15 Jun 2015
Summer is a time when many of us want to celebrate. Winter is over with. With more daylight hours of bright sun, the beach beckons. There are graduation parties, Fourth of July barbecues, and any-reason-at-all parties to attend. It’s a great time to get together with friends, enjoy the long days and have a good time. Unfortunately, a lot of these celebrations involve alcohol and all the dangers associated with it. Stay safe this summer and consider partying alcohol-free. If you are going to indulge, do so responsibly and safely.
Drinking Dangers During The Summer
Alcohol And The Heat
Many of the best summer parties are outdoor barbecues and picnics. It’s natural to want to drink at these events. You’re warm and relaxed and enjoying the company of your friends or family. Being outside while temperatures are high and the sun is shining can be a health hazard even without alcohol.Without proper precautions you may suffer from heat stroke, sunburn or dehydration. Alcohol can worsen these conditions and speed their onset.
If you are planning to drink outside, do so in moderation and don’t forget to drink plenty of water as well. Use sunscreen and spend time in the shade to avoid too much sun exposure, avoid caffeinated drinks and stay cool with ice water.
Alcohol And The Water
What would a summer party be without a pool, lake or ocean-side beach? If you’re drinking near or on the water, the risk of harm is great. In fact, one out of every two deaths that occurs during water recreation is related to alcohol. While many people take drinking and driving very seriously, not everyone considers drinking and boating to be an issue. An intoxicated boat operator can cause terrible damage from accidents. Passengers drinking on boats may lose balance and fall overboard.
There are also the same hazards that involve drinking and being exposed to heat and the sun. On a boat it may not be possible to get drinkable water to stay hydrated, or to find relief from heat and sun. If you’ll be out on a boat, it’s best to refrain from drinking at all. If there will be drinking, bring along plenty of water, sunscreen and light clothing. Never let the operator of a boat drink.
Parties And Binge Drinking
Most people have lots of parties to attend over the summer, which gives ample opportunities to drink too much. When you’re having fun at a party it can be easy to forget how much you have had. Women should not have more than four drinks at once, or men more than five. Drinking more is considered binge drinking and is particularly dangerous. Binging can lead to car accidents, assaults and fights, unplanned pregnancies, increased blood pressure, heart disease and other serious problems.
Binge drinking can turn a fun party into a nightmare. Always keep track of what you are drinking at parties and set a limit. Drink one non-alcoholic beverage in between every alcoholic drink to keep yourself from getting out of control. It also helps to have a friend or partner monitor your intake and warn you if you are close to drinking too much.
Summer is a season full of sun and fun, and plenty of parties. Make the most of your summer vacation without an alcohol-related tragedy. Be careful, be aware of how much you and others drink and stay hydrated so that you can expect to enjoy your summer safely.
Read Our Other Posts With Helpful Tips & Tricks
08 Jun 2015
Recreational marijuana is a buzzword these days, and for good reason. As voters are given the choice, many are opting to make this drug legal for adults to use however they see fit. The tide of public opinion may be shifting and the benefits of legalization of marijuana for recreational use highly touted, but marijuana remains a federally illegal, mind-altering substance.
Top Three Reasons Marijuana Should Be Banned
Before you make up your own mind in the pros and cons of legalization of marijuana debate, make sure you are familiar with the major reasons why this drug needs to remain illegal.
1. Marijuana Is Addictive
One of the biggest misconceptions about cannabis, or marijuana, is that you can’t get addicted to it. This stems from the fact that it is much less addictive than substances like heroin, meth or crack. This does not mean, however, that you cannot develop a habit when smoking pot. Thousands of people every year seek treatment for marijuana addiction, and it is a real and serious problem.
It’s easy to be misled by the lax attitude toward marijuana. A lot of people use it recreationally and are able to keep it that way. Maybe you smoke at a party one time and then get some to use at home by yourself. You find that it’s nice to use when you want to relax or party with a few friends. But before you know it, that partying becomes addiction and you can’t relax without your drug of choice.
