Stay Cool and Safe this Summer

photo-1506359585186-16ff29581308

Today marks the first day of summer, finally bringing an end to a long and harsh Chicago winter and spring. While summer brings warm weather and longer days, it also brings some dangers.

Adolescents & Substance Use

For many adolescents, summer means an end to school. Long days are filled with free time without any classwork or after-school activities. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, first time use of most substances peaks during June and July. The exact cause is unknown; however, many point to the sudden swell of free time students have during the summer. If you have teenagers, be sure to talk to them about the harms of substance use, maintain a regular work or chore schedule and encourage them to participate in summer activities, like camps.

Accidents

Rates of car accidents are the highest during summer months, with June, July and August seeing the highest rates, particularly on weekends.

People  also partake in more outdoor and water activities with friends. Participants in outdoor water activities are at an increased risk of fatal injuries such as drowning, especially when alcohol is involved. According to a variety of studies, nearly a majority of people who drown while participating in outdoor water activities consumed alcohol. Studies also show the risk of death associated with recreational boating increases 10-fold compared to people who have not been drinking, with even minor amounts of alcohol increasing the risk of death or injury.

Health Risks

It’s patio and rooftop season and people will spend longer periods of time outside in the warmer weather. With this heat wave comes a tide of festivals and events. All of which tends to be accompanied by drinking. Like heat, alcohol draws water from your body, so be sure to stay extra hydrated and prepare for extended time in the sun.

Spot Symptoms of the Other, High Functioning National Crisis

hunters-race-408744-unsplash

The opioid crisis has been staking headlines across national and local media, but another substance has been quietly taking lives by the thousands for years: alcohol.

In 2016, more than an estimated 64,000 people died from drug overdose; meanwhile, an average of 88,000 have died from alcohol-related causes every year.

Alcohol use has been more normalized compared to other substance use. Because alcohol has become ingrained in mainstream American culture, it has become harder for people to distinguish between someone who enjoys having drinks in moderation and a person who is suffering from alcohol addiction. Further, the stereotype of an “alcoholic” at rock bottom who drinks all day and can’t hold a job does not reflect the vast majority of people living with alcohol use disorders.

One of those people could be your boss, who comes to work on time every morning, cleanly shaven and impeccably dressed, and finishes every task—then goes home and drinks bottles and bottles of beer. Or your neighbor down the street, who juggles raising kids and working a full-time job while never missing a single one of their games, but drinks an entire bottle of wine after putting them to bed.

The reality is that we all most likely know someone struggling with or affected by alcohol addiction. About 16 million people in the United States have alcohol use disorder, ranging from mild to severe. However, less than 15 percent of people receive any treatment.

Alcohol does not affect everyone the same way and every addiction story is different, but these 11 questions can help you distinguish whether enjoying drinks in moderation has turned into a problem:

1.) Are you drinking more alcohol, or for longer, than you originally intended?

2.) Are you having unsuccessful efforts to cut back or quit?

3.) Are you spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from the effects of drinking?

4.) Are you experiencing cravings for alcohol?

5.) Are you having issues with carrying our roles at home or at school or at work because of alcohol?

6.) Have you continued drinking even though it was causing problems with loved ones?

7.) Are you getting into dangerous situations (like driving intoxicated or having unsafe sex) while or after drinking?

8.) Have you continued to drink even after experience negative side effects, such as depression, anxiety, and memory blackouts?

9.) Have you stopped participating in activities that were once enjoyable and drink instead?

10.) Do you have to increase the amount of alcohol consumed to feel the same effects as before?

11.) Do you have withdrawal symptoms after the effects of alcohol wear off, including shaking, trouble sleeping, anxiety, depression, nausea, or restlessness?

There are three categories for severity of alcohol use disorder: mild, moderate, and severe. Even if you or someone you care about is experiencing a mild case—the presence of two to three symptoms—seek out professional help.

And this April, Alcohol Awareness Month, let’s all reconsider the use of alcohol in our lives.

Gateway Rehab Applauds FDA for Breakthrough Thinking in Alcoholism Treatment

alcoholism, drinking alcoholThis February, the FDA suggested new guidelines for drug makers interested in developing treatments for alcoholism. In a groundbreaking departure from conventional thinking, the guidelines would give drug companies the green light to develop treatments that help patients stay within “low-risk” daily alcohol limits.

Presently, the goal of pharmaceutical treatments for alcoholism is total abstinence from drinking alcohol.

In a February 11 bloomberg.com post, FDA spokesman Eric Pahon explained that abstinence-based endpoints are often unattainable in a clinical trial, which can hinder the development of drugs to treat alcoholism. “Reducing heavy drinking to within ‘low-risk’ daily limits presents an alternative goal in drug development so more treatments may be developed,” Pahon said.

John Larson, M.D., Corporate Medical Director of Gateway Alcohol and Drug Treatment Centers, agrees. “While complete avoidance of alcohol is necessary for some to achieve meaningful recovery, there are others whose lives could greatly benefit from treatment that successfully reduces the amount and frequency of alcohol use without requiring total abstinence. These new FDA guidelines could aid in the discovery of whole new categories of medications that could do just that,” said Dr. Larson.

The Need for New Medications

There are currently three categories of drugs sold to treat alcoholism. In addition to having limitations, these medications are only effective for some.

Despite this, no new medications have been introduced into the alcohol treatment market in nearly ten years. Reaching the high bar of total sobriety in a clinical trial consistently proves elusive.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) acknowledges more medications are needed to serve the broader population. Dr. Raye Litten, associate director of the agency’s Division of Treatment and Recovery Research, believes more treatments will enable more patients to find one that works for them.

