How-to Understand Addiction Severity

One of the main reasons as to why people don’t think they need treatment for an addiction is because they don’t think they have one in the first place. However, it may be due to them not understanding addiction severity. Taking a closer look at your usage can help you realize if you should seek out treatment…

How-to Understand Addiction Severity: Important Criteria

Rate of usage

One way to determine your addiction severity is by looking how often you take drugs or alcohol. Usually, the more often you take them, the more you may have a serious addiction. It could get to the point where you take it every day, or even multiple times each day. The amount you take may also continue to increase in size.

At the same time, you can also see what happens when you go without taking anything. If you experience withdrawal symptoms, this can also clue you in that you have developed an addiction. The stronger the symptoms, the more severe you know your addiction is.

Input from your friends

Your friends can also help you realize your addiction severity. How they react to your usage can make you realize your usage is unhealthy. If your friends are adamant that you should seek some outside help, then it may be a good idea to take their advice.

You can also consider if you’ve been keeping your drug and alcohol use a secret from your friends. Many times, people do this because they feel that their friends would be concerned if they were aware. At this point, it’s good to be honest with them and see how they respond. After all, your friends only want to make sure you’re safe and healthy.

Impact on your life

Addiction severity can be quite clearly seen in how it impacts your life. You may find that you are unable to do anything else except fulfill your cravings. This could impact your job, relationships with friends and family, and even your overall well-being. When your quality of live starts suffering due to your usage, then you can recognize that it’s a problem.

Even if you seem to have things together, don’t allow for yourself to be fooled. Being a high-functioning addict is still something to take seriously. Eventually, your addiction will catch up to you as in becomes more severe, and everything can seemingly change for you all at once.

How-to Stay Safe While Drinking Abroad: Travel Safety

If you are traveling or even studying abroad, you will likely want to grab a drink (or several) in the new city you are visiting. However, drinking abroad may be different than drinking in your home country. While you should be careful and smart any time you drink, there is an extra level that comes into play when you are drinking abroad. Use these tips to stay safe during a night out in a different country.

How-to Stay Safe While Drinking Abroad: Things to Consider

Local Laws

When going out for a drink in another country, it is wise to familiarize yourself with the local laws. For example, drinking ages can vary between countries. There may also be other rules regarding alcohol such as where you are and are not allowed to drink. Make sure to look into these laws, or ask locals you trust to find out what is acceptable and what is not. You certainly do not want to get in trouble with the law while you are drinking abroad.

Moderation

It is very possible to be affected differently by the alcohol in other countries than in your own country. It is possible that the alcohol content is higher there than at home. This could apply to beer, wine and even liquor. This could cause you to become intoxicated faster than you expected.

You could get into a dangerous situation if you get drunk in an unfamiliar area. Some examples include robbery, assaults, rape, falling or even death. Be mindful of how much you are drinking and do not drink too much quickly.

Buddy System

It is safer if you use the buddy system if you are drinking abroad. Whether you tag along with one other person or a whole group, there is strength in numbers. Sometimes it is easy to fall into a trap where you feel safe and let your guard down while in a new city. While it may be totally safe and fine, you should still be mindful of being in a new area.

It never hurts to have someone looking out for you to make sure you are safe. You should be doing the same for them as well. This could even be someone to walk with you to and from the bars. Make sure this is someone you feel you can trust.

It is really fun to explore new places and grab some drinks to experience the culture. Just make sure you are making smart choices so that you stay safe while you are drinking abroad.

Peer Pressure: What Is It?

When most people hear of peer pressure, they assume that it’s mainly negative. However, there’s a bit more nuance to it than you may believe. As such, it’s good to know what exactly it looks like, and when it can be good or bad…

Peer Pressure: Prevalent Examples

Understand the term

Usually, peer pressure refers to when others pressure another person into doing something. Most commonly, this tends to be alcohol or drug usage, especially among kids and teens. They may call the person a “baby” or state that they won’t be cool unless they drink or take drugs. There are some cases when peer pressure can be positive outside of these situations. For instance, it could be that a kid or teen wants to join a club or play a sport but lacks the confidence to do so. Their friends can then encourage them to do so with some positive reinforcement. In this case, the person’s peers are helping them to do something which will positively benefit them.

Countering the pressure

It can be tough for a kid or teen to deal with peer pressure. They may feel stressed and worry that if they don’t do what they’re told, they’ll lose their friends. However, this pressure alone isn’t the only thing which can cause them to drink or use drugs. Their home environment plays a big role as well. Therefore, it’s helpful to create a supportive and positive home for them. Being a good role model will encourage them to make the right decisions should they have to deal with this kind of pressure. Plus, you should take time to talk to them about peer pressure and what they should do. If they better understand the negatives, they’ll be more likely to walk away.

