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Author: Justin Mckibben
Alcoholism is a term that has been around for quite a long time, but over the generations it has been understood and treated in a variety of ways. Perhaps as the world and society evolves, so does the average alcoholic.
Either way you look at it, alcoholism is a very real threat. National surveys of recent years indicate:
- Nearly 19 million people in the US abuse alcohol, or have an addiction to it.
- In Europe, it’s estimated that 23 million people are dependent on alcohol
- Estimates say more than two million deaths resulting from alcohol consumption a year internationally
History of Alcoholism
The term “alcoholism” was first used by a Swedish professor of medicine, Magnus Huss (1807-1890). Huss turned the phrase in 1849, to mean poisoning by alcohol. While today “alcohol poisoning” is a more direct classification, alcohol-ism is still a poison in the lives of those who is touches.
Huss distinguished between two types of alcoholism:
Huss’s definition says this is the result of the temporary effects of alcohol taken within a short period of time, such as intoxication. Basically, it is having too much to drink.
This Huss calls a pathological condition through the habitual use of alcoholic beverages in poisonous amounts over a long period of time. A pretty innovative idea, and something that would be debated for over a century.
Since 1849, the definition has changed endlessly.
Establishing a definitive “alcoholism” definition is difficult as there is little unanimity on the subject. The reason for such a variety of definitions is the different opinions each authority holds, and the year the definition was formed. We have the strictest definition the dictionary provides:
- An addiction to the consumption of alcoholic liquor or the mental illness and compulsive behavior resulting from alcohol
We also have the concept presented by the book Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), which gives stories of struggle and strength, experience and hope; the lives of many alcoholics who developed a manner of living through a plan of action rooted in 12 Steps. Here alcoholism is often described as a “physical compulsion coupled with a mental obsession”. The disease model of alcoholism has evolved overtime.
Early on 12 Step fellowships like AA were cautious about trying to label the medical nature of alcoholism. However, many members believe alcoholism is a disease. In 1960 Bill Wilson, one of the founders of AA, explained why they had refrained from using the term “disease,” stating:
“We AAs have never called alcoholism a disease because, technically speaking, it is not a disease entity. For example, there is no such thing as heart disease. Instead there are many separate heart ailments or combinations of them. It is something like that with alcoholism. Therefore, we did not wish to get in wrong with the medical profession by pronouncing alcoholism a disease entity. Hence, we have always called it an illness or a malady—a far safer term for us to use.”
These days, the classification of disease is commonly applied to alcoholism or addiction. Some have called them brain disorders. While some dispute the disease label, many believe it is the truest portrayal of alcohol addiction in the most severe form. The idea of alcoholism being a disease has been around since as early as the 18th century.
Many of the more up-to-date medical definitions do describe it as a disease. These definitions say the alcohol problem is influenced by:
- Social factors
Treatment of Alcoholism
When asking how treatment for alcoholism is important, there are a few specifically important elements to consider. When it comes to health risks of trying to quit cold turkey, it can be a lot more painful or dangerous than you think. Also, lasting recovery has a lot more to do with learning new coping skills and behaviors than just giving up the substance.
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome occurs when the central nervous system (CNS) becomes overly excited. Alcohol suppressing the activity in the CNS, so the abrupt absence of alcohol causes the CNS to jump into overdrive. In essence, your system starts overcompensating.
Alcohol withdrawal syndrome symptoms include:
The severity of the alcohol withdrawal syndrome can range from mild to very severe and even life-threatening.
Most treatment programs understand the importance of therapy at different levels. Group therapy helps people fighting addiction receive peer support. Individual therapy lets you work more intimately on these issues with a professional.
Holistic programs such as Palm Partners Treatment Program help you develop a personalized recovery plan to guide you in your treatment, setting benchmarks and goals while you are in treatment.
Some groups are more educationally-structured in order to teach you very important aspects for understanding the nature alcoholism, as well as ways to make major lifestyle changes. Holistic recovery is about more than surviving your struggle, but actually outlining a way you can thrive and move forward with healthy life skills. Finding the right treatment option can make all the difference in how you define your alcoholism, versus how you let it define you.
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By Cheryl Steinberg
It should come as no surprise that people will go to strange and extreme lengths to get their fix. Here are 10 crazy and gross ways that people get high or drunk, the first edition.
Prison-made wine, known as “pruno,” is made by convicts by taking leftover or even thrown-out food and putting it in a plastic bag to ferment. An example of just how gross and crazy it is to drink this stuff is the time, back in California in 2004, when a batch of pruno – made from potatoes, fruit, jelly, and ketchup caused an outbreak of botulism. The batch had been described as “magenta in color” and smelled like “baby poop.” Gross.
This root is brewed into a psychedelic tea that users drink and then become violently ill – like projectile-vomiting-ill. Sign me up.
