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All across this country in small towns, rural areas and cities, alcoholism and drug abuse are destroying the lives of men, women and their families. Where to turn for help? What to do when friends, dignity and perhaps employment are lost?

The answer is Palm Partners Recovery Center. It’s a proven path to getting sober and staying sober.

Palm Partners’ innovative and consistently successful treatment includes: a focus on holistic health, a multi-disciplinary approach, a 12-step recovery program and customized aftercare. Depend on us for help with:

Death of DJ Avicii: History of EDM, Drinking and Health Issues

Death of DJ Avicii: History of EDM, Drinking and Health Issues

On Friday, April 20th EDM fans across the world were shocked and heartbroken to hear that internationally known DJ Avicii had passed away at the incredibly young age of 28. Well-known for genre-mixing singles in the electronic dance music (EDM) world, this Grammy-nominated artist has been producing music since as young as 16 years old. By 18 he was already going on tours. So it tragic for many to see someone who had come up so quickly in his scene to be lost so soon.

DJ Avicii, born Tim Bergling of Sweden, was actually on vacation in Muscat, Oman at the time of his death, according to early reports. While the cause of death had not been confirmed, Oman police have officially ruled out “criminal suspicion”. UPDATE: A recent statement from the family has many wondering if suicide could be the cause of death.

However, many point to a number of health issues DJ Avicii was battling, including acute pancreatitis. Some sources report that this was in part due to his history of excessive drinking.

Avicii Faced His Health Issues

At only 26 years old, Avicii had announced he would be retiring from performing to focus on his health. During an interview with Rolling Stone just last year he had talked about how his lifestyle of hard partying had quickly begun to catch up to him. He told the magazine,

“It’s very easy to become too attached to partying. You become lonely and get anxieties. It becomes toxic.”

In 2013, Avicii further explained his motivations for giving up drinking with TIME magazine, saying,

“Yeah I was drinking way too much, partying in general way too much… Then I got a pancreatitis attack [at 21], which is very rare. So that forced me to do a 180 and stop drinking.”

But just because Avicii gave up drinking did not mean he gave up the party. He told TIME,

“I can be sober and party. It’s all a learning experience. I’ve gone out partying sober and I’ve met my new girlfriend from day one sober, and I’ve done everything sober. And I see how drunk everyone else is and I feel like, I kind of like not being hungover tomorrow.”

While Avicii also admitted it was stressful and brought on anxiety to face his fame and continue a demanding tour schedule, the artist was still optimistic about his sobriety. During an interview in the middle of his last worldwide tour, after announcing his retirement, he said,

“I just feel happy. I feel free at this point. Like I have my private life back and focusing on myself for the first time in a long time,”

However, Avicii did not condemn his fame. He still greatly enjoyed his career, stating:

“It was the best time of my life in a sense. It came with a price—a lot of stress [and] a lot of anxiety for me—but it was the best journey of my life.”

The documentary Avicii: True Stories was one of the first public ways that the artist had opened up about the specific health issues he was facing with acute pancreatitis. According to reports, he was first diagnosed with the condition in 2012 after a hospitalization. In 2014 there were reports that the artist even had to undergo surgery as a result of further health complications.

While there is no way of knowing if his health issues were directly responsible for his death, we may never know.

UPDATE: Statement From Avicii’s Family

Our beloved Tim was a seeker, a fragile artistic soul searching for answers to existential questions.

An over-achieving perfectionist who traveled and worked hard at a pace that led to extreme stress.

When he stopped touring, he wanted to find a balance in life to be happy and be able to do what he loved most – music.

He really struggled with thoughts about Meaning, Life, Happiness.

He could not go on any longer.

He wanted to find peace.

Tim was not made for the business machine he found himself in; he was a sensitive guy who loved his fans but shunned the spotlight.

Tim, you will forever be loved and sadly missed.

The person you were and your music will keep your memory alive.

While Avicii may have suffered at some point due to his drinking, what we can be inspired by in his life is that he was not afraid to keep doing what he loved even after giving up alcohol. He was not afraid to party sober, and when he retired he did so with the desire to live free.

Have you experienced alcohol withdrawal symptoms when you’ve tried to quit drinking? Has alcohol started creating other physical, mental or emotional problems for you? If so, you might want to consider getting help for alcohol dependence. Substance dependence and addiction are medical conditions for which treatment is available. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now.