Adult pressure

It’s important to note that peer pressure doesn’t just happen to kids and teens. It also happens with adults. Usually, the reasoning tends to be the same. The adult being pressured doesn’t want to look “uncool” or like they don’t fit in and will do whatever the others are pressuring them to do. For adults, this kind of pressure can be harder to spot. For instance, if you already drink, then you won’t be pressured like a kid or teen would. Instead, your friends might try to have you drink way more than you usually do. While it may be a bit different, the consequences can still be just as bad.

Alcohol Expenses: Financial Impacts

Most people are aware of the negative health effects of alcohol. However, not many are aware of the financial ones. Alcohol expenses aren’t always easy to spot. Still, that doesn’t mean they won’t add up…

Alcohol Expenses: Costly Consequences

Purchase price

The most apparent of the alcohol expenses is the purchase price. Alcohol is one of those things which doesn’t really come cheap due to factors like taxes. Even the more inexpensive options can quickly add up if you buy them often. Not to mention the premium choices, which can be $30 or more for just a single bottle.

There are also the “extra” pieces to consider. For instance, if you like mixed drinks, then you’ll also have to buy mixers. While not as pricey as the alcohol itself, it still more money that you’re spending. It’s no surprise as to why those who struggle with heavy drinking also tend to struggle financially.

Heath and legal expenses

Alcohol expenses can also show up in the form of negative health effects. These negatives can quickly get to the point where they require medical attention. As a result, you can end up being stuck with some expensive medical bills. These costs can get even higher if you need constant, long-term treatment.

Of course, you also need to consider potential legal costs too. Getting something like a DUI doesn’t just come with a hefty fine. You’ll also have to consider how potentially losing your license will make it harder for you to go to or find work in the future.

Recovery costs

Even when you try to get sober, alcohol expenses can still be felt. In particular, you have to factor in the price of your recovery efforts. Places such as rehab facilities can be a bit high in price depending on how long you want to stay. Plus, you may also need to factor in things like travel, and other outside expenses you still need to manage.

However, unlike the other costs, you should consider this one to be an investment. Putting the money towards recovery now is important for getting yourself clean. That way, you’ll have a much better chance at finding a well-paying job and starting your path to financial recovery.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol: The Risks

There are many long-term effects of alcohol. These are different from the short-term effects of alcohol as they are typically diseases or health issues. Alcohol contributes to over 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions. It is the third leading preventable cause of death as 88,000 people a year die from alcohol-related causes every year in the US.

Long-Term Effects of Alcohol: What They Are

Health Conditions

Many health problems can be long-term effects of alcohol. These include liver cirrhosis, cancer, and mental health problems. Other examples are stomach ulcers, vitamin deficiencies, and pancreatitis. Also, there can be damage to the heart muscle and immune system dysfunction. Alcohol can lead to health problems all over your body. This is because alcohol affects every body system.

These health conditions can be very serious. For example, cirrhosis is a condition in which scar tissue replaces healthy liver cells over time. One major side effect of this is that the scar tissue can actually block the flow of blood through the liver. Also, 70 – 80% of all pancreatitis cases come from long-term alcohol abuse. This is an inflammatory disease that leads to the breakdown of the pancreas. The pancreas is important, as it produces insulin and helps break down food.

Injuries

There are other long-term effects of alcohol that can come from injuries. These injuries usually are unintentional. Examples include drowning, accidents, falls and burns. Since alcohol can cause irritability and mood changes, assaults can occur. These can lead to injuries as well.

Swimming while drinking can lead to drowning, since alcohol can cause a loss of coordination and judgment. For the same reasons, alcohol can also lead to falling and getting injured. Driving while intoxicated can cause auto accidents. These can be dangerous to both the person who is intoxicated as well as their passengers. It can also be harmful to the other people on the road. It is dangerous to drink and drive. Instead, get a DD or a ride share.

Addiction and Dependency

Some people drink large amounts on a regular basis. In this case, a long-term effect of alcohol can be addiction and dependency. This can happen because over time, a person’s tolerance level will increase. This causes the body to require more alcohol to achieve the same effect. The body will adapt to the presence of alcohol. This is what leads to addiction.

A person with an alcohol addiction will have a strong craving for alcohol. They will keep using it even though it impacts their health, personal relationships, and ability to work. If they stop drinking alcohol, withdrawal symptoms can occur. These include tremors, anxiety, depression and insomnia. Signs of this can begin 4 – 72 hours after the last drink. This is called withdrawal, and can last up to about 5 days. Many people will take a drink to stop this from happening. There are detox programs and groups such as AA that can help with this.

