Archive for: Addiction

Drug Use and Abuse: A Christian Perspective

Drugs affect our ability to perceive our surroundings. Our senses, in addition to the entire Universe and everything in it, were created by God as an expression of infinite compassion, love, and creativity. Our challenge, as humans, is to use our perceptions to determine our our place in God’s creation. Senses act in cooperation with Spirit to help us determine right from wrong, good from bad, to help us live Christ-like lives.

When we abuse drugs, we are trying to improve God’s creation in a way that leads us away from God’s Truth. It is a short-cut, an attempt to cheat. We are not supposed to feel good just because we want to to. The service of self is simply not a step toward closer communion with the Creator.

 

CDC Study Reveals High Prevalance of Binge Drinking

A new study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported a significant increase in the number of U.S. adults who regularly binge drink. Binge drinking is defined as the consumption of five or more drinks on a single occasion for men or four or more drinks on a single occasion for women.

The most shocking revelation: one in six adults binge drink four on more times per month. The health consequences from this type of overindulgence can be significant. This type of drinking can also lead to dependency and addiction.

The complete study: CDC Vital Signs: Binge Drinking

What is Sexual Addiction?

Sexual addiction is real. It is a behavioral addiction rooted in brain chemistry. This does not mean that sex addicts are not responsible for their behavior. Like substance addictions (drugs and alcohol) or other behavioral addictions (gambling and gaming), recovery is possible. Lasting change is possible.

The Sexual Addiction Screening Test (SAST) is a tool developed to help professionals assist clients in determining the presence of addiction. Is this behavior a problem or an addiction? An important question.

Here’s a sample of the sort of things the SAST tests for. The presence of any of the following criteria may indicate sexual addiction:

  • Recurrent failure to resist sexual impulses despite negative consequences (emotional, financial, relational).
  • Persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to stop or alter sexual behaviors.
  • Preoccupation with sexual behavior or preparatory activities.
  • Need to increase intensity, frequency, or riskiness of sexual behaviors.
  • Other facets of life (recreational, family, social, career) are diminished due to sexual behaviors or the pursuit of sexual behaviors.
  • Feelings that sexual behaviors are compulsions rather than choices.

 

 

Long Term Physical Effects of Alcohol Addiction

The longer a person abuses alcohol over time, the chances for developing alcohol dependence and experiencing the effects of alcohol abuse increase dramatically. Physical alcohol dependence is characterized by withdrawal symptoms when alcohol consumption is interrupted, by tolerance to the effects of alcohol abuse and by the presence of alcohol related illnesses. The most severe form of alcoholism is alcohol dependency which can eventually lead to death. Years of alcohol consumption and abuse can affect many body organs. The liver does most of the work breaking down alcohol for the body. Alcohol destroys the liver’s ability to regenerate cells which leads to progressive inflammatory injury to the liver. Eventually cirrhosis of the liver occurs. Malnutrition can develop due to a reduction in appetite, consuming empty calories that are void of any nutritional value in alcohol and anadequate absorption of nutruents in the intestinal tract. Other long term effects of alcohol abuse include heart muscle damage, nerve damage, damage to the brain, heart problems, erectile dysfunction in men, insomnia, depression, pancreatitis-chronic inflammation of the stomach and digestive organs, high blood pressure, increased cancer risks and fetal alcohol syndrome in the offspring of alcoholic women. Getting treatment for alcohol addiction is the best way to stop these physical effects of alcohol addiction before they start or stop them from worsening if they have already begun.

Prescription Painkiller Abuse: Up 430% over the Last Decade

New research released last Thursday provides further evidence that the US is currently experiencing an epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse. Admission rates for alcohol and drug rehabilitation have remained stable over the last ten years. Rates for admission to detox and rehab for prescription painkiller (Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Opana, Vicodin) addiction have skyrocketed by 430 percent. These types of drugs, called opiates, produce powerful physical dependance in a relatively short span of time. They are extremely dangerous.

 

 

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.

You don’t always have to understand the problem to find the solution.

Individuals suffering from alcohol dependence frequently cycle through the same litany of questions. Why do I keep doing this? Why can’t I stop? Why can’t I just drink like other people? They feel certain that if they can understand the problem in the right way, the solution will present itself. And so, the cycle continues. Sometimes for years.

Tremendous personal energy is allocated to developing a theory that explains the behavior. Some of these theories may be valuable, some of them might even be close to the truth. But the real truth is that the reason why is not the problem. The problem is the drinking. And the solution is stopping.

 

 

You don't always have to understand the problem to find the solution.

Individuals suffering from alcohol dependence frequently cycle through the same litany of questions. Why do I keep doing this? Why can’t I stop? Why can’t I just drink like other people? They feel certain that if they can understand the problem in the right way, the solution will present itself. And so, the cycle continues. Sometimes for years.

Tremendous personal energy is allocated to developing a theory that explains the behavior. Some of these theories may be valuable, some of them might even be close to the truth. But the real truth is that the reason why is not the problem. The problem is the drinking. And the solution is stopping.

 

 

3 Common Mental Health Myths

Myth #1:  I am the only person having mental health or emotional problems.
Mental illness affects an average of about one in four adults in the United States(1), in total that means that about 57.7 million people in our country are affected by mental illness(2). Although you may feel like you are the only person you know struggling to cope with mental health issues of some kind, it is important to know that you are not alone.

Myth #2:  Addiction, substance abuse, and/or mental health issues are all my fault and make me a bad person.
There are multiple factors that affect the complex process of addiction, substance abuse, and mental health issues. Some of the factors include stress in your personal life, a diagnosed mental illness, lifestyle changes, difficulty in your family or relationships, or even habits of the individual. None of these factors are your fault or define you as a “good” or “bad” person.

Myth #3:  Mental illness or substance abuse only affects people of low socioeconomic status or people with a “bad childhood”.
Again, there are several factors that contribute to the cause of mental illness, but the childhood you had, job you have currently, or the money you make are not directly the cause of your mental health or substance abuse troubles. Mental illness does not discriminate and is not exclusive to any stereotypical group of people.

Erika McCaghren

 

Sources:
(1) Kessler, R.C., Chiu, W.T., Demler, O. & Walters, E.E. (June 2005). Prevalence, severity, and comorbidity of twelve-month DSM-IV disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication (NCS-R). Archives of General Psychiatry, 62(6), pgs. 617-627.
(2) U.S. Census Bureau Population Estimates by Demographic Characteristics. (June 2005). Table 2: “Annual Estimates of the Population by Selected Age Groups and Sex for the United States”: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2004 (NC-EST2004-02)

 

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