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How Come I Can’t Drink Like My Friends?

How Come I Can’t Drink Like My Friends?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Whether it’s happy hour, ladies night, or wine Wednesdays, drinking culture is everywhere. It can be difficult for someone struggling with alcoholism to accept they cannot drink.  However, the reality is everyone is different. For some, drinking is a casual social activity enjoyed on times off. For others, drinking can lead someone down an erratic spiral that destroys everyone and everything in sight.

We know. It is not fair.

You are probably wondering:

How come I can’t drink like my friends?

The answer is simple, yet complex. Everyone is physiologically unique, and these differences result in some responding to substances in a way that differentiates from others. The majority of people who drink feel relaxed after one or two drinks. Drinking in excess results in negative reactions that make binge drinking undesirable. These adverse effects include vomiting, nausea, headaches, and exhaustion.

However, for over 12% of the population, drinking one or two glasses of alcohol results in a compulsive need to drink more to maintain that euphoric state.  Alcoholics attain high doses of euphoria from consuming alcoholic beverages. Typically, someone with a family history of alcoholism has a high tolerance for alcohol. Therefore, they can drink and drink and not feel overly intoxicated, resulting in the desire to drink more.

Alcoholism: Insane in the Brain

Most of the studies on addiction focus on the rewarding effects of alcohol consumption. Drinking is used as a coping mechanism to boost mood and relieve depression and anxiety. For some, using alcohol for these purposes becomes a tumultuous cycle.

However, there is even more to the story. New research has discovered another component of developing a substance abuse problem: the inability to learn from the consequences of overconsumption.

The study explained a region of the brain called the lateral habenula. This area is thought to help with decision making and learning about punishment. The habenula helps to associate an action with a negative outcome to you can avoid it in the future.

In the study with rats, scientists discovered that when they removed the habenula from certain rats, they continued to drink despite the unpleasant consequences. Therefore, it is possible that humans who struggle with alcohol consumption lack in this area as well.

“We think that what the habenula is contributing is some learning about ‘How bad was my last drinking session? Maybe I should curb my next drinking session. I’m not going to escalate,’” said Sharif Taha, assistant professor of neurobiology and anatomy at the University of Utah School of Medicine.

“The rats that don’t have habenula activity are the ones which go up and up and up over time. Either they’re just not experiencing those aversive effects, or they’re not learning from them.” 

The Balance of Addiction

The pathway to alcoholism is a careful balance. If someone finds alcohol too rewarding and the consequences of overuse not punishing enough, they are likely going to keep drinking and see no reason to stop.

“It seems that it’s not just the rewarding effects that are important in determining how motivated someone might be to consume alcohol, it’s also whether or not they experience any of these aversive effects,” Taha said. “That may play a role in, over time, whether you’re content to consume a couple of beers, or if you’re someone who escalates over time.”

Genetics may play a major role.

Gantt Galloway, senior scientist in the Addiction & Pharmacology Research Laboratory at the California Pacific Medical Center Research Institute in San Francisco,  hopes to identify the specific genetic profile that is associated with an increased risk for alcoholism.

“Are those differences genetic, and can one then identify a [genetic profile] that’s associated with increased risk for alcoholism?” he said. “That could be a useful predictive diagnostic test and could conceivably predict who’s going to respond to different sorts of treatments as well.”

Regardless of the reasons, no one should feel ashamed about how they react to consuming alcohol. Sober life is not a boring life. Furthermore, just because you cannot drink like your friends does not mean you cannot have an exciting life. There are tons of activities to do sober. You just have to go out and find them.

In conclusion, if you are part of the population of people at risk for alcohol addiction, you are not alone. Over 32 million Americans are struggling with the same problem. The good news is you can do something to resolve the problem. You can choose recovery. Do not wait. Call today. 

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Alcohol Epidemic: The Other Drug Outbreak in America

Alcohol Epidemic: The Other Drug Outbreak in America

Author: Justin Mckibben

I came across an article the other day that asked a very interesting question- what if the media covered alcohol the way it does other drugs. To be clear, I’m not writing this to shame people who drink alcohol. This is all about perspective.

