Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Alcohol Classes Online Help Our Culture With The Silent Killer

Alcohol has several negative effects not he human body, most of which won't harm the individual who has a drink on occasion, as long as that occasion isn't every night. Alcohol is a silent killer because it works inside with no apparent harm until it's too late.

Alcohol education classes can help inform the young and old of the multiple effects of alcohol on the body, how it causes breakdowns in the body and can eventually cause death. Alcohol is the second common cause of death in the U.S. next to tobacco related deaths. Alcohol has severe effects not only on the physical body, but also on the mental state of the consumer.

As far as our bodies can understand, the alcohol we ingest is actually a poison. Alcohol awareness classes will help the student understand that over consumption can result in brain damage, liver damage, pancreatic shutdown, and even nerve damage. Have you ever seen an alcoholic with the shakes? That's the nervous system reacting to the individual's lack of alcohol.

Alcohol classes will inform the student of how alcohol cuts oxygen to the brain, making the brain react poorly to your surroundings and possibly causing permanent brain damage. The effects of heavy drinking can be obvious, but few realize that heavy consumption can shorten a person's life by nearly 20 years or more.

Alcohol courses for the young give them an added advantage when facing their future. Young drinkers that have taken an alcohol awareness class can change their behavior before the long-term effects set in. As parents, ignoring that opportunity for your child can be detrimental to even the strongest of teens.

For older drinkers, it's a sad fact that the more often you drink, the higher your tolerance becomes. This can quickly lead to alcohol dependence. Alcohol awareness classes will teach students about the anxiety, cold sweats, loss of income, and even vomiting that a lack of alcohol can cause when completely dependent.

Alcohol awareness classes can help the public better understand a silent killer named alcohol, and help those in need to change before the silent killers takes them, or worse, causes the drinker to take the life of another.

As you can see, there are several ways that alcohol awareness classes can help teach an individual of any age how to overcome dependency, and the effects on the body that it can cause. After years of abuse, no matter how old you are, the body's organs will begin to shut down. Public classes on California alcohol awareness will raise the chances that people have, especially the young, of avoiding and/or overcoming alcohol dependence.

If you feel that you may have a drinking problem, then classes are a great first step to overcoming your addiction. AA groups are also a handy step in helping the young and old drinkers overcome their problem. An 8 hour alcohol awareness class is another viable option.

There may never be a law requiring alcohol awareness classes for the public, but if you find yourself or a friend in need of a class, then there are online options to consider. They are affordable and can be done from the comfort of your own home.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Addiction Treatment Is Not a Cure for Addiction: Why Relapse Is So Common

Every time I hear that another celebrity has died from addiction to drugs or alcohol, my first thought is -- why didn't anybody care enough to help? It's instinctual and I am often humbled later when I discover that people did actually try to help...sometimes more than once. Yet, the next time somebody dies I find myself asking the same question again and, inevitably, run into the same troubling answer. The fact is, many people who die from substance abuse, whether from an overdose or long-term systemic toxic damage, usually have entered rehab (sometimes more than once) and gotten clean for at least some period of time. Yet, they still end up dying from their disease.
 
As I see it, the problem is three-fold. First, current best practices in addiction medicine advocate a period of treatment that is far too short to effectuate long-term recovery for many patients (actually, the recommended treatment is based on what insurance carriers are willing to cover). Second, once a patient has recovered we assume they are cured and fail to adequately plan for inevitable relapse. Finally, there may be people in the addict's life who benefit more from the person's active addiction than recovery.
 
Treatment Periods Are Inadequate
 
Although the standard "28-day" rehab has, over the years, steadily climbed to the emerging "90-day" program, it is still too short for many patients. Unfortunately, these "recovery" periods are often dictated by finances or insurers and have little to do with what the patient actually needs. In the case of celebrities who can afford longer treatment, it is hard to convince them they need more than what insurance-dependent addicts typically get. They often fear they will harm their career if they stay out of the spotlight for too long.
 
Addiction treatment entails much more than just getting the patient to stop using drugs or alcohol. For most patients, the abuse will re-occur unless they can understand both why they became addicted in the first place and how they can prevent it from happening again. And, even then, relapse is still likely. Given this reality, it is bizarre to think that years and even decades of substance abuse could be adequately addressed in a month or two of treatment.
 
