Archive for: Alcohol

Monitoring the Future 2011 Results

The Monitoring the Future Survey has been administered to 8th, 10th, 12th grade students annually since 1975. The purpose of the anonymous survey is to establish baseline attitudes and behaviors concerning legal and illegal drugs. The survey seeks to determine how frequently (if at all) young people are using particular drugs and the attitudes about drugs, their perceived ill health impacts, for example, that accompany that use. 46,000 students participated in this year’s survey. Here are a few of the takeaways:

  • 1 in 15 young people smoke marijuana on a near daily basis (a 30-year high)
  • More 10th graders smoke marijuana than cigarettes
  • 1 in 9 students reported using synthetic marijuana in the last year
  • Poison control centers received 5,741 calls about synthetic marijuana last year
  • Teen drinking – including heavy drinking – are now at historically low levels

Check it out!

Addiction Counseling: First Things First

What is addiction counseling? What is it like? People who struggle with addiction issues often have great difficulty talking about their, use, misuse, or abuse of alcohol and other drugs. An addiction counselor is someone skilled at these types of difficult conversations. An addiction counselor has a high level of knowledge and experience in the areas of drugs, alcohol, and the abuse of drugs or alcohol. Most importantly, addiction counselors understand the complex ways that alcohol and drug abuse affect an individual’s relationships: with himself or herself, with a spouse, with an employer, with God. An addiction counselor seeks to build a trusting relationship with the client in the hopes that this relationship will help the client make changes that once seemed impossible.

 

Love yourself enough to seek help with addictions this Valentine's Day

There is no doubt that substance abuse and addiction is difficult during every season of the year. Once the rush of the holiday season, balancing work and holiday time off, and a long few days of travel to see friends and family is over; all that is left is getting back to ‘normal’. January is a month full of change and resolutions, so making time to cope with personal hardships (like addiction and substance abuse) is put at the bottom of your to-do list. As February approaches, the usual hustle of preparing for a magical and romantic Valentine’s Day for you and a significant other, spouse, or partner takes priority. This reveals the real question: is there ever time to get help for myself?

Realizing that you are important enough to get help is the first step on your journey to navigate out of the dark path of addiction and substance abuse to a healthier life. The problems associated with addiction and substance abuse seem to start out slowly and pick up speed in what seems like no time at all. Using and abusing substances affects your life, the life of your friends, family members, children, co-workers, and everyone else you interact with on a daily basis. What began as a coping method for stress or an activity during your downtime quickly becomes a lifestyle and the center point of many more problems. To take charge of the cycle of use and abuse of drugs and alcohol is often the hardest part of the recovery and healing process; and takes courage and support. The process of recovery requires resources to get the help that you need in order to control the substances that have a strong grip on your personal life. Mental health counseling and substance abuse treatment are the vital next steps in the process of your recovery. Overall, wanting to live your life as the healthiest and most well person you can be is reason enough to seek help for addictions for the holiday of celebrating love. Loving yourself enough to get help is a magical and romantic thing that can give you back a healthy fresh start to your relationship with yourse

Erika McCaghren

Almost Alcoholic? New Book Examines Problem Drinking

It’s a slippery slope that defines the differences between enthusiastic social drinker, binge drinker, problem drinker, and full-blown alcoholic. A new book, Almost Alcoholic: Is My (or My Loved One’s) Drinking a Problem? (The Almost Effect), examines the behaviors and consequences experienced by individuals described as “not quite” alcoholics. These individuals, subclinical alcoholics, are an emerging area of interest in the field of recovery and addiction studies.

What exactly is an almost alcoholic? Julie Silver, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School, provides the following description of a typical almost alcoholic:

The father who comes home from work, is stressed and drinks to alleviate stress, ends up getting tired, goes to bed earlier and isn’t all that helpful to his wife, helping with the kids, isn’t as present for his wife and kids as he needs to be. This is really impacting their ability to function…

Alcoholism is a progressive illness. Not every almost alcoholic will become a full-blown alcoholic, but every alcoholic was, at one time, a problem drinker. It is important for almost alcoholics to get honest with themselves about the costs and benefits of their drinking behavior.

Psychotherapy

The first word of this compound word says it all “psycho”. No one wants to be associated with something that is strange, difficult to handle, and perhaps the worst of all: a scary, new experience. If you were to ask a friend or family member what psychotherapy is, they would most likely say something about paying a lot of money to talk about problems (and that’s putting it nicely). If you were to ask a counselor or therapist, we would describe it as a chance to be heard, without judgment through the ears and eyes of a professional, in the comfort and safety of a confidential session. The talking part might be easy…or hard depending on how you view your problems. If providing a safe place where clients can talk about whatever it is that is troubling them is the job of the counselor, what is your job as a client in psychotherapy? What do you have to know before you even walk through the door? Most first time clients wonder how we expect you to tell everything that you are thinking and feeling after just meeting.

These are common questions that can be answered. A client simply has to make the appointment with a counselor or therapist and come ready for the experience. Okay…that may seem a bit more intimidating than helpful, but it’s the truth. If you are open to the experience of psychotherapy as something completely different and refreshing you are on the road to understanding what it is and how it works. Before you walk through the door, you should know that you are not alone. Every single person you pass on the street has a past, a story, a journey. That road is paved with troubles, hardships, and bumps that throw off your sense of balance as you walk the road. This is where you have to believe that there are trained professionals ready to help and to listen to you. Why would a counselor want to listen to all of the “bumps” along the way in your life? Because we are trained to provide the safe haven for you to explore the inner workings of what is really going on in your life. There is no façade, just a real and honest experience with another person to ensure that you don’t trip on the bumps of life and walk, silent and hurting, through the rest of life.

If you are working through the bumps in your life and decide that the word psychotherapy is not as scary as facing it on your own…that is what we are here for.

 

Erika McCaghren

Addiction Recovery: Baby Steps

Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction requires a level of self-honesty that many people struggling with alcohol or drug abuse find challenging, if not impossible, to achieve. For this reason, it is good to proceed cautiously, gently. What starts as a tiny glimmer of truth in the mind may grow into the strong conviction one needs to get truly honest and seek help. We’re looking for a statement that the addicted individual can recognize as truth.

Something like this:

  • I really, really love drugs and alcohol. Maybe I need them. But they may be negatively impacting my life.

 

Nothing in there about change. Nothing in there about what, if anything, will be done to fix the problem. Just a simple statement of the truth.

The fist step is someone seeing and understanding this type of truth in his or her own life. This is not as easy as it sounds. Some people never develop the ability to see the truth in their own lives. The second step is for the addicted individual to share this truth with someone who loves him or her. This is the very earliest part of addiction recovery.

April is Counseling Awareness Month

April is Counseling Awareness Month! Although many people know generally what counselors do, this is a time for counselors everywhere to stand together to promote the use of counseling services. We do this by reaching out to clients, readers, social media outlets, and through simple word of mouth that “We are here”. Pinnacle Counseling stands in full support of Counseling Awareness Month by showing people that we care and are here to support you. Knowing that there is a group of professionals near you, ready and willing to listen and help you through a particularly hard time or everyday struggles of life is a valuable tool. In any given situation, no matter the cause, difficulty, or time you have been dealing with the issue—we are here. Simply remember…Keep Calm and Call a Counselor!

 

Erika McCaghren

 

Sources: American Counseling Association

 

 

Why Alcohol Makes the Head Spin

Alcohol is a powerful drug that impacts multiple systems in the human body. How powerful is alcohol? Unlike marijuana, for example, a one-time alcohol overdose can be lethal. Alcohol’s effects begin mildly, with cognitive impairment, disorientation, and impaired judgement. Many people stop drinking as they begin to experience these effects. They feel “buzzed” or “tipsy.” Individuals who continue to drink will experience more profound effects: dizziness, nausea, inability to walk or talk, loss of consciousness. How powerful is alcohol? If an individual continues to drink over an extended period of time the human body will pass out in self-defense.

This video explains, in detail, an aspect of alcohol’s  physical brain effects. This one should be familiar to most people who have consumed alcohol: dizziness or the spins.

 

 

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