#3. Hand Sanitizer
Desperate alcoholics have turned to drinking this gel-like substance for a buzz. It works, too. A large bottle of hand sanitizer is equivalent to 32 shots of vodka. Bottoms up!
No, not the brutal contact sport. Rugby is the brand name of solvent, specifically contact cement, which street kids in the Philippines huff in order to forget their troubles of homelessness and constant hunger. Some start as young as 8 years old.
Yes, we mean the reptiles. There’s the case of the prisoner who would catch, kill, and smoke lizards because he said it gave him an instant high and even compared it to heroin. The inmate would remove the lizards’ internal organs, burn them, and then crush them up and smoke them in a cigarette. I’ll give him an ‘A’ for effort.
In Myanmar, there is a drug that’s basically a mixture of caffeine and meth. It comes in pill form, which its users burn and inhale. It’s called “the madness drug.” Pass.
#7. Fish (specific kinds)
“Dream fish,” certain tropical fishes that have hallucinogenic properties, are said to cause a similar trip to that of LSD. Except the hallucinations can last for days. Oh, and there is no antidote like there is for LSD. So, if you’re having a bad trip, you gotta just ride that b*tch out. No thanks.
Mothball addicts will huff, snort, or even eat mothballs, which are small balls of chemical pesticide and deodorant. This leads to adverse health effects, such as kidney and liver disease. The smell of mothballs reminds me of my grandparents’ house. Not really something I’d go to for a buzz.
#9. Toiletries and Cleaning Agents
In Russia, the price of alcohol has skyrocketed, causing many a desperate alcoholic to turn to alternative sources of alcohol, known as “surrogate alcohol use.” Enter aftershave and household cleaning products. This trend has led to numerous deaths. Hey, when the label says “for external use only,” they mean it.
#10. “Torpedo Juice”
American sailors during WWII would actually drink the fuel used in naval torpedo motors. After all, it was 180-proof grain alcohol! Once the Navy got wind of this, they added something called croton oil to the fuel to deter the sailors from drinking it because it caused nasty side effects, like diarrhea. I mean, who would want to be stuck on a ship in the middle of a war with a bad case of the ‘rrhea?! Not me.
The purpose of this blog is to be entertaining and informative. Here at Palm Partners, we know that addiction is a disease and not a choice. Therefore, addicts and alcoholics will take desperate measures to support their habit, even if it means doing things they never thought they’d do. If you are stuck in this kind of situation or you know someone else who is, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today.
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By Cheryl Steinberg
So, you’re clean and sober but, you might be blind-sided by some common things that most recovered people don’t realize. Here are 6 things you don’t realize about being an addict until you quit.
#1. You will experience cravings
We start off the list with this one because it’s probably the least surprising. What you might not realize, though, is that you might experience cravings from tie-to-time even years after you’ve quit drinking and drugging. PAWS, post acute withdrawal syndrome, is a set of symptoms – including physical cravings as well as cognitive issues, such as memory problems – that can last anywhere from two years to the rest of your life. The good news is that there are things you can do to alleviate PAWS symptoms.
#2. You’ll hear about your Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personalities – a lot
Once you get clean and sober, family members and loved ones might enjoy pushing the “it’s OK to talk about my past” envelope by telling – and re-telling stories – about what you were like when you were under the influence. More than likely, you will think that they are over-exaggerating but, then again, their memory is probably better than yours, ya know, due to all the junk in your system at the time. This leads to the next item…
#3. You will experience guilt and shame
First, as any human being would, you’ll look back on your days of active addiction and feel embarrassment, even guilt and shame. This is normal. However, it’s totally unproductive and could actually lead to relapse. So, first of all, you have to learn to forgive yourself so that you can continue to recover.
#4. People will assume you drink…
And will actually expect some kind of explanation about why you don’t. Because alcohol is such a socially-accepted drug – and it is a drug (one of the worst, I might add) – people, such as coworkers, neighbors, and the like, might invite you out for a casual drink. It’s completely up to you how you handle this. Some people might say, “Yeah, some other time” and then try to dodge those people. Others might just say they don’t drink. If you go this route, be prepared: you will most likely be met with questions about why you don’t imbibe. This can be awkward, especially if you don’t want to disclose that you’re in recovery from alcoholism. To most, it’s weird that someone just doesn’t drink; they want an answer, dammit!
#5. You will lose a lot of your friends
Well, let’s face it, these were more like drinking buddies than actual friends but, they were the people you spent most of your time with. Now that you’re not drinking, you won’t have a reason to hang out with them, which is a good thing, since it’s very important that you change people, places, and things when you stop drinking and using other drugs. Plus, you probably won’t even want to be around them, as our last item discusses…
#6. Active alcoholics and drunks will annoy the sh!t out of you
Being around drunk people or people stuck in the cycle of addiction will – plain and simple – really annoy you. First of all, drunk people are sloppy and either overly friendly or else belligerent. They probably tell you the same thing over and over again – in the course of the same night. Active alcoholics will annoy you with all their talk about all the excuses they have to keep drinking or how unhappy they are, yet they are unwilling to change.