Instead of viewing addiction as a chronic, life-long disorder (like diabetes or heart disease) that needs long-term follow-up treatment, the current model equates the initial treatment as the "cure" and leaves the patient to figure it out for themselves after that. However, without long-term monitoring, the support of ongoing therapy, and peer-support found in SMART Recovery or 12-step meetings, the chances of resuming bad habits when back in the "real" world seem inevitable, especially when we consider that addiction is marked by nearly insurmountable physical cravings. It is no wonder that the success rate of "treatment" is so abysmally low: we have made treatment a discrete period of time rather than an ongoing process. We don't have regular "check-ups" like we do for other diseases and we certainly don't have any consensus on long-term maintenance like we do for heart disease and other life-long ailments.
 
The Need for Ongoing Support & Treatment
 
Even with an adequate length of treatment and the availability of follow-up support, ongoing recovery requires co-operation from family, friends, and sometimes even employees or employers. If everybody is not onboard with lasting sobriety, even the most motivated person can relapse. Due to the level of media interest, we see this phenomenon most often with celebrities. In some cases, people want to keep an addict using because it benefits them. In other cases they are too afraid of angering the addict to intervene in ongoing substance abuse. The allure of being part of the celebrity's inner circle can create quite a moral hazard.
 
When a celebrity or wealthy person is battling addiction, we see both opportunists and yes-men. The opportunist benefits from active addiction either because the person is easier to get along with or easier to manipulate. This is especially true when a person close to the addict is getting away with something (such as embezzlement) or controlling a situation that would not be possible if the celebrity were clear-headed and sober. The yes-man does not want to do anything that would make them fall out of favor with the celebrity and cause them to lose their position, be it a family member, friend or employee. While yes-men often see that there is a problem that needs to be addressed, their own short-sighted self-interest will prevent them from doing anything about it.
 
Unfortunately, many celebrities become quite comfortable with an entourage of yes-men or sycophants who protect them from the realities of their behavior. If they are insecure they crave attention from people who would do anything to be in their presence. If they are addicted they are drawn to people who will look the other way or make their addiction easier by obtaining drugs for them. While most people would soon find themselves friendless or out of funds, celebrities can behave very badly for much longer.
 
Is Relapse Inevitable?
 
The truth is, relapse is part of recovery for many with addiction. The attitude has thus-far been "treatment failed." The truth is drug rehab treatment was probably too short and follow-up care is largely nonexistent in the addiction medicine field. As a society we have long bemoaned the costs of addiction, yet we have done little to change attitudes. The medical community has pushed addiction treatment into a sub-sub-specialty that is so "specialized" most doctors get zero training in identifying or intervening when a patient develops an addiction. We have mainly paid lip service to the disease model of addiction and still consider it "willful negligence" or some sort of moral failing. This approach has clearly failed. Until we truly change our attitudes, relapse will indeed, for most, be inevitable.


Thursday, 15 December 2011

This Drug Is Not the "Spice" of Life

"Variety is the very spice of life," was originally said by English poet William Cowper in the 1700's. In the early 20th century another British author said, "Variety is not the spice of life. It is the very stuff of it." Then for some comic relief to this phrase, comedian and host of the Tonight Show, Johnny Carson, "If variety is the spice of life, marriage is the big can of left over Spam." The drug Spice is not life at all. If you haven't heard of Spice before, here's a crash course:

It is a new synthetic drug in the family of cannabinoids on the market since 2006.
The generic name is K 2.
This drug acts similar to THC except that it is anywhere between 3x - 800x the potency of THC.
It can be purchased on the internet or at convenience stores, head shops, or truck stops.
Its cost is relatively cheap, about $20-60 for 1-3 grams.
It is hard to test this synthetic. This is appealing to anyone needing a clean UA-people in prison, rehab, military and on probation.
The variability of substances present in each batch makes it virtually impossible to test for use.
Other names: Yucatan Fire, Sence, Chill X, Dragon, Spice Gold, Spice Silver or Spice Diamond.
Take 1/10 gram and put it into a bong, take 3-6 hits and the synthetic drug effect starts immediately and produces up to an 8 hour high. Some feel the effect for 24 hours.
Users report the high feels like marijuana but with hallucinations possible.

From the outline above, no wonder its growing popularity, especially the part about undetected UA's when using Spice. It's cheap and relatively easy to get. The effects are quicker and greater than other similar substances.