The FDA proposal identifies alcoholism as continued drinking despite physical and psychosocial consequences. The agency said an alcoholism drug should ultimately improve those consequences, which can be done via total sobriety or a reduction in alcohol use.

Michael Darcy, Gateway’s CEO & President, backs this thinking. He said, “It seems the substance abuse disorder field is the only profession that claims a 100% rate of no relapses as the criteria for success. I hope this (new) notion will lead to a more realistic view of success.”

To learn more about treatment options for alcohol abuse issues, or our free, confidential consultation, call Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers today at 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Health Problems: Is Alcohol at the Heart of the Matter?

Alcohol health problems, gateway treatment centersAccording to the U.S. National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 28 percent of American adults drink at levels that put them at risk for alcohol dependence and alcohol-related health problems. Yet the risks associated with heavy drinking, such as high blood pressure and congestive heart failure, are seemingly overlooked.

The scary thing is people may never feel the symptoms of menacing health issues related to alcohol use. That’s why an annual physical should never be considered complete without  a screening for substance abuse issues. And, when required, doctors need to initiate brief interventions to motivate positive change. Screening and brief intervention may be provided in an office, emergency department or inpatient visit for both new and established patients, and is a reimbursable service.

Medical professionals are in a unique position to play a key role in increasing awareness of risks associated with alcohol abuse, including:

  • Long-term alcohol consumption can lead to changes in the way the brain looks and cognitive functioning.
  • Alcohol abuse is a frequent contributor to elevated blood pressure.
    • Heavy consumption may weaken the immune system. Excessive alcohol consumption can lead not only to liver damage, but also to increased illness and death from infectious diseases, including pneumonia, tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and septicemia.
    • Alcohol consumption is associated with a range of mental health problems, including:
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Personality disorders
  • Risk-taking behaviors
  • Schizophrenia
  • Suicidal thoughts and actions

Learn More About the Effects of Alcohol Abuse>

Moderate Drinking Defined

To remain within the low-risk range, medical professionals should advise adherence to accepted moderate drinking guidelines.

For women, moderate drinking is defined by USDA as up to 1 drink per day; low-risk limits set by National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recommend no more than 3 drinks per day and no moderate drinking, gateway alcohol and drug treatment centersmore than 7 drinks per week.

For men, moderate drinking is defined by USDA as up to 2 drinks per day; low-risk limits set by NIAAA recommend no more than 4 drinks per day and no more than 14 drinks per week.

For adult and adolescents who need help with alcohol and/or drug abuse issues, Gateway offers convenience as an in-network treatment provider with centers throughout Illinois and the St. Louis Metro East area. With substance abuse treatment programs offered before and after traditional work hours, getting help doesn’t require falling behind at work or school. To schedule a free and confidential consultation, please call Gateway at 877-505-HOPE (4673).

 

 

I Need Help for an Alcohol or Drug Abuse Problem

Do you ever feel guilty following heavy drinking/drug use? Do you drink or use drugs to help you unwind after work? Have you ever thought about cutting down on your alcohol/drug consumption?

help for substnace abuse, drug problem, alcohol problemPeople often believe their alcohol/drug usage is under control until something bad happens, such as a DUI or hospitalization.

If your unhealthy habits are causing problems at home or affecting your performance at work, Gateway has the answers you need to overcome substance abuse. The dedicated staff will be with you every step, making sure you receive the treatment, guidance and support for lasting recovery. In treatment, you will learn healthier coping skills and how to confront problems in your personal life. Think about the possibilities with a fresh start.

Individual Needs Come First at Gateway

Gateway gives you the power to get your life back on track. Along the path to recovery we want every person to know that they are not alone. Our experienced team of substance abuse experts is here to provide support and guidance, every step of the way. Rest assured, or dedicated counselors and team of clinicians work hard to understand each person’s unique needs and circumstances.

Through personalized treatment, we learn the underlying causes of one’s addiction, so recovery may begin.

At Gateway Treatment Centers, we provide the most advanced treatment options, which include clinically proven evidence-based therapies. Our goal is to empower people by providing them with the tools and knowledge they need to support their lasting recovery.

Learn more about Gateway’s substance abuse treatment for Men, Women and Teens.

Gateway Foundation Shares Tips on Discussing Substance Abuse with a Loved One

If you are concerned that someone you care about has a substance abuse problem, it can be extremely worrisome as well as challenging to confront the issue. In approaching a loved one with an issue with substance abuse, the key is to choose your words and moment carefully when telling him or her how you feel. Ideally, pick a time when he or she is sober and when both of you are feeling calm.Discussing Substance Abuse

  • Begin the dialog in an open, caring and supportive frame of mind. Anything less and the dialog may not go as planned.
  • Avoid a moralistic tone about substance abuse. It is better to focus on the consequences that you have observed for the person and for his or her family.
  • Plan what you are going to say. This can be an emotionally charged conversation. Script out what you’d like to say, and go over it—it will help keep you on track.

This is not the time to demand your loved one stop abusing alcohol or drugs. The goal is simply to acknowledge that you believe your loved one needs substance abuse treatment and that you can help with entering treatment.

  • State calmly that you believe drug or excessive alcohol use is occurring; provide the evidence, and what you want the person to do about it.
  • Be supportive and truly listen to his or her responses, but be firm in your course of action and refuse to argue with the person.
  • Have a definite ‘next step’ plan in mind, including a contact person at available treatment center and telephone numbers so you can proceed if he or she should agree to substance abuse treatment.

If you have questions about alcohol or drug use of someone you care about, Gateway Foundation has the answers you need. For a free and confidential consultation, contact Gateway Foundation at (877) 505-HOPE (4673).

%d bloggers like this: