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Tag Archives: alcohol abuse

Alcoholism is a Family Disease

Alcoholism 2Parents with issues of alcoholism don’t cope with the disease alone. Alcoholism is a condition that impacts every member of the family from spouses to children. Children are especially vulnerable as they may feel partially responsible for alcohol-related problems, failing to comprehend the complications related to addiction.

According to a Livestrong article, children whose parents are affected by alcoholism have healthcare costs that are nearly a third higher than children of non-alcoholic parents. The risk of child abuse and childhood mental and physical health problems also rises when children have one or more parent living with alcoholism.

Expectant mothers are warned of the dangers of drinking during gestation as it can lead to fetal alcohol syndrome, developmental abnormalities, and termination of the pregnancy. Prenatal alcohol consumption has also been tied to the onset of learning disabilities.

Alcohol related difficulties often weigh heavily on families. According to ProjectKnow.com, the development of poor self-esteem, shame, guilt, fear, or depression in children could stem from parental levels of alcohol abuse. Kids may even struggle in school or have trouble forming relationships because of such problems at home. These children may feel that they are somehow to blame for household arguments and are forced to grow up much more quickly than normal. Worse, they may repeat the cycle and live with addiction themselves as adults.

In fact, figures from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) shows that children of alcoholics are at quadruple the risk of other children of having problematic drinking patterns. They are also more likely to marry others whose families have histories of alcoholism. Additional complications from alcohol can result in broken communication, divorce and even violence.

Family members wishing to get help for alcohol-related problems should contact the Family Guidance Center. Mental health professionals at the Family Guidance Center offer confidential support and programs to assist families living with addiction so that they can resume healthy, productive lives.

Alcoholism: Confronting Chronic Denial

Alcoholism 1The disease of alcoholism is often tied to two symptoms that allow it to perpetuate, sometimes undetected, over time – denial and validation. Though not specifically referenced in diagnostic criteria, both symptoms are widely-known to be associated with the disease. Both denial on the part of the person affected and a feeling of validation, either by the person or by family and friends, can serve as significant barriers to treatment and recovery.

Denial is one of the main mechanisms by which the cycle of alcoholism continues despite negative consequences. A person’s level of denial is usually tied to the strength of the addiction. This helps explain why some people drink despite losing a job or being threatened with divorce.

However, denial affects people to different degrees. Some people are more aware of problematic drinking than others, meaning they may be more receptive to treatment. New treatment methods are taking this fact into account and are altering therapy based on a person’s level of readiness for change.

According to a report from PsychCentral, family members and friends can also be in denial about their loved one’s behavior, explaining it away instead as depression, bad health, hot temperament, anxiety or various other conditions. Children of alcoholics may only recognize a problem upon growing up because of the denial that might have existed on both ends. Societal stigma regarding alcoholism often serves to further the cycle of denial; for this reason some families have chosen to simply ignore or hide the issue.

Well-meaning loved ones may also enable patterns of substance abuse without even knowing it. They often have good intentions but the results can be destructive. When those close the person living with addiction either validate or enable the patterns of consumption, those living with the disease are prevented from facing the consequences of their actions and the disease is allowed to continue.

If you feel like someone you care about may be living with addiction to alcohol, the experts at the Family Guidance Center can help. Addiction or dependence on alcohol is highly treatable with the right resources. Family Guidance Center can connect individuals and their families with resources which aid in understanding and working through issues underlying addiction. For more information on substance addiction, contact the Family Guidance Center.

Drinking Increases Risk of Divorce

Addiction 1Alcohol addiction has often been called a family disease. Dependency takes a toll on relationships because symptoms don’t occur in isolation. Chronic alcohol use can inhibit functioning and make it hard for affected individuals to complete routine tasks. A new study shows that alcohol abuse is often the source of marital conflict and has also been linked with higher instances of divorce.

Researchers from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health have found that excess alcohol consumption is a public health issue for most Western countries. They also uncovered that alcohol has predictive value when it comes to foretelling whether or not a couple’s marriage will last – especially when one partner only drinks in moderation while the other consumes heavily.

Investigators re-examined data from nearly 20,000 married couples collected between 1984 and 1986 using regression analysis. Study author Fartein Ask Torvik says findings indicate that the more a person drinks, the higher his or risk of divorce will be.