2. Young People Are Harmed By Marijuana
But, you say, marijuana is being made legal for adults only, not for teens. Of course, there’s no such thing as underage drinking, right? Alcohol is supposed to be for adults only, but around 10 percent of drinking in this country is done by people under the age of 21. Based on alcohol’s example, we can expect that the same will happen with legal pot. Marijuana is particularly bad for young people with brains that are still in development. Studies have shown that teens who smoke pot regularly have lower IQs than their peers. They perform worse academically, miss more days of school and are less likely to participate in extracurricular activities.
3. Marijuana Causes Accidents
Another lesson that alcohol teaches us is that although driving under the influence is outlawed, too many people do it. The result is that thousands of people are injured or killed every year by drunk drivers. With legal marijuana we will be adding thousands of more to that list every year. Intoxicated driving is the same no matter what the substance is. A high driver is like a drunk driver and liable to cause accidents.
The debate about making this drug legal will continue and more states are likely to vote for it, but the cons for recreational marijuana are just too many and too great. There is no need for legal drugs when the safety and well-being of all Americans is at stake.
Get Help Now – Learn More About Marijuana Addiction Treatment
A new trend has emerged in the voting booth: people are saying yes to legal, recreational marijuana. Are there really any benefits of making this drug legal to adults? What will the consequences be, good or bad? It’s too early to tell, but in time we will see if there really are any pros of legalizing recreational marijuana or if it has all been a big mistake and a failed experiment.
Marijuana Is Just For Adults, Right?
Among the many concerns that critics of legalized recreational marijuana have, perhaps the most important is the safety and the health of children and teens.
Proponents argue that there are age limits and that kids can’t get access to marijuana, but the same could be said of alcohol. And yet, underage drinking is more than common. In fact, alcohol is the number one substance of abuse among teens. Why? They can access alcohol more easily than drugs because alcohol is legal for adults. To think that kids won’t get their hands on pot is naïve.
The safety of teens and kids is important because it will be compromised and is a major one of the many cons for recreational marijuana. Young people have vulnerable, developing brains, and marijuana is a mind-altering drug.
When teens smoke pot they throw a wrench in the works of that development. It has even been shown that smoking pot regularly can lower IQ and reduce academic achievement. Another important point is that most people who get addicted to marijuana started smoking when they were teens.
Public Safety Concerns Everyone
Another major point of contention in the discussion of the pros and cons of legalization of marijuana is the possibility of more accidents. Supporters of legal marijuana say that it isn’t as bad as alcohol when it comes to driving, but it is bad. You can’t drive high and expect to never have an accident. With more pot smokers on the road, more of us are likely to fall victim to a devastating traffic accident. States with legal marijuana have yet to determine how to set and accurately measure an intoxication level.
Are There Any Pros Of Legalizing Marijuana?
When you ask proponents of legal marijuana why they support it, you will mostly get half-hearted answers. Most supporters simply think there is no reason not to make it legal, if alcohol is legal. Others just want to be able to smoke legally and support recreational marijuana for personal and selfish reasons.
Perhaps the one pro that makes the most sense in the argument for legal recreational marijuana is for state revenue. Many states are operating in budget deficits and could use a new source of revenue to shore up their coffers. Whether or not marijuana is the answer to this particular problem remains to be seen. What we know for sure is that it is a big risk for some extra money.
Find Out Now How Changing Marijuana Laws May Impact Children
30 Mar 2015
You may have heard the term addictive personality when used to describe anything from heroin addiction to an obsession with powdered donuts. It may be overused, but there is truth in the phrase. We know that people with a family history of addiction are more likely than others to develop an addiction of their own. We also know that although there is no single gene causing addiction, there are several genetic factors that contribute to the disease.
Signs You Have An Addictive Personality
Do you have risk factors for addiction? Do you have an addictive personality? Here are some signs that you might.
You’re A Thrill Seeker
Adrenaline junkies, those who look for excitement and new experiences to get a kick, are more likely to become addicted to substances. In many ways this kind of behavior is healthy. Maybe you are a world traveler because learning about different cultures is exciting for you, or you channel your need for a thrill into activities like sky diving or competitive sports. Thrill-seeking can be a great way to try and experience new things, but sometimes this means trying drugs.
The good news is that adrenaline junkies are more likely than others to experiment with drugs, but without other risk factors they tend to remain only recreational users. They don’t become addicted in most cases, unless they also exhibit one or both of the personality traits below.