The evolution of Spice's presence on the market is interesting. In 1995, Dr. John Hoffman, professor of Organic Chemistry at Clemson University (SC) conducted research on effects of cannabinoids on the brain. In order to do this, he developed a synthetic cannabinoid (JWH-018) for use in the study. A paper was published including the formula for the chemicals used to create the synthetic and the rest is history, as they say. Enterprising individuals used the formula to replicate the compound JWH-018. Then it was sprayed on dried leaves, flower, herbs and tobacco.

In keeping with the saying, "Variety is the Spice of Life"; the drug Spice has a lot of variety that actually are spices and herbs. It may contain none, some, most, or all of the listed ingredients: Baybean, Blue Lotus, Lion's Tail, Lousewort, Mugwort, Indian Warrior, Dwarf Skullcap, Maconha Brava, Sassafrass, Pink Lotus, Marshmallow, Red Clover, Nutmeg, Rose, Siberian Motherwort, Damiana, Canavalia Maritime, Leonotis Leonurus, Leonurus Sibiricus, Passion Flower, Vanilla Planifolia, Zorinia Latifolia, Magnolia Officinalis, Sage, Rosa Gallica, or Trifolium. The drug Spice will also contain a synthetic or combination of synthetics sprayed onto the mixture but with little to no chemical smell; it would be more like a potpourri smell.

The drug Spice binds to the same receptor sites as cannabis and creates a similar effect in the user. However, the potential for longer than normal psychoactive effects is due to longer half-lives of chemicals and full binding at receptor sites versus partial binding of THC. Spice also causes seizures, anxiety, agitation, and dangerously increased blood pressure and heart rates, but there is little known regarding detailed pharmacology and toxicology.

There are numerous reports of addiction to Spice. Withdrawal symptoms are common to other drug withdrawal and include: night sweats, internal unrest, tremors, palpitations, insomnia, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. Not enough is known in places where treatment takes place because of its newness.

The DEA and states are scrambling to make it a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance for legal reason. The US military has banned possession and use and it is also banned in Chile, France, Germany, S. Korea, Sweden and Switzerland. Unfortunately, those of us in the substance abuse, rehabilitation and legal systems know from experience that within weeks of state bans, new varieties of Spice which skirt the legal issues will be marketed. Being aware of new developments and sharing developments helps all of us combat drug abuse and addiction.

Olive E. Hinnant is an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. In her 22 years of ministry she has served in urban, suburban and rural churches; in hospitals, hospice and retirement communities; as well as teaching in higher education. She holds degrees from Trinity University, BA, Princeton Theological Seminary, Master of Divinity and Iliff School of Theology, Doctor of Ministry. In 2011 she began working as a Chaplain at Parker Valley Hope, in Parker Colorado, just outside of Denver. This is one of 9 rehabilitation centers in the Valley Hope Association, a nationally-recognized, nonprofit organization dedicated to providing quality chemical dependency treatment services at an affordable price. Other Valley Hope facilities are in Arizona, Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas and Nebraska. She and her partner reside in Aurora CO with their very joyful and active 5 year-old son.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Learn to Reduce DUI Risks With Alcohol and Drug Classes Online

Do you know what DUI means? Have you ever witnessed a scene of motor accident caused by DUI? Keeping you in no suspense, DUI simply means Driving Under Influence. You may ask; influence of what? Driving under the influence of anything that affects the mental faculty i.e. things that have deleterious effects on the brain. You would have heard about the high rate of accidents caused by DUI. I once stumbled on a huge statistics of accidents from DUI; it is overwhelming. Have a look at part of the statistics:

- Above 200,000 people died from DUI over the last 10 years.
- Above 20,000 people are killed yearly in alcohol and drug related accidents.
- Various scenarios of auto crashes claim at least a life of an American in every 20 minutes from DUI.
- Above 50% of all reported fatal highway accidents involve two or more cars driven under influence.
- Above 65% of fatal single car accidents are related to driving under influence.

With this saddening statistics, the awareness about the causes of this life-threatening act is obvious and necessary.

Firstly, it is important to differentiate between DUI and DWI. DUI is an acronym for Driving Under the Influence as earlier stated, whereas DWI is Driving While Intoxicated. Basically, DUI is due to intoxication from drugs or alcohol, while DWI is mainly intoxication from alcohol only. However, this article will only focus on DUI.