Interestingly, women who drank heavily had a higher divorce rate than men who did the same. Torik believes this could be because heavy drinking in women is not as widely accepted by society. Other explanations include that alcohol consumption is biologically more impairing for females than males or that excess consumption can interfere with a woman’s role as wife or mother. In any case, marriages where the wife drank heavily and the husband only drank in moderation experienced divorce rates that were triple that of couples who only drank lightly.

The study, which is covered in an MNT article, also shows that two heavy drinkers have a higher likelihood of divorce.

Investigators suggest that in addition to divorce, alcohol may be responsible for other social issues or health problems. The effects of familial alcoholism can also be felt by children. Mental health professionals at the Family Guidance Center can provide support and addiction treatment services for families affected by alcoholism. For more information on local programs, contact the Family Guidance Center today.

Adolescent Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Intertwined, Study Says

Mental Illness 2Unresolved mental health issues can affect other areas of a person’s life such as relationships, ability to work and performance at school. Substance abuse, particularly in youth, can compound these issues and also cause problems later in life.

Research shows a connection between adolescent substance abuse and the development of problematic mental health. Likewise, teens with mental health problems have a higher association with alcohol and drug use. A new Australian study found that as many as one in ten adolescents with mental health diagnoses consume alcohol, smoke tobacco and use marijuana.

The study originating in Sydney analyzed the mental health records of more than 2000 individuals ranging in age from 12 to 30 years old. Many of those seeking treatment for mental health issues also provided data for weekly drug and alcohol use. According to an article presented by Medical News Today, 12 percent of youth aged 12 to 17 admitted to drinking alcohol a minimum of once a week.

Other study findings showed that drinking percentages increased with age among those with mental illness. For instance, 39 percent of teens aged 18 and 19 drank weekly but that number jumped to near 50 percent amongst the 20 to 30 year-old population. Young adolescents with mental diagnoses were at twice the risk of weekly drinking as their peers. Results for weekly marijuana use followed a similar trend as did reported daily use of tobacco, with older teens citing higher usage rates than younger teens.

Researchers uncovered that older males diagnosed as bipolar or who had other psychotic disorders were at greatest risk of substance abuse, and that mental illness was associated with a higher probability of other health issues as well as premature death.

Because of their comorbidity, study findings highlight the importance of examining mental health in conjunction with substance abuse. Family Guidance Center has mental health professionals to assist families in managing the symptoms and treatment for mental health disorders. Experts say addressing issues of mental health early provides the best prognosis for treatment and recovery. Talk to your Family Guidance Center to find out about area programs addressing both substance abuse and mental health.

Stress Drives College Females to Abuse Alcohol, Develop Disordered Eating Patterns

Mental Health 6People can find themselves living in dependence or addictior for many reasons.  Women in particular may over-consume food, for example, to compensate for areas in their life where they feel a loss of control. New research shows that certain environmental factors may put young women at higher risk of abuse.

An article outlined by Good Therapy online details a study conducted by Anna M. Bardone-Cone of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Associate Professor of Psychology sought to determine what risk factors may contribute to female college students using alcohol and food in an unhealthy way.

Bardone-Cone asserts that college-aged women are under a lot of stress to attain an ideal that often does not exist. Pressure to succeed academically, be popular, pretty, fit, accepted, and loved all weigh heavily on the minds of young women. To test how this pursuit of excellence impacted women’s decisions to over consume, Bardone-Cone took a closer look at the lives of over 400 campus females. She examined how issues such as body image, pressure to get good grades, and interpersonal relationships affected the drive for perfection and urge to binge when these women didn’t feel good about themselves.

The results of the study uncovered that college females shown to have high academic stress and a drive for social perfection were more likely to eat for emotional reasons. Instead of satisfying hunger, food became a source of comfort and way for these women to avoid confronting their deeper issues of feeling inadequate. Results also showed a connection between body image, pressure to succeed academically, and interpersonal relationships on using alcohol as a coping mechanism.

While the negative impacts of such stressors may seem minimal at first, if allowed to persist, they can increase the risk of  serious  diseases like bulimia or alcoholism. Family Guidance Center has a team of mental health professionals who can help you understand and manage mental health symptoms related to chronic stress, such as anxiety disorders or depression.

Alcohol addiction is a disease, like many other diseases, and professional help is needed to identify triggers and help individuals manage symptoms for recovery and quality of life. Assessments are available daily on a walk-in basis at Family Guidance Center, and can be the first step for a return to quality of life.