More recently the conversation about the drug epidemic in America has been focused on opioid abuse and addiction, of course with good reason. The rate at which opioid abuse, opioid overdoses and related deaths have risen immensely in the last few years. The alarming numbers prove that both prescription opioids and illicit opioid drugs are a very real threat. Thousands of people die every day, and experts see no sign that it will not get worse before it gets better.

And yet, similar statistics associated with alcohol are nothing short of staggering if you look at them the way we look at heroin or methamphetamine.

So, let us imagine for a moment a world where we treated alcohol like the drug it truly is. What if we treated drinkers like we do addicts?

Alcohol Drug Addiction

For decades a devastating and potentially fatal drug has wreaked havoc across the country, ending countless lives and altering countless others. This insidious substance can be found in pretty much every neighborhood in America. You can find it on almost every street corner, and the overwhelming majority of adults have consumed this substance at least once.

Alcohol has many aliases, include:

  • Beer
  • Liquor
  • Spirits
  • Booze
  • Drank
  • Giggle Water
  • Moonshine

The drug comes packaged in a long list of names, with a variety of mixes that can be more or less potent depending on the source. Some use massive labs to concoct their drinks, while others brew out of secret unregulated areas in their homes.

The Alcohol Epidemic

No matter where you go, there will be a prominent presence of alcohol users. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH):

  • 86.4% of people 18 or older report to have drank this dangerous drug at some point in their life
  • 70.1% of people report to have consuming this substance in the last year
  • 56% of people admit to have taken the drug in the last month

Looking closer at the drug, we see that many users go from recreational consumption to excessive use. The NSDUH shows:

  • 7% report to heavy use in the past month
  • 26.9% of people 18 or older admit to binge drinking in the past month

As with most other drugs, this substance also leads to sometimes debilitating addiction, or alcohol use disorder (AUD). NSDUH reports:

  • 1 million Adults age 18 or older suffered from AUD in 2015
  • 8 million of them were men
  • 3 million were women
  • 623,000 adolescents age 12-17 years old had AUD

All 50 states in America have been hit hard by the alcohol epidemic at some point or another. One reason the outbreak of this drug has been so tragic is because in so many places it has become social acceptable for people to consume alcohol!

In fact, many have minimized the use of alcohol or even celebrated it! In several communities around the country there are all-out events where drug use is actually publicly promoted! Events like “Craft Beer Fest” or the infamous “Oktoberfest” have become hotbeds for excessive abuse of this incredibly hazardous substance. Young adults often talk about getting “wasted”, “tipsy” or “turnt” as slang for ingesting such high levels of the drug they are inebriated.

Alcohol Related Deaths

According to data collected by the federal government, alcohol is the second deadliest drug in America. If you combine:

  • Heroin- connected to almost 13,000 overdose deaths in 2015
  • Prescription opioids– 22,598 overdose deaths

You still have less than half of the deaths of alcohol. In fact, an estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol related causes every single year!

Because of binge drinking and other risk behaviors, mild to moderate alcohol overdose has almost become far too common. Beyond that, there are numerous ways this deadly drug has contributed to an inordinate number of deaths over hundreds of years! On a global scale, the alcohol drug is the leading risk factor in premature death and disability.

  • In 2012, 3.3 million deaths in the whole world were alcohol related
  • 2013, 45.8% of liver disease deaths for individuals 12 and older were alcohol related
  • In 2013, 47.9% of all cirrhosis deaths were alcohol related

The health effects of the alcohol epidemic are very real.

Alcohol Epidemic Hurts Others

It isn’t just the people who use this lethal drug that suffer from the adverse effects of the alcohol epidemic. Even the people are the users are often put in serious danger. For example, driving while under the influence of the alcoholic drug has been a very severe problem for a long time.

  • In 2014, over 31% of driving fatalities were alcohol related- 9,967 deaths

Also, public health officials from all over America have stood up to expose other terrible effects of alcohol use. Alcohol use also has a great deal of influence on:

  • Domestic abuse
  • Sexual assault

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) 90% of acquaintance rape and sexual assault on college campuses involves alcohol use by the victim, the assailant or both.

  • Violent crime

To that point, in 2010 sources indicated that more than 4.6 million emergency room visits were alcohol related.