You Are Impulsive
Impulsivity means acting without thinking about the consequences. Some people would describe this trait as poor self-control. Maybe you are trying to lose a few pounds, but you get dessert at a restaurant anyway. Or you have that extra drink at a party even though you know you have to get up early the next morning. You might say something without thinking and end up putting your foot in your mouth. These are all signs of being impulsive.
Impulsivity combined with the need to seek out thrills and exciting experiences correlates strongly with drug or alcohol addiction. If you are an adrenaline junkie but have good self-control and are not impulsive, you might try drugs but not become addicted. Similarly if you tend to be impulsive, but you like to stay safe and not look for exciting thrills, you are unlikely to try drugs in the first place. If you seek out thrills and also tend to act without thinking, you are at a high risk for trying drugs and getting hooked as a result.
You Are Compulsive
Being compulsive means engaging in a behavior repeatedly in spite of negative consequences. This is a classic hallmark of addiction, but it can apply in many other situations. For example, you are compulsive if you bite your nails and cuticles until they bleed and get infected. You know it’s bad for you, but you keep doing it. Another way to think of compulsivity is having bad habits. Addicts use over and over again in spite of all the harm it causes.
How To Battle An Addictive Personality
Impulsivity, thrill-seeking and compulsivity have been found to be three common traits among addicts. If you recognize all of them in yourself, you may describe your personality as addictive, but it doesn’t mean you have to become an addict.
Fight your addictive instincts by being aware of your feelings, behaviors and choices. Check your impulsive decisions and analyze your bad habits. Figure out what your motivations are and work to change bad habits that you already have. Learn to cope with your negative emotions in healthier ways. If you are conscious about what you do and why, you don’t have to let your personality traits dictate the outcome of your life.
Black Wednesday is the night before Thanksgiving and it is also known as the biggest bar night of the year. More than any other day during the winter holidays, this is the night during which many people cut loose and binge drink. The night before Thanksgiving is a night for the young, and it is young people who are most at risk for the consequences of overindulgence.
College students and 20-somethings are coming home for Thanksgiving, and while Thursday is for family, they use Wednesday night as a sort of reunion. Old friends get together to pack the bars and celebrate. If you are planning in taking part in a Black Wednesday event, plan ahead with a strategy of moderate drinking. Going overboard and binge drinking puts you at risk for a number of dangers, including injuries, alcohol poisoning, sexually transmitted diseases and assault.
Tips To Enjoy Black Wednesday Responsibly
Here are some ideas and tips to help you be responsible and to enjoy the night with friends:
- Skip the pre-party/pre-gaming – If you are over 35 and reading this, you may be confused. What’s a pre-party? Yes, young people actually take time to drink before a drinking event. The pre-party is a small gathering, usually at one person’s home, to get lightly buzzed before the main event. This is irresponsible drinking at its worst. Don’t do it. By all means get together with a few close friends ahead of bar time, but have coffee, soda, or mocktails instead of alcohol.
- Eat – Of course you want to look your best for a reunion with old friends, but starving yourself ahead of time is not the way to do it. You need to have food in your stomach or one drink could wipe you out for the night.
- Have a way to get home – To be safe, make sure you know well in advance how you’ll get home. Select a designated driver or plan to take a cab or public transportation home. If you’re going with the latter, make sure you have a friend to come home with you so that you’re not traveling alone.
- Set a limit – Set a limit for how many drinks you will have at the bar or party and be firm about it. A specific goal is important because if you go into the event with the vague goal of not getting too drunk, it will be too easy to go past the point of no return.
- Share your limit – Tell a trusted friend who will be heading out with you that you have a limit and that you want her to help keep you accountable. If your goal is a secret, it’s easy to stretch it further. A friend will help keep you in check. Offer to do the same for her.
- Alternate alcohol with non-alcohol – Whatever your set limit is, have a non-alcoholic drink in between each alcoholic one. This will force you to slow down and prevent you from getting too drunk. Once you have reached your limit, keep a non-alcoholic drink in your hand for the rest of the night. It will help you resist the urge to get another drink.
Always Plan Your Night Of Drinking In Advance
Drinking the night before Thanksgiving can be a fun way to celebrate and catch up with old friends, but it can easily get out of control. If you have a plan set in advance and follow these tips, you can enjoy the night, be safe and have no regrets the next morning.
