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How Alcohol Robs Us of Our Most Valuable Commodity: Time

As a human being with the unusual job that involves managing substance use interventions with folks, I have seen the devastating impact of alcohol and drugs on people, places, and things – yes all of them. And while fentanyl has received a lot of attention in recent years for its deadly effects, there is another substance that is killing far more people each day, every day in this great nation of ours: ALCOHOL.

The original sin in my Quaker household, where the saying went “I don’t drink, and I don’t chew (tobacco) and I don’t go with girls who do”, alcohol has always been the headline wreaking havoc yet it’s the least talked about these days anyway due to the opioid epidemic and the insane potency of its cousins – like fentanyl.

Legal and readily available, alcohol is the only killer most of us can easily throw in the grocery basket at our local Trader Joes to take home for the kill. For most, who develop an alcohol dependency, they don’t even see it coming as a front seat threat.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol-related deaths have been on the rise in recent years, with more than 88,000 people dying from booze in the United States in 2020. That’s more than double the # of deaths attributed to fentanyl, which claimed the lives of about 36,000 people in the same span.

Alcohol addiction causes a litany of health problems, including liver disease, heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. That’s all the inside stuff that occurs, without even touching on yet, the falls, the crashes, the trauma and relational damage it wreaks. Not a surprise to anyone but those who have it generally, alcohol alos is a leading trigger for mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

In addition to its physical and mental health effects, alcohol dependency also carries with it crushing social consequences. It can strain relationships with family and friends, lead to job loss and financial instability, and increase the risk of legal trouble and life behind bars.

Alcohol is one of the greatest thieves of time too – that is the most sacred collateral any of us have, the minutes, hours and years we get to spend seeking out experiences and LIFE.

Despite all these risks, alcohol remains the most socially acceptable and widely consumed substance on the planet. Most people view alcohol use as a harmless way to unwind or socialize, and I find the easiest to minimize in our minds, since the social capital it carries is often sexy and sought after.

We see it reflected in film and TV, music and art as an elixir promoted to make life better. Most families I work with, haven’t  realized the dangers of alcoholism until it is the goose is pretty well cooked.

As a national village, we need to do more to normalize the discussion of alcohol addiction and its brutal consequences. This includes increasing access to detox services treatment and support, promoting education and awareness about the risks of alcohol, and implementing policies that discourage drinking.

If we want to reduce the number of deaths caused by substance abuse, we need to recognize that alcohol is just as dangerous as any other addictive substance, and take action to address the root causes of addiction. Hope is dope, but to stand by waiting for our friends and family who over do it with booze, to simmer down on their own, is a failed step.

Hope without action is magical thinking.

I’ve not had a hangover or rough day after, since February 5, 2003.

Figuring this life landscape out has helped me recover a life I’d dreamed of for years, but as my attachment (and yes, dependency) to alcohol increased, my value of life, decreased.

The Top 10 Most Addictive things on the Planet! [List]

People can become addicted to pretty much anything, depending on their unique conditions and personality. Food, shopping, drugs… There are so many different addictive things out there in the world, and some are clearly worse than others. Have you ever wondered how they compare?

We’ve compiled a list of the top 10 most addictive things out there. However, I didn’t just come up with all of these rankings (well, maybe I did come up with 2 of them..), they are based on research conducted by a group of psychiatrists, chemists, and other addiction specialists. They have come up with “addictiveness” values for each of the following substances on a scale of 0-3, 3 being the most possibly addictive.

10. Amphetamines (1.95)

Amphetamines are a class of drug related to the infamous Methamphetamine. They are usually pharmaceutical grade drugs in the form of a pill, that are then resold without a prescription illegally. Ritalin and Adderall are two common forms of amphetamines.

Although amphetamines are the least addictive substance on our list, they provide additional benefits that discourage users from ever wanting to quit. They can cause weight loss, boosted mood and confidence, and elevated energy. Unfortunately, the longer we use these medications the harder it is to quit, and we develop more and more complications over time.

9. Cocaine (2.13)

Cocaine is derived from the coca plant, native to South America. The coca leaf is a sacred plant among Andean cultures located in Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Colombia, and Ecuador. However, when the coca leaf is mixed with hydrochloric acid, the result is powder cocaine. The effects of cocaine are stimulating, which means it gives us euphoria, energy and extra confidence.