  • 40% of violent crime is alcohol related.
  • 37% of current convicted offenders in jails admit to being on alcohol during their arrest

The War on Alcohol?

So with such glaring instances of the impacts of alcohol use on Americans, and young people in particular, surely drug policy officials and politicians are aggressively pursuing legislation to engage in a full on War on Alcohol, like they have with the War on Drugs, right?

Well… not so much.

It may come as a shock, but U.S. federal and state officials seem to think banning alcohol is out of the question! Citing the past attempts at alcohol prohibition as a major failure that instigated higher crime rates, while also claiming the vital part alcohol production and sales play in the economy, lawmakers seem content with allowing the drug to remain in circulation.

Thankfully officials are still willing to provide emergency response services to individuals who have overdosed on alcohol or been injured in alcohol-related accidents. While city officials are fighting for the option to deny the overdose antidote Narcan to opioid users who overdose multiple times, none of these officials seem to believe alcohol related illness or drunk driving accidents should be ignored the same way.

Drunk driving in many areas on multiple occasions does constitute jail time, but it seems being in possession of one of the deadliest drugs in America still doesn’t come with a mandatory minimum sentence. The Alcohol epidemic seems to have avoided a lot of the stigma that other drugs are held to, yet experts insist more should be done to decrease the astonishing rates of alcohol abuse and addiction.

Alcohol may be legal, and it may be more mainstream than most drugs, the alcohol epidemic in this nation is still a very real threat. The fact it is legal and easily accessible makes the problem so much more serious. This article isn’t meant to demonize alcohol, but it is meant to point out the severity of alcohol use and the damage that comes with it. Maybe this kind of perspective can also diminish the stigma attached to other illicit addictions, if we are willing to acknowledge the similarities.

Alcohol is more dangerous than people give it credit, and alcohol addiction is incredibly dangerous.

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Should It Be Illegal to Deny a Pregnant Woman a Drink?

Should It Be Illegal to Deny a Pregnant Woman a Drink?

(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)

Author: Shernide Delva

Until last week, bars in New York could refuse to serve pregnant women alcohol, or ban them from entering. Some restaurants even refused to serve raw fish to pregnant women. However, thanks for updated guidelines released last week by the city’s Human Rights Commission, pregnant women will now have a choice.

But should they?

The city’s Human Rights Commission aims to eliminate all forms of discrimination against pregnant women. Expectant mothers can now decide to eat or drink whatever they want, and establishments who deny them can be penalized. This new law raises an important question all throughout the nation: Should pregnant women be denied the right to drink?

For some, the answer might seem obvious. Of course, pregnant women should not be allowed to drink! After all, it has been proven that alcohol increases the likelihood of birth defects and developmental issues. Drinking alcohol during pregnancy can increase the risk of a premature birth and result in negative outcomes.

Risks of alcohol consumptions during pregnancy include:

  • Distinctive facial features. The newborn may have a small head, flat face, and narrow eye openings. These differences become more apparent by age 2 or 3 years old.
  • Learning and behavioral problems
  • Growth Problems: Children exposed to alcohol may develop slower than other kids of the same age
  • Birth Defects
  • Problems bonding and feeding

Despite these risks, the answer is not that simple. Some argue that denying pregnant women the right to drink undermines the right she has to choose what she does with her body. The argument points to Roe vs. Wade and pro-choice as reasons to why a woman should be able to make the personal choice of drinking or not drinking while pregnant.

“Judgments and stereotypes about how pregnant individuals should behave, their physical capabilities, and what is or is not healthy for a fetus are pervasive in our society and cannot be used as a pretext for unlawful discriminatory decisions in employment, housing, and public accommodations,” say the new guidelines.

The guidelines were created to help clarify a 2013 city law designed to protect pregnant women in the workplace. The law specifies that it is illegal to refuse to hire or promote someone because they are pregnant. It also states that it is unlawful to deny an application from a pregnant applicant.

“Accommodation of Pregnant women cannot be a favor,” said Azadeh Khalili, executive director of the Commission on Gender Equity. “It is a human right and the law in New York City.”

These two laws seem reasonable to the average person. After all, it would be a clear form of discrimination to stop a woman from working or living in a home because she made the choice to have kids. However, the new law is taking discrimination to a whole new level by stating that restaurant and bars should not have the right to refuse a pregnant woman a drink.