Planning Ahead Of Time Can Save Your Night…And You Or Your Friend’s Life
03 Nov 2014
Do you have a glass of wine to unwind in the evening after work? Do you reach for a cocktail after a stressful situation? Do you start to look forward to your evening drink earlier in the day when you’re feeling stressed? If you can say yes to any of these questions you are probably using alcohol to cope with stress. Drinking can make you feel momentarily looser, calmer and more relaxed, which is why many people use it to unwind. Doing so is a dangerous habit, though. You can make your stress worse by drinking and even risk becoming dependent on it.
Alcohol As Stress Relief
Many people turn to drinking to relax and ease the everyday stresses of modern life. Most of us are busier than ever. We have demanding jobs, and in a rough economy, holding onto those jobs becomes crucial. We often sleep poorly and get too little exercise. Our diets are not always the best. On top of all this you may have other stresses in your life: troubled relationships, financial problems, trauma, a death in the family, etc.
Why wouldn’t you want to drink to feel better? Hanging out with friends at the bar and having a few cocktails or beers are fun activities. It’s no wonder many of us engage in drinking to diffuse stress. In the short term it can make you feel better, especially when you add in the socializing time with friends. In the long term, however, drinking can send your stress levels spiraling upward.
The Stress-Drinking Cycle
Researchers have shown that stress and drinking effect each other and result in a cycle of interaction that leads to worsening stress. One study found that alcohol changes how the body copes with stress. Drinking can actually reduce the stress hormones your body produces in difficult situations, but it also prolongs the tension that you feel associated with stress.
On the flipside, stress changes the way alcohol impacts your mood. When you are stressed and you drink you will crave more alcohol. You will also find that the positive feelings you normally get from alcohol are reduced. This interaction between stress and alcohol that goes on inside your body means that drinking actually worsens your stress. As your stress gets more intense, you may drink more and the cycle continues. Drinking will never cure you of chronic stress.
If you continue to use alcohol as a means of relaxation and stress relief you run the risk of falling into the stress-alcohol cycle. And if you land in that cycle you could end up becoming dependent on alcohol. Alcoholism is a disease and it takes a serious toll on both the mind and the body. Becoming an alcoholic means more stress in addition to physical health problems.
Healthy Stress Relief
One of the ways in which friends can be good for your mental health is when you interact in a social group. Having good social support can make you more resilient in the face of stress. Hanging out with friends and family, talking, laughing and having a good time helps to relieve stress that you already have. If you can keep the social engagements, but take out the alcohol, or at least reduce it significantly, you will have a powerful prescription for managing your stress. Add to your social interactions a healthy diet, plenty of exercise, downtime engaging in fun activities and you have a healthy stress relief plan and no need for that next drink.
Do You Find Yourself Drinking More And More To Relieve Stress? Call Us Now For Help!
14 Oct 2014
Process addictions, also known as behavioral addictions, don’t always get the same kind of attention as chemical dependencies, but they can be just as serious. Love addiction, which should not be confused with sex addiction, can prevent you from having normal relationships or from ever being satisfied with one. If you are constantly obsessing over one person, a fantasy of your true love or a fantasy relationship, you could be suffering from a love addiction. It’s time to break the cycle.
What Is Love Addiction?
Love addiction is a process addiction. This means that instead of compulsively using a drug or alcohol, you are addicted to a behavior, a feeling or a person. In the case of love addiction you may be addicted to the feelings of infatuation or early love and go through a string of short-term relationships.
Or you might be addicted to your partner and the way he makes you feel, refusing to break it off even if the relationship takes an unhealthy turn. It could even be platonic love that has you hooked. The bottom line is that you obsess over it. The feelings you get from love, infatuation and fantasy take over your life.
At the root of a love addiction is the idea that another person, either real or imagined, can make your life perfect and love you unconditionally. This idea may result from a past history of being abandoned or not being loved enough. It may be that your parents didn’t meet your needs for love and affection. Now, as an adult, you have low self-esteem and look for validation from an outside source when really you should be your own validation.
How Do I Get Over A Love Addiction?
