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Family Guidance Blog

What Triggers Alcohol Abuse as a Coping Mechanism for Some People?

Research Suggests Alcohol Abuse May be Linked to Adverse Childhood

alcohol abuseFor many people drinking is used as a way to cope with stresses in their life. Too often, this leads to over-consumption. It may be problems at work or problems at home that feel unmanageable but, whichever it may be, alcohol abuse is not a healthy answer. What scientists don’t yet understand is why similar situations do not create similar stress responses in different people.

Some people with difficult marriages, stressful jobs or other challenges (health, financial) are able to find ways to cope which don’t involve excessive drinking. For other people, these same circumstances feel beyond control and alcohol abuse provides the escape they crave. What makes the difference?

Researchers hypothesize that part of the answer could reach back into a person’s early childhood. Numerous animal studies show a link between the lack of close parental bonding during infancy and greater alcohol consumption later on. The thought is that long-term stress in childhood could change the way a person’s stress responses operate throughout life. This would leave some individuals more stress-sensitive and therefore, perhaps, more susceptible to later alcohol abuse.

Risk factors are not determiners. Just because a person experiences a stressful childhood doesn’t guarantee that they will abuse alcohol. If they learn healthy coping skills or possess a strong social support network, then alcohol abuse is not a foregone conclusion.

The good news is that it is never too late to learn healthy coping skills. At Family Guidance Center our mental health professionals can help you learn positive ways of dealing with stress in your life. There is no way to remove stress from life, but there are healthy ways to handle stress. Whatever your current stresses may be, let us help you learn to deal with them in a way that will make you feel healthier and stronger.

Alcohol Poisoning is a Real Danger – Know the Signs

Taking in too much alcohol for the body to adequately process poses a danger to the drinker and to those around them. One danger thatDanger 1 drinkers often miscalculate is the risk of alcohol poisoning.

Alcohol poisoning occurs when the amount of alcohol in the bloodstream is many times higher than the range considered safe. Alcohol affects brain function and large amounts of alcohol can interfere with the brain’s ability to perform normally or safely. A high level of alcohol in the body can also affect physical health in other negative ways.

This impact on brain function is why intoxicated people slur their speech or cannot walk in a straight line. With alcohol poisoning, the amount of alcohol in the body is enough to impair functioning in ways that can be life threatening. For example, the body’s normal reflex to rid itself of toxins is to vomit. But when the gag reflex is not working as it should a person can choke to death on their own vomit. In other cases, breathing can slow down perilously or stop altogether.

Binge drinkers (four or more drinks at one sitting) are at particular risk. This amount of alcohol is hard for the body to process and can lead to alcohol poisoning. Because alcohol poisoning can be deadly it’s important to know the symptoms:

Confusion
Ragged breathing
Skin becomes very pale or blue-tinged
Vomiting
Seizure

If you or someone you know drinks excessively and to the danger point even semi-regularly, it’s time to do something and reach out for help. At Family Guidance we have a variety of treatment programs to help you on the road to recovery. Don’t wait – call us today. One episode of alcohol poisoning could be one too many.

Many Kinds of Hidden Alcohol Risks

Alcoholism 7Alcohol is such a commonly used substance in this country that it is easy to assume that it must be relatively harmless. But it is important to keep in mind that alcohol is a highly addictive substance. It is all too easy to transition from light drinking to something far from healthy.

Heavy drinking increases a person’s risk for many kinds of problems including physical, medical and psychological.

Physical Alcohol Risk
Alcohol is responsible for a large number of physical injuries in the U.S.

  • 60 percent of deadly burns and drowning
  • 50 percent of traumatic injuries and sexual assaults
  • 40 percent of deadly falls, fatal car crashes and suicides

Medical Alcohol Risk
Drinking too much damages the body in ways that lead to many kinds of serious health concerns. Overdrinking increases a person’s risk for:

  • Stomach ulcers
  • Liver disease
  • Multiple forms of cancer
  • Stroke
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Birth defects

Psychological Alcohol Risk
Around 18 million Americans have a diagnosed alcohol misuse disorder. Many more live with alcohol abuse and dependency without ever being diagnosed or seeking help. People who have developed a psychological dependency on alcohol face greater chances of:

  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Relationship problems

Misusing and abusing alcohol is also linked to legal problems. Heavy drinkers are more likely to be arrested or have their driver’s license suspended for driving under the influence of alcohol. They also miss more days at work and have trouble keeping up with demands on the job.

It is hard to pinpoint the moment when alcohol consumption transitions from a matter of light, social use into an area of misuse and associated alcohol risk. There are diagnostic tools which can assess your current alcohol use. If people around you are concerned or if you feel unable to curb your current level of drinking, contact Family Guidance center and request a simple evaluation.

A New Alcohol Risk: Moms Turning to Wine to Ease Parenting Anxiety

Alcoholism 7No one ever said that being a mom is an easy job, but many young moms today are finding the stress of motherhood overwhelming. An alarming number of them said they soothe frayed nerves with a glass – or two or three – of wine. And the trend of drinking moms isn’t isolated to just one state; it’s a phenomenon sweeping across the nation.

The appearance of social pages like Martinis and Minivans and Moms Who Need Wine pretty much tells the story. So too does the number of new wine labels aimed at young moms. Names like Mommy Juice, Mommy’s Time Out and Mad Housewife are designed to cash in on this new market niche. Could it be a sign of a drinking epidemic? Are mommies the new alcohol risk?

Quite possibly. Treatment facilities around the country say that the number of young women (mothers) coming in for help with alcohol addiction has been on the rise. One popular morning news show conducted an online survey designed to find out what young moms had to say on the subject.

The survey showed that 40 percent of the moms who participated said they used alcohol to unwind and de-stress from parenting, sometimes while the kids were playing at the park. One-third of the moms reported having more than seven drinks per week. Do the mommies think there is an alcohol risk here? Well, 34 percent of them said that they felt some of their friends had a problem with alcohol. Only 15 percent thought they themselves had a problem.

Because these young women find that having a cocktail is a socially acceptable way to deal with anxiety, few of them view the behavior as an alcohol risk. Some say they have been behind the wheel of their car with young children in the backseat after consuming, and have friends who have engaged in the same behavior. Many times, the behavior is unknown to a spouse and continues to escalate due to the progressive nature of alcohol addiction and dependence.

There’s no reason to wait until drinking becomes a danger to others, or yourself. If you think you may be drinking too much, you can find help. Alcohol addiction wears many faces… including moms and dads. Family Guidance Center can help moms find other ways to deal with the difficult job of parenting. Don’t assume that you’re too young to need help. Don’t avoid getting help because you feel ashamed — the disease of alcohol addiction affects millions of people across all walks of life, and it can be treated for a return to quality of life. Call Family Guidance Center today.