If someone is around, he or she might not be your first choice, but connecting with him or her can help you feel better. In fact, the greater relationships we have, the better we feel and the less tendency there is to feel lonely. If you find yourself wanting to be around more people, join a club, attend a social gathering, participate in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings to meet others reaching for sobriety.

Connect with the world. Although it’s not always easy to connect with the world, there are many simple ways to do this. For instance, you might want to watch the news. You might want to watch a documentary highlighting what is going on in a certain region of the world. You may want to get on Facebook and find old friends, make new ones, and join groups that you appreciate. You can also, simply, go for a walk and connect with the natural world. Or you can prepare to go camping and connect with the celestial world – the stars, constellations, and planets. Connecting with the world can help you experience your own significance inside the larger matrix of the cosmos.

Although loneliness is a common feeling that leads to drinking or drug use, there are many other options to choose from to alleviate your loneliness. Instead of drinking or use drugs, try one of the suggestions above.


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