So Is Addiction A Choice
Many people will argue and say that the first initial drink or drug is always a choice. No argument there. But what about the Canadians that have never struggled with any type of substance abuse? For instance, someone that has major surgery and is prescribed narcotics trusting that their doctor will make the best decision in treating them. They take them as directed and become physically dependent. Was it a choice for them?
Consider for a moment, for arguments sake, diabetes in Canada. It is caused partly by genetics and partly by poor choices. Along with other preventative diseases like cardiovascular diseases, hypertension, and certain cancers, there is a level of choice in the beginning whether you want to risk getting it or not. Many diseases can even be reversed by a healthier lifestyle. So, why do we look at addiction any different? We dont look at someone diagnosed with lung cancer as a bad person, so why should we be any different with an addict/alcoholic? And we certainly dont start blaming them for choosing this. At some point in the addiction, the power of choice was taken away. Using no longer because of a choice.
Where Does It Come From
Alcohol is produced by fermenting or distilling various fruits, vegetables or grains. Fermented beverages include beer and wine, which have a maximum alcohol content of about 15 per cent. Distilled beverages, often called hard liquor or spirits, such as rum, whisky and vodka, have a higher alcohol content.
Although alcohol comes in different forms, it has the same effect. In the following table, each standard drink contains 13.6 grams of alcohol.
* Note that regular beers have an average alcohol content of five per cent, but some have as much as six or seven per cent, making them stronger than a standard drink. Light beers have an average alcohol content of about four per cent.
** such as sherry, port or vermouth
Alcohol Addiction Treatment Options
Some people are able to stop drinking on their own or with the help of a 12-step program or other support group . Others need medical supervision in order to withdraw from alcohol safely and comfortably. Which option is best for you depends on how much youve been drinking, how long youve had a problem, the stability of your living situation, and other health issues you may have.
The first step is often to consult your primary care doctor or GP. Your doctor can evaluate your drinking patterns, diagnose any co-occurring disorders, assess your overall health, and offer treatment referrals. They may even be able to prescribe medication to help you quit.
|Examples of alcohol treatment programs|
Residential treatment involves living at a treatment facility while undergoing intensive treatment during the day. Residential treatment normally lasts from 30-90 days.
Partial hospitalization is for people who require ongoing medical monitoring but have a stable living situation. These treatment programs usually meet at the hospital for 3-5 days a week, 4-6 hours per day.
Intensive outpatient programs focus on relapse prevention and can often be scheduled around work or school.
Therapy can help you identify the root causes of your alcohol use, repair your relationships, and learn healthier coping skills and how to deal with triggers that could cause you to relapse.
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Can Alcohol Abuse Be Prevented Or Avoided
If you have a family history of alcoholism or alcohol abuse, you may have to work harder at resisting or limiting alcohol. Other ways to reduce your alcohol consumption include:
- Limit yourself to one drink when by yourself or with friends.
- Seek treatment for underlying mental health conditions.
- Avoid spending time with others who abuse alcohol.
- Talk to your doctor.
- Consider joining a support group made up of others facing the same challenge.
Your doctor may screen for alcohol abuse. The American Academy of Family Physicians recommends screening adults aged 18 years or older for alcohol misuse. Also, AAFP recommends teaching teens between 12 and 17 years old to avoid alcohol.
The Diagnostic And Statistical Manual 4th Revision
According to the DSM-IV, two kinds of addiction can be diagnosed: substance abuse and substance dependence . Abuse is a pattern of alcohol use, leading to social, occupational, or medical impairment. A diagnosis of abuse can only be given in the absence of a diagnosis of dependence.
A diagnosis of alcohol dependence requires at least three or more of the following: Tolerance Withdrawal symptoms, or drinking to avoid symptoms Loss of control A persistent desire or efforts to cut down or control drinking A great deal of time spent drinking, or recovering from drinking Social, occupational, or recreational activities given up because of alcohol use Drinking continues despite having a persistent or recurrent physical or psychological problem that is likely to have been worsened by alcohol.
The withdrawal symptoms can differ by substance taken. Some substances, such as cannabis or hallucinogens, do not produce a characteristic withdrawal syndrome, and withdrawal is not listed as a criterion for these substances.
Admitting To Being Powerless
There is a reason that the first step in the 12-Step programis admitting to being powerless. Insisting that you can overcome your addictionon your own is not healthy or effective. When you are addicted, you have lostthe power of choice. Willpower is practically non-existent.
However, when you admit to being powerless and to beingunable to manage your life in addiction, you open the door to recovery. The memoryof the humiliation and suffering you experienced just a week ago is probablyalready lost in your memory, but try to think about how you feel when you areusing drugs or drinking.