8. Peanut Butter (2.13**)

BRB readers!

Excuse me, I had to run to the pantry for some more PB.

Equally as addictive as cocaine, peanut butter sinks its hooks into everyone who tries it. Experts agree that here in the USA, we’re currently experiencing a PB-addiction epidemic! Everyone is eating it!!

However, considering peanut butter is awesome, full of protein, and vegan, I think it’s just fine to have a little PB-addiction 😉

**OK, maybe I made this one up, no psychiatrists actually rated PB as a 2.13 in addictiveness.

7. Alcohol (2.13)

Since alcohol is a legal substance, and it’s socially acceptable for us to drink together and celebrate with alcohol, we forget that its also incredibly addictive. Also, we are less likely to notice or take action when an addiction is developing since alcohol is so socially acceptable.

Of all addictive substance on this list, alcohol has the most severe and dangerous withdrawal conditions. Some people with especially severe addiction to alcohol develop a potentially lethal condition called Delirium Tremens if they try to quit drinking cold turkey.

6. Methamphetamine (2.24)

Also known as just Meth, this drug functions as an upper and is highly addictive. It’s usually cooked in less-than-ideal conditions by non-chemists using makeshift equipment. This means that meth is often impure, contaminated, and sometimes adulterated with other dangerous substances to increase the bulk.

Meth is a dangerous drug because it destroys our teeth, skin, mental abilities, cardiovascular system, and more. Longterm use can even cause death.

5. Methadone (2.62)

Ironically, methadone is a prescription medication used to help heroin addicts transition as they work on getting sober. Ironically however, methadone is addictive in itself and now people are using it recreationally when heroin or pain pills aren’t available. Methadone is in the same class of drugs as morphine and heroine, so it produces similar sensations.

In the year 2012, nearly 4.5 thousand deaths resulted from methadone use.

4. Nicotine (2.82)

Cigarettes, cigars, spliffs, hookah, chewing tobacco: the addictive alkaloid nicotine shows up in all of these different tobacco products. At this point, it’s pretty much common knowledge that nicotine is addictive, but did you know that it’s equally addictive as crack cocaine?

How many people do you know who smoke cigarettes, and admit that they wish they could quit? Quite a few, I’m sure. Tobacco gets us hooked chemically, because of the nicotine content, and also emotionally. Many of us grow accustomed to smoking while drinking or socializing. This makes it hard to go out and have fun without also craving a smoke.

3. Crack Cocaine (2.82)

This drug is made by mixing and heating powder cocaine with a base (high pH substance) like baking soda, and water. This process yields the purest form of cocaine possible. Because of this, crack produces a more intense and fast-acting high than powder cocaine. The effects usually last for less than a few minutes. For this reason, users will often take multiple hits, and use the drug over and over again to maintain their high.

2. LOVE (2.87**)

Have you ever heard the saying that love is a drug? Well it’s not actually, but it is an emotional state that can surely become addictive!

Love is a beautiful thing that helps us to boost our mood, forget our problems, and feel more confident. It’s supposed to make us feel good, but it only works when the love is true and sincere. When we’re compulsively seeking out new lovers and getting into iffy relationships because of it, love can actually make us feel worse in the long run.

Brad Lamm, CIP explains:

Love addiction is characterized by compulsive or obsessive patterns in romance, sexuality and relationships that have harmful consequences for the addict and their partners. The love addict pursues romance and the high of new love without ever developing genuine intimacy and connection. Love becomes a source of an emotional rush that distorts reality. The subsequent terror and fear of abandonment that follows is too much to bear.

** I made up this numerical value, but scientists and mental health experts all agree that love can certainly be very addictive!

1. Heroin (2.89)

The #1 most addictive substance, Heroin, is a form of opioid painkiller like methadone and morphine. Unlike methadone which me mentioned earlier, heroin is not available by prescription; it must be purchased illegally. Therefore, it’s more dangerous than other opioids because it’s often impure, contaminated, or cut down.

What makes heroin unique, is that it rapidly breaks down the brain’s built-in reward system composed of dopamine and endorphins. Over time, heroin addicts find it impossible to experience any pleasure outside of using the drug. This is why they keep coming back despite all of the harm.