It is important to create the awareness of this dreadful syndrome in the society. Since the causative agent of this is majorly alcohol and drugs, awareness about the harmful effect of the duo intoxicants will be helpful in arresting this societal menace. Although the introduction of drug and alcohol classes to help reduce the risk for DUI's is new to many people, research has shown that it is very effective in curbing the disastrous effects of DUI. Awareness classes could prevent accidents from DUI and save both the society and the family from its gory aftermath.

In practice, alcohol and drug awareness classes are designed to enlighten people more on the effect of drugs and alcohol on human cranial activities i.e. its effect on the brain. Also, the program will direct people to ways in which they can prevent the occurrence of DUI. In the first assessment, people would be made to know how drugs and alcohol affect the reasoning. It is the result of its action on the brain that brings about dizziness. It weakens the whole body metabolic activities and reduces the sensitivity of the spinal integration of body's actions; as a result, the one under its influence may lose total control of himself or herself. A simple 10 hour alcohol class is often the first recommendation for education.

In the same line, the alcohol drug awareness classes will enumerate various ways through which people could prevent themselves from the consequences. This is necessary especially for those who are addicted to it.

And lastly, various scenes of accidents caused by DUI should be shown to them. This, hopefully, might scare them as they would not want to experience such bloody scenes. This awareness program to reduce DUI may also be done as online program. Since most people that use the internet are majorly people who are liable to DUI, taking an online approach will be highly appreciated.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

How Long Does A Drug and Alcohol Program Take?

When people have a problem with drugs and alcohol, there are several different options to choose. They may be interested in a residential program, which involves going to a special facility for help. This is often helpful for people who need time away from their present surroundings to focus on their problems associated with drugs and alcohol. One method is a 28-day program. This is usually offered by a drug and alcohol rehab facility. Another option is the six-week program offered by a social education retreat center. The philosophies and methods used are very different.

28 Days

Programs that last 28 days typically follow a 12-step process. The patients enroll in treatment for a disease called addiction. They may attend by choice, although some patients are forced or persuaded through an intervention process against their will. During this time, the individual will be told that they have a disease and are powerless to control their urges to use drugs or alcohol. At the end of this time in a drug and alcohol treatment facility, the person will be sent on their way with a plan to attend regular meetings for the rest of their lives to possibly keep them on the road to sobriety.

Six Weeks

Another option for those seeking help with drug and alcohol problems is the social education program. While it, too is offered in a residential and non-residential platform, many people choose to attend a six-week retreat away from home. Only those who wish to be there and address their problems associated with drugs and alcohol are accepted into the programs. During this time, the participants will learn how to gain control of their lives through the different choices they make regarding drugs and alcohol. It is a personalized retreat with social education classes that teaches people that they do not have a disease, but must take responsibility for their actions to improve their lifestyle and relationships. They also set goals and make future plans for themselves so that they can successfully live without the problematic lifestyle of drugs and alcohol.

At the end of the six weeks, social education program participants will likely be ready to return home. They do not attend additional meetings or life-long classes once they leave the retreat facility. Some participants may choose to stay for an additional two to four weeks. They may enroll in extended classes that help them to make additional preparations for the future. Some extended learning options include making plans for college education, finding employment and learning how to successfully prepare resumes and conduct job searches. Other options include a further focus on self-confidence and emotional issues associated with returning home. A special segment for seniors helps them to discover new interests and hobbies and how to cope with medical conditions often associated with their age group.

The Not So "Beautiful" Game: The Truth About Drugs in Football, And More!

A friend of mine mentioned this programme was on. I forgot about it, then luckily I just switched over to Channel 4 on Monday night- whilst seeing what was on TV- and it was on! 95-98% of whats on TV is complete rubbish. But there are some decent, interesting programmes on (now and again), and this was one of them.

It was surprising to me, that in the UK, footballers are generally drug tested only once in every seven years. Compared to the footballers in Serie A (the Italian football league), who test two random players after each game! This equates to 4000-4500 tests a year.

The drug tests are supposed to test every kind of drug, be it recreational to sports performance. The amount of recreational drug use (mainly cocaine) in English football is very high, just because it is "in," to quote one of the players being interviewed on the programme.

Also, according to drug testing rules and regulations, when comes to "sports performance" substances such as the steroid testosterone (which is the most common sports performance drug in football and in sports in general). If an athletes testosterone to epitestosterone ratios or T/E ratios are 4:1 or over (the numbers represent the molecule), this means an athlete could be using anabolic steroids. Most "average" people have a ratio of about 1:1 in their urine.

Saying that, some people do have naturally high levels of testosterone compared to epitestosterone (your typical alpha males and females types with a sightly longer ring finger than index finger). You can find out more on the 2D:4D finger ratio in the book 59 Seconds. Men and women who have higher levels of testosterone can build muscle fairly easily, have a more V-taper look, are quick-witted, need more variety in their training and tend do better and power / strength types sports.

But the most common reasons why athletes use steroids is due to:

Being chronically over trained

Having a poor coach (there are lots of them)

Poor eating habits

Eating foods they are intolerant to

Not getting enough rest

Having too much pressure and not having the confidence to handle it, and

Being overly frustrated (because all of the above)

If they just, at the very least:

Learnt to eat right for them (in other words, finding out their metabolic type)

Trained correctly - using the correct reps, sets and loads, etc

Rested up enough

Used good quality supplements to heal and bring their bodies back into balance (if needed)

The only expectations to this, is, if someone has a goal or dream to become the next Mr or Miss Universe / Olympia. To compete at that level in bodybuilding they would use drugs, anyone who says any different is deluded. But I still have a lot of respect for these guys, for the amount of work they put in. So should you.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Difficult Choices - For Those In Early Recovery

When recovering alcoholics and recovering addicts in the early stages of recovery are trying to decide their next move after leaving treatment, they are often faced with difficult choices. "Should I go to sober living?", "What type of sober living?", "Should I stay near my family?", "Should I go back to work?" are all valid and difficult questions to be asking. Difficult choices are nothing new for those with the disease of addiction, however choosing healthy options may be. That is why continued care sober living community environments are such a critical part of any addict's recovery effort. Continued care sober living communities provide the fellowship, licensed counseling, and healthy life skills guidance that are critically needed between the treatment community and integration into traditional sober living.

While in treatment, alcoholics and addicts are introduced to educations and therapies designed to help their cognitive brains understand the disease of addiction and how brain chemistry and neuropathways have actually been altered by the prolonged use of high quantities of mood altering addictive substances such as alcohol, cocaine, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, opiates, nicotine, and other chemicals as well as impulses such as gambling, sex, work, etc. Addicts are informed that their mesolimbic system has been irreversibly physiologically altered and will forever cause the addict to intensely desire mood altering chemicals at times. Addicts are also informed that their neuropathways have been severely damaged on a molecular basis, and that repair to these important neuropathways is possible over an extended period of time. However, while repair is under way, the recovering addict will encounter difficulties in thinking clearly, remembering things, experiencing normal pleasures, and various other symptoms of post acute withdrawal.

It is clear that long-term recovery is difficult, as it seems that all the cards are stacked against the addict. But there is a great equalizer when it comes to addiction. When someone in recovery remains sober by not using any mood altering addictive substances, the mesolimbic system loses its power over the cognitive mind. And while it is difficult for those in early recovery to make healthy choices, it is entirely possible to do so if they surround themselves with the help they need. And making healthy choices over a period of one to three years will eventually allow their neuropathways to rebuild themselves and symptoms of post acute withdrawal will dissipate. And after five to seven years of sobriety and working an excellent recovery program, the addict will experience long-term recovery and lead happy, healthy, productive lives once again.

Perhaps the most important aspect of building a healthy lifestyle of recovery is remaining sober and not using any mood altering addictive substance. Cravings are the most severe when the recovering addict is stressed by internal or external agitates. When in treatment, the recovering addict is surrounded by compassion and therapists that help them deal with those stressors in healthy ways. Continued care sober living continues providing these valuable surroundings so craving will not overcome the recovering addicts desire to stay sober. It is common for stress induced cravings to recur up to a full year after first obtaining sobriety. However, after prolonged exposure to therapeutic exercises on managing stress, the recovering addict will grow more and more capable of handling stress on their own. Essentially, continued care sober living helps people to help themselves.

Many that have not had exposure to continued care sober living do not understand the tremendous life-changing benefits of licensed therapy, education, and balanced center living guidance delivered within a structured addiction after care framework. Put simply, continued care sober living is the next step in the continuum of care for the recovering alcoholic and addict leaving primary treatment and/or outpatient treatment, and affords the recovering addict the best opportunity for continuous recovery.