Your concerned friends and family members want to help you,but you have to admit for yourself that you are addicted. As an individual whowas addicted but who is now in recovery noted,admitting powerlessness meant that no amount of trying or practicing orself-control was going to change the way that drugs and alcohol affect mybrain. This concept is about accepting what is and what is not. Step one was agateway to freedom and a proclamation of progress.
What This Means In Very Cold Conditions
As the alcohol education charity Drinkaware Trust warns, the combination of alcohol and very cold weather can be dangerous and even lethal. This is because your body’s core temperature and your body’s shell temperature are both under the influence of factors making it cooler.
Tipton describes what happens: “In cool air temperatures this heat loss can result in falling deep body temperature. In very cold air temperatures or cold water, the powerful cold stimuli at the skin override the alcohol-induced vasodilatation, and blood flow to the skin shuts down, defending deep body temperature.”
Excessive drinking combined with the cold can lead to hypothermia, which occurs when your body temperature drops so low that it causes a cardiac arrest. A study of hypothermia and alcohol poisoning in adolescents found that in winter 26.6% of the intoxicated subjects experienced mild hypothermia. This was compared to 18.0% in the summer.
Thankfully, for most of us the chances of developing hypothermia are slim as long as we drink sensibly and avoid alcohol-induced bad decisions like going out in freezing weather. However, as the charity Homeless Link points out: “Rough sleepers and other members of the street population are at increased risk of hypothermia and frostbite.”
Rough sleeping in extremely low temperatures over winter, combined with prevalent alcohol addiction problems, make the homeless population particularly vulnerable to hypothermia.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Alcoholism
Alcohol addiction can be difficult to recognize. Unlike cocaine or heroin, alcohol is widely available and accepted in many cultures. Its often at the center of social situations and closely linked to celebrations and enjoyment.
Drinking is a part of life for many people. When is it common in society, it can be hard to tell the difference between someone who likes to have a few drinks now and then and someone with a real problem.
Some symptoms of alcohol addiction are:
- increased quantity or frequency of use
- high tolerance for alcohol, or lack of hangover symptoms
- drinking at inappropriate times, such as first thing in the morning, or in places like church or work
- wanting to be where alcohol is present and avoiding situations where there is none
- changes in friendships someone with an alcohol addiction may choose friends who also drink heavily
- avoiding contact with loved ones
- hiding alcohol, or hiding while drinking
- dependence on alcohol to function in everyday life
- increased lethargy, depression, or other emotional issues
- legal or professional problems such as an arrest or loss of a job
As an addiction tends to get worse over time, its important to look for early warning signs. If identified and treated early, someone with an alcohol addiction may be able to avoid major consequences of the disease.
Alcohol addiction can result in heart disease and liver disease. Both can be fatal. Alcoholism can also cause:
- increased risk of cancer
- suppressed immune function
You Suffer Withdrawal If You Attempt To Stop
Withdrawal is most well-known when it comes to substance abuse. It’s essentially your system becoming severely distressed when a drug or substance under heavy usage is taken away abruptly, causing it to recalibrate. The American Addiction Centers sum up the four main types of substance withdrawal: withdrawing from heroin and prescription painkillers causes two days of serious flu-like symptoms, cold turkey psychoactive drug addicts will experience seizures and anxiety for weeks, while going off cocaine causes 10 days of depression, and going off alcohol causes the famous “tremors,” which can last for up to a month. The heaviness of withdrawal symptoms depends on the strength of your addiction, and is often deeply unpleasant.
Withdrawal from non-substance based addictions, like gambling, tend to be more emotional than physical. Psych Central highlights “restlessness and irritability” as the key signs that a gambling addict is going through withdrawal.
What Does It Mean To Be Above The Legal Limit For Drinking
The legal limit for drinking is the alcohol level above which a person is subject to legal penalties .
- Legal limits are measured using either a blood alcohol test or a breathalyzer.
- Legal limits are typically defined by state law, and may vary according to individual characteristics, such as age and occupation.
All states in the United States have adopted 0.08% as the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle for drivers aged 21 years or older . However, drivers younger than 21 are not allowed to operate a motor vehicle with any level of alcohol in their system.
Note: Legal limits do not define a level below which it is safe to operate a vehicle or engage in some other activity. Impairment due to alcohol use begins to occur at levels well below the legal limit.
Is Addiction A Disease Or A Choice
Is addiction a disease or a choice? The answer to this question has plagued many addicts, doctors, and advocates in Ontario especially with the gross amount of misinformation out there. For this article, we are going to be looking at the facts provided by some of the top-notch health experts from around and how they view addiction not just personal opinions.
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Why Do People Turn To Alcohol
While most people enjoy an occasional glass of wine with dinner or a beer while watching the football, for some, alcohol is something that is used to make them feel better. Some individuals drink alcohol to dull the pain of a previous traumatic experience or to help them forget things that they are stressed out about.
Alcohol is a depressant that affects the body in many ways. Some people find that when they drink alcohol, they can relax, and it helps them to temporarily forget the things that are bothering them. However, if it gets to the point that alcohol is required for the person to be able to cope or function, then it is time to get help.
Recovery Requires Lifestyle Changes
If you think you can live the same lifestyle as you did before addiction treatment while simply abstaining from using drugs or alcohol you are on the fast track to relapse. Addiction recovery requires a lifestyle overhaul including the activities you participate in, the people you hang out with, and the way you think.
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What Does The American Medical Association Say
The American Medical Association recognized alcoholism as an illness in 1956 and addiction as a disease in the 1987 National Council of State Boards of Nursing. The National Institute on Drug Abuse also classifies addiction as a disease, labelling addiction as a chronic relapsing disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.
How To Know When You’re Enabling Addiction
Many times when family and friends try to “help” people with alcohol use disorders, they are actually making it easier for them to continue in the progression of the disease. This baffling phenomenon is called enabling. It can take many forms, all of which have the same effectallowing the individual to avoid the consequences of their actions.
Enabling allows someone with an alcohol problem to continue their destructive behavior, secure in the knowledge that no matter how many mistakes they make, somebody will always be there to rescue them.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Alcohol Use Disorder
A person is diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder by a medical or mental health professional . The criteria for mild, moderate, and severe AUD are created and published by the American Psychiatric Associations Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th Edition . A physician may diagnose someone with a mild AUD if they meet 23 criteriaor signs and symptomsfor an AUD, 45 criteria for a moderate AUD, and 6 or more criteria for a severe AUD occurring within a 12-month period.1
The APAs diagnostic signs and symptoms of an AUD include:2,3
Statistics On Alcohol Addiction & Use In The Us
According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health , 51% of the population aged 12 and older reported binge drinking in the past month.
Binge drinking is defined as 5 or more drinks for males and 4 or more drinks for females on at least one day in the past month heavy alcohol use means binge drinking for 5 or more days in the past month.3
Most binge drinking occurs among people aged 1834 and is twice as common among men than women. One in 6 adults binge drinks around 4 times per month.5 Among 12- to 17-year-olds, 5.3% reported binge drinking in the past month, with 0.7% reporting heavy alcohol use in the past month.4
While not everyone who binge drinks has an AUD, binge drinking can be a very significant risk factor for the development of an AUD.
The NSDUH reports that more than 14 million people aged 12 and older had an AUD in 2017, with AUD occurring in 7% of males and 3.8% of females aged 12 and older.4
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What Does It Mean To Dream Of Doing Drugs
Taking drugs in a dream is connected to how you are feeling inside. Are you feeling you need someone to look after you? To take drugs at a party can be a reflection of how you are feeling inside about life itself. Feelings sometimes come from dreams, the drugs themselves reflect the importance of how you appear to others. If you see yourself with homeless people or in a drug house this can suggest that you are looking for a sign of peace.
Dreaming of drug dealers connected to your addiction signifies you will go through a period of productivity but the good news is that you will soon be more focused in life. Being addicted to drugs and buying these in waking life indicates a new path that you will take on.
When Does Drinking Become A Problem
For most adults, moderate alcohol use no more than two drinks a day for men and one for women and older people is relatively harmless. (A “drink” means 1.5 ounces of spirits, 5 ounces of wine, or 12 ounces of beer, all of which contain 0.5 ounces of alcohol.
Moderate use, however, lies at one end of a range that moves through alcohol abuse to alcohol dependence:
Alcohol abuse is a drinking pattern that results in significant and recurrent adverse consequences. Alcohol abusers may fail to fulfill major school, work, or family obligations. They may have drinking-related legal problems, such as repeated arrests for driving while intoxicated. They may have relationship problems related to their drinking.
People with alcoholism technically known as alcohol dependence have lost reliable control of their alcohol use. It doesn’t matter what kind of alcohol someone drinks or even how much: Alcohol-dependent people are often unable to stop drinking once they start. Alcohol dependence is characterized by tolerance and withdrawal symptoms if drinking is suddenly stopped. Withdrawal symptoms may include nausea, sweating, restlessness, irritability, tremors, hallucinations and convulsions.
Although severe alcohol problems get the most public attention, even mild to moderate problems cause substantial damage to individuals, their families and the community.
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