Archive for: Addiction Recovery

Teen Binge Drinking

Something for nothing does not exist in this world. Not spiritually, not emotionally, not financially. The easy-and-free feeling that comes from ingesting massive amounts of alcohol? It comes, like everything else, with a price tag. Even outside of potentially disastrous context of addiction, binge drinking among teenagers has real consequences, cognitive (brain) consequences.

A recent study, (Binge Drinking May Affect Memory of Teens), shows that binge drinking, even among non-addicted teens, impairs spacial working memory. According to researcher Susan F. Tapert:

“Even though adolescents might physically appear grown up, their brains are continuing to significantly develop and mature, particularly in frontal brain regions that are associated with higher-level thoughts, like planning and organization. Heavy alcohol use could interrupt normal brain cell growth during adolescence, particularly in these frontal brain regions, which could interfere with teens’ ability to perform in school and sports, and could have long-lasting effects, even months after the teen uses.

Binge drinking, by the way, is defined as five or more drinks for a man or four or more drinks for a woman.

Alcohol Use and Women

Addiction to alcohol occurs at a much faster rate in women than in men who abuse alcohol. Women metabolize alcohol different than men and hormone levels in females may also make them more susceptible to alcohol’s effects. As a result of excessive alcohol use, certain types of medical complications can result and include:

  • Heart disease and related heart complications
  • Poor nutrition
  • Menstruation complications such as early menopause
  • Fertility and childbirth complications
  • Breast cancer
  • Liver problems
  • Osteoporosis
  • Cancer
  • Brain damage such as shrinkage of the brain and dementia
  • High death rate from suicide and accidents

If you are concerned about your alcohol use or that of someone you care about, seeking the help of a professional who specializes in substance abuse treatment could be lifesaving.

Prescription Painkillers Drive 91% Increase in Teen Poisoning Deaths

A new report released by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) provides a chilling statistic driven by teenage prescription drug use. Almost twice as many teens died from poisoning in 2009 compared to 2000. The reason for the alarming increase, according to the report, is an increase in teen use of prescription painkillers like Demerol, Percocet, Vicodin, and Oxycodone. These powerful painkillers are opiates, classed in the same category of drugs as heroin. They are highly addictive and extremely dangerous.

Expanding the Pinnacle Counseling team!

There are exciting things happening at Pinnacle Counseling. We have updated our website to feature the new additions to our counseling staff, Rachel Nachtigal, LPC and Joel Gray, LPC. They are proud members of the Pinnacle Counseling team, both specializing in Mental Health and Relationship Counseling.

You can follow all of the news straight from the source by checking out our website at Or by following us on twitter at @Pinnacle_Cares or liking us on facebook at So check them out and get to know us better. We look forward to hearing from you.

What is a Drinking Problem?

Ever have a fight about whether or not you have a drinking problem? If you have, that should be your first sign that you might have one. Here are a couple of the others:

  • You’ve decided to stop drinking for a week, but cannot manage to do so.
  • You regret something you may have done as a result of drinking.
  • You wish people would just stop talking about your drinking.
  • You envy people who can drink without getting into trouble.
  • You “black out” or have difficulty remembering things you’ve done while drinking.
  • You’ve done drugs or engaged in other dangerous behaviors while drinking alcohol.
  • Others have noticed that you consistently seem very different when drinking (unusually happy, emotional, angry, relaxed).

Try not to get caught up in the stigma attached to alcohol abuse. No one chooses to have an alcohol problem.

You can find help here: Addiction Treatment

Check out our newest welcome video

As just one new feature of the Pinnacle website, we now have a new welcome video. The short clip explains who we are as a mental healthcare team and why we are proud of what we do at Pinnacle Counseling. For more information, click here to view the clip and we look forward to seeing you soon.

Drugged Driving

Although fatalities from automobile accidents are declining, a recent traffic analysis from the Department of Transportation (DOT) indicates that 33% of drivers killed in such accidents in 2010 tested positive for illicit drugs. The most popular among these drugs were prescription grade opiates / opiods (Vicodin, Hydrocodone, Oxycontin), benzodiazepines (Xanax, Valium, Clonipin). The illicit drug most frequently implicated in traffic fatalities: marijuana.

Society has become familiar with the terrible consequences of driving under the influence of alcohol.  However, many do not realize the hazards of driving under the influence of drugs and medications. The drugs listed above, including those prescribed by a physician, can impair judgment, motor skills, reaction time, and perception, all of which are essential to operating a vehicle safely. Recent surveys by the DOT show that roughly one in four fatalities in accidents test positive for illegal prescription drugs.

Drugged driving poses threats to public safety, as evidenced by the number of fatal accidents on our highways each year. Public education combined with successful substance abuse/education programs can help family members, friends, and loved ones reduce drugged driving.

Going green to support National Mental Illness Awareness Week

Pinnacle Counseling is proudly going green in support of National Mental Illness Awareness Week from Monday, October 7th – Friday, October 11th. Although there are many things you can do to show your support for National Mental Illness Awareness Week, the number one thing every single person can do is to help spread awareness to stop the stigma of mental illness. Starting the conversation is the first step to reaching out and supporting your loved ones as they seek help in a struggle with any sort of mental illness or mental health issue can be remarkably beneficial. At Pinnacle Counseling, we are ready to help you on your journey to becoming more mentally healthy. Check back throughout the week for more posts to help spread the word about the importance of mental health awareness.


Erika McCaghren


The myth of hitting bottom

Alcoholics frequently deny their addiction to alcohol. Problem drinkers who acknowledge that alcohol has negatively impacted their lives still resist suggestions that they change their behaviors. What their family or loved ones see as a problem, alcoholics may see as a preference, a lifestyle choice. So they continue to drink despite increasingly negative consequences. Untreated, their alcoholism may cause them to lose their families, friends, jobs, money, and physical and mental health.

This is called hitting bottom. Bottom: the place where the alcoholic has lost it all. It is only after hitting bottom, the myth of hitting bottom tells us, that the alcoholic will be willing to see the truth about their addiction. Only then will they realize that what they thought was a preference is really a life threatening problem.

This pervasive myth has resulted in unnecessary suffering for many alcoholics and their families. The bottom for many alcoholics is the point at which they entered an inpatient or outpatient drug treatment program. Maybe they were told by a loved one that the nagging would stop if they went in for an evaluation. Maybe they received an ultimatum.

It doesn’t matter how someone gets into treatment. Treatment for drug and alcohol addiction works. It is possible even for those who don’t see their behaviors as destructive to come to realize that change is necessary.


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