Love addiction is unhealthy because it means that you place unrealistic expectations on others, you fail to take care of yourself and you fail to develop a healthy relationship of mutual respect and love. If you recognize the signs of love addiction in your actions, thoughts and feelings, it’s time to take action and turn things around. Only then will you learn to love yourself and give yourself the chance to have a real relationship.
Steps To Get Over Love Addiction
Here are some steps to take:
- Stop, analyze and assess – Take a step back from your relationships and really think about your behaviors. Make a list of the ways in which you behave inappropriately in your relationships. Consider how you feel and how you make your partner feel. Also think about past relationships and look for common patterns.
- Take responsibility for your own happiness – As a love addict you rely on someone else to make you happy. You think that you need a perfect partner to make your life complete. This is a mistake. You are the only one who can make you happy. Accept that now and begin to act on this truth.
- Consider therapy – There is a good chance that your obsession with love is related to your past. Working with a therapist can help you come to terms with past relationships and how they have impacted you. Sometimes it takes the assistance of a professional to really heal.
- Be prepared for imperfection – As you feel ready to start up a new relationship be ready for the fact that it won’t be perfect. You can chase a perfect partner your whole life, but you’ll never find him. Prepare yourself to fall in love with someone who is imperfect, but perfect for you.
Breaking the habit of love addiction isn’t easy, but it will make your life infinitely better. Only when you begin to accept and love yourself, and reject the idea of a perfect fantasy partner, will you be ready to enjoy real love.
03 Oct 2014
Drugs and alcohol are not the only things that can lead you down the path to a dangerous obsession and addiction. Behaviors can be addictive too. Experts call these behavioral or process addictions and they can be nearly as damaging as a drug addiction or alcoholism.
Most of us will not become obsessed with a behavior or activity to the point of addiction, but none of us are completely risk-free. Learn what the experts say are the most potentially addictive behaviors so that you can avoid getting hooked on them. While you need not avoid these activities entirely, you should be aware that they can lead to addictive behaviors.
Top Behavioral Addictions
Researcher Dr. Reef Karim, a specialist in behavioral addictions, reviewed studies to find which behaviors are the most addictive.
- Gambling – Gambling tops that list. Gambling disorder affects two percent of the population and is the only behavior that gets widespread support as a true behavioral addiction. Much research on problem gambling has been conducted and has found that gamblers experience a high when winning, similar to the experience of drug use. They also experience withdrawal when not gambling, including physical symptoms like headaches and insomnia.
- Internet And Gaming – This type of addictive behavior is a recent addition, but a powerful one. Most experts agree that Internet gaming disorder is a real problem for some people and one that is very similar to drug addiction. Much of the evidence for Internet addiction being a real disorder comes from Asia. Young men there in particular have become so obsessed with gaming that they stop eating and neglect all other responsibilities, including the care of children. This level of obsession is similar to what drug addicts experience.
- Sex Addiction – That sex can become addictive is not surprising. The experience activates the reward system in the brain, as do drugs and alcohol. While regular and frequent sex with one partner is not unhealthy, obsessive sexual activities are. Compulsively using pornography, looking for sex with strangers or engaging in exhibition are behaviors that are considered signs of an unhealthy obsession with sexual activities.
- Eating – Food also activates our reward centers, especially foods that are high in fat, sugar or salt. Eating disorders like bulimia and anorexia are dangerous and involve compulsive behaviors, but they are not addictive disorders. Compulsive overeating, on the other hand, shares characteristics with drug and alcohol addiction. Also known as binge eating, this behavior includes obsessing over food. Compulsive eaters tend to spend an unnatural amount of time thinking about food, planning meals, and frenzied eating to the point of getting sick. Between two and four percent of Americans may struggle with binge eating.
- Shopping – Compulsive shopping is controversial among experts. Some think it can be classified as a behavioral addiction, while others are on the fence. More research is needed to clarify, but it seems that buying something you really want activates the reward system in your brain. Developing this obsession is harmful because it can lead to serious financial problems.
There are a number of behaviors that can become obsessive, but these five are the most common. Just like a drug addiction, these behaviors can cause you to engage in them compulsively, ignore your responsibilities, develop withdrawal, experience highs and ultimately even ruin your life. Be aware of the possibility of behavioral addictions and look for signs of obsessions in yourself and those you love so you can get professional help if needed.
Read Our Other Behavioral Addictions Posts