Alcoholism Articles

Designated Caregiver: Holiday Drinks and Mental Illness

Wednesday, December 10th, 2014

holiday stress man bigstAlcohol is a staple at the holiday table despite widespread tales of family dysfunction. The truth is social lubrication makes it a lot easier to deal with some of the more difficult people in our families. But when you add mental illness to the mix, you run bigger risks than a shouting match about politics or someone going home wearing the stuffing.

My older brother Pat was diagnosed with schizophrenia eight years ago this December. Drinking alcohol is not advisable on his medication. It makes him extremely drowsy. A few beers after taking his medication in 2007 and he passed out in the bathroom, slamming into the toilet and sliding it clean off the floor — and he’s not a big guy.

Honor Veterans by Acquiring Support Skills

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Honor Veterans by Acquiring Support SkillsIs there a military veteran in your life living with an untreated mental health condition? Are you uncertain whether your support is actually hurting more than helping? If so, you are not alone.

Most of us are not inherently equipped with the skills to understand what our loved ones experienced while serving their country through military service. Yet, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 30 percent (PDF) of veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 that have been treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

During the month of November, Care for Your Mind (CFYM) is showcasing an innovative program that coaches loved ones in how to provide healthy support for the veteran in their life.

6 Ways to Convince an Addict to Get Help

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

addiction-300x212Many people who struggle with alcohol or drugs have a difficult time getting better. There are many reasons why these people do not get the help they need.

Here are six suggestions on how to convince a person dealing with substance abuse to get help.

Room for Misery & Room for Joy: My Story

Friday, October 10th, 2014

misery joyMost people who have been sober longer than a year are asked to give a “lead” — to tell their story. Mine was structurally simple, covering what it was like, what happened, and what it’s like now. Having only drank for three years, my addiction story is pretty straightforward: I stopped guzzling down mood-altering beverages.

My depression story, however, is not.

There are too many circles and uneven ends to fit into any neat, compact narrative. It seems as though the longer you dance with the demon of depression, the more embracing you become of different health philosophies and the more tolerant of unanswered questions.

Is it open-mindedness or desperation?

I don’t know.

What Goes on Inside an Intervention?

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

What Goes on Inside an Intervention?Interventions have become a household word for the general public, thanks to television shows such as “Celebrity Rehab” and “Intervention.” Although an intervention is not necessary in every situation, some situations benefit greatly from one. Every situation is different, but most interventions do follow a similar structure.

An intervention is a planned event where friends and family members face an addict about his or her problems. An intervention is carefully planned and provides a forum for family members and loved ones to confront the problem and express their concerns, in the hope that a person will enter treatment.

Not the Man I Used to Know

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Not the Man I Used to KnowEarly in my sobriety, I became friendly with a university professor who regularly attended my home group meeting. This person taught political science, and I enjoyed our conversations about current events, especially discussions around the Middle East, as Israeli and Palestinian tensions were peaking during this period. He was a supportive friend, and encouraged me to mentor another newcomer who later became one of my very best friends.

A short time into our friendship, the professor showed up late to our meeting and was disruptive throughout the hour. He stood up several times in the middle of other people sharing, washed his face in the small kitchenette sink, and had several coughing fits. It was odd, but I didn’t know enough to confront him or suggest he leave the meeting.

Returning to Work after Addiction Treatment

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Returning to Work after TreatmentEvery year, thousands of white-collar professionals enter treatment for addiction to alcohol and drugs. In treatment they are taught new skills for living productive and fulfilled lives without mind-altering substances. After completing a 30- to 90-day inpatient program, possibly with some additional time in a less restrictive sober living community, they return to work.

In their absence, not much has changed back at the office; the expectations and associated stress have continued without a break. These newly sober professionals are inserted back into a culture from where they came and where they drank.

How to Help a High-Functioning Alcoholic in Denial

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

How to Help a High-Functioning Alcoholic in DenialHigh-functioning alcoholics might be one of the most dangerous types. They often are in denial about their alcoholism. They don’t realize how hard their drinking is on family members and friends, and since they seem to function normally, they don’t see a problem with it.

High-functioning alcoholics do not fit the “drunk” stereotype. They might reason that because they go to work and school, interact with their family, manage a household, and fulfill their everyday responsibilities, they can’t possibly have an alcohol problem.

10 Quick & Easy Ways to Improve Your Mental Health

Monday, June 30th, 2014

Woman outdoors holding flower smiling

We all know the importance of maintaining good physical health — we’re bombarded daily with ads for exercise programs, diet plans, and blog posts on what to eat and drink and what vitamin supplements to take or avoid. What’s not as frequently addressed, however, is mental health — but it’s just as important.

Household budgets are strained all across America, but even if times are tight there are plenty of ways to improve your mental outlook — and they don’t have to take a lot of time or effort.

On Rejecting the False Promise, 25 Years Later

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

imagesI used to think once you put down the drink you were fixed, that once you conjured up the courage to quit your addiction the hard work was over. But addicts are never really cured.

Like cancer survivors, they simply stay in remission for the duration of their lives. There is always a person, place, or thing in their horizon promising them the way to the land of unicorns and fairies, a detour from the painful stuff of life.

Introducing One Sober Life

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Introducing One Sober LifeGrappling with sobriety — and learning to live without alcohol in your life — is …

Alcohol May Not Help: Alcohol’s Impact on Your Mental Health

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Alcohol and Mental HealthAlcoholism is common among people suffering from mental health conditions. People experiencing anxiety, depression, impulsivity, or other diagnosable mental illnesses often turn to alcohol to find temporary solace. Additionally, people who do not have a mental health diagnosis, yet are encountering a phase of overwhelming emotions, drink dangerously.

For example, while struggling with the aftermath of trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, people drink to escape the pain. Alcohol is used as a coping mechanism for those enduring a great deal of stress or hardship, such as getting fired from a job or losing a loved one.

Drinking represses the negative emotions that affect the mental well-being of those with diagnosed mental health concerns and those who simply feel emotionally flooded.

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