Drinking Alcohol and the 4th of July can be a Dangerous Combination

4th-of-july-drinking-alcoholThe 4th of July is a particularly special holiday, as Americans celebrate our country’s independence from Great Britain. Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers would like to remind you that drinking too much alcohol and getting behind the controls of a car, motorcycle or boat can cause you to lose your own personal freedoms…or worse.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 4th of July weekend is the deadliest holiday of the year due to alcohol-related traffic accidents. In the past 25 years, 51 percent of all deadly crashes over the 4th of July weekend have been alcohol-related.

But roadways do not present the only peril – waterways warrant similar precautionary measures. Keep in mind that, in a boat, it’s not just the alcohol consumption of the driver that raises concern; passengers who are drinking alcohol are more susceptible to injury or death from slipping or falling overboard and drowning.

As a special note of caution to parents, the number of underage people visiting hospital emergency departments nearly doubles over the 4th of July weekend due to drinking alcohol. Read More>

National Safety Month a Good Time to Talk to Teens about Drinking Alcohol and Drug Use

talking to teens, drinking alcohol, drug useJune is National Safety Month, which also coincides with the end of the school year. It’s a time of year when many young people have extra time on their hands and for some, temptation can be right around the corner.

In keeping with National Safety Month, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers would like to remind parents to talk with their kids about drinking alcohol and drug use.

Start the Conversation

The power of conversation should not be underestimated – adolescents really do listen to what their parents say about smoking, drinking alcohol and drug use. It can be a challenge to find the time to have a sit-down, face-to-face conversation with your children, but it’s well worth the effort. Once a conversation has been initiated, it should become an ongoing dialogue that you will revisit and reinforce over the years.

Communicating Effectively

Parents may be unsure how to begin talking to their children about alcohol and drugs. The following tips can help:

  • Listen to your child and respect what he or she has to say. A child who feels judged is less likely to share their concerns with you.
  • Be clear about your expectations of no drinking alcohol or drug use and let your child know these expectations will be enforced.
  • Talk about the dangers of drinking alcohol and drug use, including laws, potential repercussions and health-related outcomes.

Know the Dangers

The brain of an adolescent is not yet fully developed. Drinking alcohol damages the development of the executive function of the brain, which is how we make decisions, defer gratification, and plan now for a reward that’s down the road.

Marijuana also affects the development of the adolescent brain, causing changes that may result in learning issues, memory problems and IQ loss.

“If parents want their children to grow up to realize their full potential, they should not condone drinking alcohol or smoking pot,” explained Dr. John Larson, Gateway’s Corporate Medical Director.

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), following marijuana and alcohol, prescription and over-the-counter drugs have become the most commonly abused substances by Americans 14 and older. Once a person becomes dependent on opioids such as Vicodin and Oxycontin they may eventually switch to heroin because it is easier to access and much less expensive.

Many parents like to believe their child is not vulnerable to alcohol or drug abuse, but sadly, this isn’t so. There is a wide variety of alcohol and drugs available to young people, who are often just looking to have some fun. Establishing open communication is one of the most powerful tools parents have to positively influence their kids’ decisions, during National Safety Month, and throughout the year.

For a Parent’s Checklist for Talking to Teens about Drugs & Alcohol visit RecoverGateway.org/ParentChecklist

Expert Insights: Alcohol Consumption and its Effects on the Brain

By: Dr. John Larson
Corporate Medical Director
Gateway Treatment Centers

People enjoy drinking alcohol for many reasons, but no matter what the reason, its effects on a person’s brain, both short- and long-term, are profound. As a solvent, alcohol passes to the brain very quickly and can cause acute damage to living cells. Once a long-time drinker becomes sober, it may be years before those changes reverse themselves, if at all.

video-screen-larsonThe chemical and physical changes alcohol makes to the brain make it especially difficult to quit drinking alcohol, from a single drink or continued abuse of alcohol.
Reversing the Damage?

There is some evidence that continued abstinence from alcohol may bring some improvement in brain function. The brain is pretty resilient and is able to form new cells through neurogenesis. We don’t know to what extent the effects of alcohol on the brain can be reversed but what we do know, is that neurogenesis is stimulated by alcohol avoidance, exercise, good dietary habits and by simply using the brain…

Read Full Article or Watch Video

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

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).

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