Still, the subject of whether a moderate amount of alcohol is “safe” for pregnant women to drink has been hotly debated for decades. While we mentioned some of the risks of drinking while pregnant, those outcomes typically come from heavy drinking consumption. No confirmed evidence shows that an occasional drink will do harm to unborn babies, especially after the first trimester.

In February, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged sexually active women to stay away from alcohol unless they were on birth control. They stated that any amount of alcohol consumed during pregnancy could raise the risk of a fetus being born with developmental issues. Many women were not happy about these recommendations. Despite these warnings, studies show that 1-15% of women still drink a little alcohol during pregnancy.

Clearly, this whole topic is a controversial manner. Many argue that women are discriminated only once they look pregnant, meaning that women who are newly pregnant can make the choice to drink while those who are months along are denied alcohol. Since the most significant damage is done in the first trimester, denying pregnant women alcohol may not prevent as much harm.

Overall, study after study reveal drinking during pregnancy is not the best idea. It is always best to put the health of your baby first, rather than take the risk of any complications. Whether or not restaurants and bars should have a  say in the manner is a topic that is yet to be fully explored. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

Many States Banning New Powdered Alcohol Product Palcohol

Many States Banning New Powdered Alcohol Product Palcohol

Author: Shernide Delva

More and more states are banning the powdered substance known as “the Kool-Aid for underage drinkers.’ The substance, Palcohol, is essentially a powdered version of alcohol intended to be mixed with beverages like soda or fruit juice. One six ounce packet of Palcohol is equivalent to one standard mixed drink.

Although Palcohol was approved by the Alcohol U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau last year, it became the focus of intense scrutiny. Legislators to child advocates alike were pushing to ban this substance from being sold in stores. One of the biggest concerns is the product getting into the hands of children. Also, since the product is in powdered form, it can be snorted, added to energy drinks, and given to people unknowingly. All of these are real dangerous risks.

Over half the country has already banned the substance. Now, California is joining those states in banning Palcohol, fearing the potential danger it poses to youth looking for a cheap buzz. The maker of the product, Lipsmark LLC, is fighting an uphill battle as more and more states jump on the bandwagon.

On Monday, legislation in California to ban the substance received unanimous support from the state’s Senate Appropriations Committee, which determined that banning the product in California would not impose “any significant state cost to taxpayers,” state Senator Bob Huff, who authored the bill, told the Orange County Breeze.

Palcohol has yet to hit any shelves in the United States, and already the product has been banned and raised controversy from legislators to child advocates. Everyone is bracing for the worse possible outcome:

“This product must not be allowed to reach store shelves,” said Huff. “It presents an array of potential health problems as it can be snorted, added to energy drinks, slipped to unknowing recipients, or even added to beverages already containing alcohol in an attempt to create a dangerously potent concoction.”

Furthermore, a 2013 study conducted by the U.S Centers for Disease Control revealed the “societal cost” of binge drinking was $32 billion for one year. A product like Palcohol could contribute to those costs and result in more problems. Allowing young people to have access to a product like Palcohol does have potentially harmful side effects.

Similar alcohol products exist in other countries, and now Palcohol is determined to be the first in the United States. The website offers no timeline as to when Palcohol will hit the market for now.   The powder will come in packets that include flavors such as:

  • Cosmopolitan
  • Powderita – tastes just like a Margarita
  • Lemon Drop

All packets will contain the same alcohol content as one shot of alcohol. Currently, the website states there is not a set date for the product’s release. However, this may change shortly. The website promotes the product as product of convenience. The owner, Mark Phillips, created it while hiking.  Phillips did not want to carry any other liquor other than water. After a long hike, Phillips craved an adult beverage and thought of how great it would be for him to have packets he could easily carry along with him. The idea eventually led to Palcohol.

Although Phillips’ idea does not seem ill-intended, products like these lend easily to abuse. There are too many people who are struggling with binge drinking.  This product should at least be a monitored carefully before its release. What do you think?

Products like Palcohol offer convenience for the moderate drinker, however, can be dangerous to those who suffer from substance abuse.  Therefore, caution behind products like this is warranted. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.

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