If you are struggling with alcohol or other drugs and are willing to change, help is available. I know, it’s a scary thought to give up what you have become to rely on: your routine of substance abuse. And as they say, the devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know – basically, it refers to the fear of the unknown. Trust that recovery is possible and a much better, happier way of life. If you call toll-free 1-800-951-6135, you can speak directly with someone who has been there and who can answer your questions.
The life of the party can seem almost like two opposite sides of a coin when comparing living in sobriety with actively drinking or using drugs. As someone actively using drugs or drinking it can be this blurred vision of a frenzy of social connection. It can seem intense and dramatic, or glorified and abstract. In sobriety it can be a lot less dramatic and abstract.
When you’re sober at a party, you will probably pick up on some things you probably would over-look when intoxicated, and can even enjoy yourself a lot more. To relate it to personal and shared experience, these are 7 things you notice at parties when you’re sober.
1. Awkward Momentum
Sometimes you notice at a party that people who are drinking typically take some time to warm up to each other. Someone could come into the party alone and avoiding all conversation, but once they get a few drinks in them they become a social butterfly. This momentum is created when someone who may be social awkward needs a substance to let go of their reservations. They can go from the most quite person in the room, to a babbling ego-maniac in just a few drinks.
2. Dancing Disorder
People at parties getting wasted often suffer from a down-right embarrassing dancing disorder. You will notice when you’re sober that some people who have a little too much ‘party favors’ will develop this disorder quickly and without warning. They will ‘rage’ for hours on end in what typically look like displays of flopping around, hips shaking, and slurred singing to random songs. Sometimes it’s a blast to dance circles around them, but it’s always funny to watch and be grateful your sobriety can allow you to have much smoother moves.
3. Friendly Fights
Another typical situation you will encounter as a sober party goer is the frequent and spontaneous fights between friends that can break out over almost nothing! When you were drinking or using drugs, some of these fights probably seemed justified and even exciting. When you’re sober and not flexing your drunk-muscles you can usually see how pointless and annoying these fights can get. One guy spills another’s drink, and you might as well be in the roman coliseum.
4. Passed Out Party
When you’re sober at a party, and the night starts to wind down, you will probably notice more than anyone the amusing amounts of bodies accumulating on couches, beds, even tucked away in closets and bathrooms where party people retreat to sleep it off. It can be like a scavenger hunt trying to find your friends who have had a few too many and can’t keep themselves awake. Happy hunting!
5. Deep Drunken Dialog
Parties always have those people who get a little messed up and instantly become philosophers. This type of person usually uses alcohol or drugs to unlock the secret to life. Because nothing brings a party closer to unlimited knowledge of universal truth like poisoning their minds with chemicals, right? A sober individual can listen in on these lectures on intoxicated enlightenment and find the logic to be hilarious and sometimes just too ridiculous not to let it blow your mind. But if you don’t get it you’re just not deep enough.
6. Love… or Something Like It?
People who have plenty to drink often seem to get a little love-struck. It often comes in the form of repeated hugs and confessions of loyalty and affection. When people at a party get to that point, they find so many good reasons to love you, and you will NEVER understand how much you REALLY mean to them, because they know what they’re saying, even if they are too messed up to know WHO they are saying it to.
7. Surprised You’re Sober
Partiers who are drinking and using just don’t understand most times why you are not. You will probably notice the reactions people give you can vary in a wide range of shock, awe and sympathy, like this tragedy should not go over-looked or without investigation! Some people are almost offended you won’t drink with them, and others are just curious and come up with their own back-story as to why you wouldn’t be getting wasted; like it’s a trick question or a practical joke. No worries though, odds are they won’t remember it in 5 minutes and ask you if you want a drink anyway.
Sobriety creates a new perspective on a lot of life. Being in recovery gives us opportunities to experience all the excitement we looked for in active addiction with clarity, and sobriety has plenty of advantages when it comes to the party life. The party does NOT have to stop just because you get sober, and actually reaches new levels of excitement and lasting experiences. Many in recovery say they have more fun in sobriety than they ever had drinking and using, and they don’t have to endanger themselves or others to make it happen. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
At the ‘Nymphomaniac’ Premiere – 64th Berlinale International Film Festival
image via nypost.com
Yesterday we posted an article about Shia LaBeouf in which we wondered whether he was suffering from mental illness, substance abuse, or whether it was all part of his idea of “performance art.” Well, news broke this morning that LaBeouf, 27, has checked himself into rehab. So, it seems, we weren’t far off the mark; LaBeouf is indeed struggling with alcoholism – and perhaps as a result, some form of mental illness, as the two often go hand-in-hand.