As you can see, there are many negative long-term effects of alcohol. They can be both health and injury related effects. If you are going to drink, do so responsibly. The long-term risks can be really bad.

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol: The Risks

There are many short-term effects of alcohol. Since alcohol is a depressant, it slows down the body’s systems when it reaches the brain. It also puts a lot of strain on the liver as well as the digestive system and cardiovascular system.

Short-Term Effects of Alcohol: What They Are

Absorption

Right after drinking alcohol, a lot of things start to happen. Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream by blood vessels in the stomach lining and small intestine. From there, the alcohol goes to your brain. This is where is starts to affect your body.

The short-term effects of alcohol have many factors. For example, how much alcohol you consume and how quickly you consume it will directly affect the impact. Additionally, your gender and weight, as well as whether you have eaten, can affect this as well. You will be less intoxicated if you drink with a meal, as it slows the rate of absorption.

Progression of Intoxication

Initially, you may feel happy, silly and care-free. After drinking more alcohol, things start to change. For example, slurred speech, clumsiness and inability to walk steady, vomiting, headache, and drowsiness can occur. Eventually, even a loss of consciousness can result. These are some of the short-term effects of alcohol.

Alcohol Poisoning

At a certain level, the amount of alcohol in the blood can lead to alcohol poisoning. This is a very dangerous short-term effect of alcohol. Alcohol can slow your breathing which can cause your brain to not get enough oxygen. This can cause confusion, seizures, loss of consciousness or coma. In some cases, it can even lead to death.

Alcohol Intolerance

It is possible to have an alcohol intolerance. People with this will experience  negative short-term effects of alcohol immediately after drinking it. Symptoms of this can include facial flying, nausea or vomiting. Also, it can cause diarrhea, worsening of asthma or low blood pressure.

Hangover

One of the most well known short-term side effects of alcohol is a hangover. This is mainly caused from the dehydration that alcohol causes. It takes a while for your body and liver to absorb and process all of the alcohol. During this time, your body can remain saturated with the remaining alcohol. You may have a headache, feel restless, or even nauseous.

While there are both long-term and short-term side effects of alcohol, you now know some of the ones that don’t last as long. In short, alcohol can have a negative effect on your body. If you are going to drink, do so responsibly and in moderation.

Alcohol During Quarantine: Avoiding Excessive Drinking

Covid-19 has caused increased stress and loneliness, causing people to turn to alcohol during quarantine. People are unable to do normal activities, see friends or visit loved ones. Others have lost jobs, or have to work in dangerous conditions. With all of the isolation, boredom, fear and stress this pandemic has brought, it’s no surprise that alcohol consumption has increased. Instead of turning to a bottle, find another outlet to keep you occupied during quarantine.

Alcohol During Quarantine: Alternatives

Give Someone a Call

Instead of trying to drown your boredom and loneliness with alcohol during quarantine, use this time to connect with people you’ve lost touch with. If you’re feeling lonely, chances are, they could be too. You could always call someone on the telephone. Also, there are many virtual video call options now available so that you can see a familiar face. Facetime and Zoom are becoming quite popular during this time. You could even set a routine call schedule, so that you are accountable to talking to your friends or family on a weekly basis. There are even ways you can play games with others while on a video call. For example, Jackbox.tv is a great party game that can be played on your phone or computer over a call.

Take a Class

Instead of turning to alcohol during quarantine, use the extra free time to learn something new. Many universities and programs are offering free courses right now. For instance, Yale is offering their most popular course, The Science of Well-Being, for free! There are courses you can take in many different subjects at no charge. From coding to digital marketing, and finance to cooking, the options are endless. There are websites that have lists of the courses available.

Exercise

A healthy alternative to alcohol during quarantine is to spend time exercising. You may not be able to go to a gym, but there are many alternatives. Go for a walk or a run in your area. There are also many workout classes available on Youtube. These include yoga, pilates, zumba, strength training and many more.

Home Projects

Perhaps there are projects around home that you have been putting off? Since you’re spending more time at home, this is a perfect time to improve your home.  Instead of turning to alcohol during quarantine, look around your house and see what you could do. It could be something small like just tidying up or organizing. Or, it could be bigger projects like painting or even doing a renovation.

If you have a yard, you could plant some flowers, remove weeds, put out mulch or trim back hedges. A larger scale project example could be laying stones for a patio, or doing a renovation to make your outdoors more enjoyable to hang out in.

While the pandemic has certainly disrupted everyone’s lives, there are many ways to occupy yourself besides turning to alcohol during quarantine. Instead of falling into loneliness and depression, connect with old friends, learn something new, or make your home more cozy with your new found free time.