With his latest brush with the law, being arrested for harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass after some highly-publicized drunken outbursts during the Broadway performance of Cabaret Thursday, it seems that LaBeouf has hit rock bottom. LaBeouf, carrying The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, checked into a Los Angeles rehab.
And, apparently this isn’t the first time that the actor has attempted recovery.
In the past, LaBeouf had spoken about how, as a child, he attended AA meetings with his father. As a teen, LaBeouf seemingly had no issues with alcohol or other drugs as there were no incidences to speak of. Instead, the former Disney child actor spent his time wisely, focusing on building quite the promising film career. However, in 2007, he was arrested at a Walgreen’s for what he described as “intoxicated” behavior, and a year later, was arrested on drunken driving charges; it seemed that the actor’s alcoholism was burgeoning.
That same year, in 2008, the National Enquirer reported that LaBeouf had picked up a chip to celebrate his 60 days of sobriety at an AA meeting in Los Angeles. Which is troubling because of the whole anonymity thing.
In 2011, the actor spoke openly about his substance abuse, telling Parade magazine that that he was an “alcoholic” after being involved in a bar brawl.
At this time, LaBeouf was said to be attending AA meetings rather frequently in both New York and L.A.
By the following year, however, there was growing concern regarding the actor’s sobriety as he was heard bragging about drinking moonshine and dropping LSD while “researching” movie roles.
More recently, LaBeouf seems to be upping the ante with his antics, all of which seemed to involve alcohol. There was the recent NYC bar brawl, which took place after the actor was seen downing margaritas. Then LaBeouf was seen chasing a homeless man through the park. Then the whole Cabaret incident. All the while, the actor has appeared more and more disheveled in appearance. It’s clear that LaBeouf is struggling with his alcoholism and that it’s taking its toll on his health and mental well-being.
Original story reads below.
What the hell is up with Shia LaBeouf? A child Disney star who seemed to have successfully made the transition to adult celebrity status, what with his roles in the blockbuster Transformers franchise and a role in the ever-popular Indian Jones series’ latest installment The Crystal Skulls, among other projects. As of late, LaBeouf has been acting like a righteous d-bag. We’re left wondering: is it mental illness, substance abuse, or is it all just an “act?”
The latest news involves the 27-year-old actor being tearfully led away by police from the Broadway production of Cabaret on Thursday evening, after he allegedly disrupted the performance by shouting loudly at the cast on stage during the show, smoking and smacking lead actor Alan Cumming on the butt.
While being escorted out of the theater by police, the actor hurled insults and profanities at police officers.
Due to his drunken display during the Broadway show and subsequent arrest, LaBeouf was arraigned in Midtown Community Court on Friday. He was charged with harassment, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass following the incident. Reports describe the actor as “bleary-eyed and unkempt” as he was released from custody by the New York Police Department on Friday morning.
LaBeouf’s bizarre behavior in New York City is just the latest in a string of outbursts from the former clean-cut Disney Channel star.
And a week before his Broadway stunt, LaBeouf apparently almost got into an altercation outside a strip club in New York City. TMZ’s website posted a short video clip Sunday, showing LaBeouf bouncing around as if he’s getting ready to throw punches at another man; LaBeouf appears to be taunting an unidentified man but then quickly walks away after an exchange of words.
Even his former co-stars have been expressing concerns for LaBeouf. Siobhan Fallon Hogan, who starred in Holes with Shia, told The Metro: “I think there’s a ton of pressure when you’re in the acting business. It’s hard growing up acting – being a child actor. There’s so much pressure to act the right way. There’s so much attention from the press that, if you make one wrong move, it’s under a microscope. I can see that being hard for him.”
LaBeouf made headlines in February after he wore a paper bag over his head with “I am not famous anymore” scrawled on it at a Berlin film conference, saying that it was an act of “performance art.”
Perhaps the most memorable cringe-worthy incident involving LaBeouf occurred December of last year when it came to light that the actor ripped off graphic novel writer Daniel Clowes when he released the short film, HowardCantour.com, but passed it off as his own work.
What made matters worse was LaBeouf’s reaction to being exposed a plagiarist, as he issued a series of bizarre apologies. Most notable was the one in which he hired a skywriter to write “I am sorry Daniel Clowes” in the Los Angeles sky on New Year’s Day, which the actor then promptly snapped and tweeted along with three definitions of the word ‘cloud.’
In a tweet, he blames his plagiarism on his alcohol use: “I lifted the text, probably in one of my drunken stupors, probably approximately about a year ago.”
LaBeouf is due in court on July 24.
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.