Do you or someone you care about struggle with one or more items on the list?

Sometimes it may be hard to tell if you are addicted to a certain substance or not. Especially when you know people that are facing a far worse situation than you. But that doesn’t mean you’re not addicted and that you don’t need help.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with any substance on this list, please, do not hesitate to ask for help. We are here to provide the assistance you need!

All you have to do is click the button below and we’ll take the next steps together.

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The 8 Worst Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Deciding to quit drinking alchohol is a tough decision to make. Implementing it is even harder. If we’ve been drinking a lot for a while now, our brains become chemically dependent on alchohol just to function normally. So, when we quit cold turkey… bam! Alcohol withdrawal symptoms jump out to get us. At we can help support you through this stage on your way to sobriety.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are an uncomfortable, but also unavoidable,  hurdle to cross on the way to sobriety. You can get through it! millions have before you. Knowing the symptoms ahead of time will help you prepare and get through this tough transition stage. Let’s go through the 8 worst alcohol withdrawal symptoms!

What causes alcohol withdrawal symptoms?

The active ingredient in alcoholic drinks is ethanol, which is what gets us drunk. This drug, ethanol, is a nervous system depressant. It makes the brain work slower than normal. When someone is a chronic drinker, their brain makes adjustments so it can get used to the depressant effect. After a while, the brain starts to produce additional excitatory neurotransmitters and receptors to balance out the effect of the alcohol. The brain physically and chemically changes to speed things up, if alcohol has been chronically slowing it down.

When we quit alcohol suddenly, our brain doesn’t adjust at the same rhythm. It’s so used to hitting the gas all the time because alcohol is slowing it down. Our brains stay in overdrive for a while, producing these 8 alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are all indicators of a brain suffering from overstimulation. Treatment for alcohol withdrawal symptoms involves careful and temporary use of nervous system depressants that aren’t alcohol.

The 8 Worst Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

These 8 are only a few  of the many possible alcohol withdrawal symptoms. They represent the most common and most severe symptoms that people experience during alcohol detox.

1. Hallucinations

When someone sees, hears, or feels things that aren’t there, they are experiencing something doctors call alcohol hallucinosis. This symptom can be the most frightening and challenging to overcome. Hallucinations start around 6-24 hours after taking your last drink and can persist for a few days. Under normal alcohol detox conditions, the patient should still be aware of reality and clear-headed even with hallucinations.

2. Seizures

Seizures are terrifying and can be dangerous. Not everyone experiences seizures, but if you do they will occur within the first 48 hours of alcohol detox. The risk for seizures due to alcohol withdrawal peaks at 24 hours after the last drink and then tapers down. Some people experience single, more intense seizure once in a while. Others experience multiple, “smaller” seizures in groups. Although uncomfortable and scary, the seizures will let up by your third day.

3. Tremors

Within only 5 hours of the last alcoholic drink, most people going through alcohol withdrawal will get the shakes. Tremors are most obvious in the hands, but the whole body is in fact shaking. The shakes are usually occompanied by anxiety, a racing heart, and restlessness.

4. Confusion

During alcohol withdrawal, the brain is struggling to regain balance of its neurotransmitters. These chemicals are what allow our brain cells to communicate and function. When they are severely disturbed, in the case of alcohol withdrawal, we can get confused. Our brains are overwhelmed, stressed, and not working as quickly and efficiently as normal.

5. Vomiting

Nausea and vomiting are typical symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Unfortunately, this symptom can last for a whole week after quitting alcohol.

Prepare for stomach problems by drinking fluids and electrolytes. Some sports beverages might help you get through withdrawal without getting too dehydrated.

6. Heart palpitations

If you’re not expecting it, this symptom can be terrifying!! Heart palpitations can feel like a heart attack or worse, and trigger a panic attack.The cardiac system, stressed by chronic alcohol use, has a hard time adjusting to sobriety.  During withdrawal, expect your heart to race and beat irregularly from time to time.

7. Delirium Tremens

In only 5%-20% of alcohol detox cases, delirium tremens can take place. This is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal and it is an emergency situation that requires medical attention. Delirium tremens refers to a hyper-adrenergic state where the brain is overcome with those excitatory neurotransmitters we mentioned earlier. For those who develop delirium tremens, most will require treatment in the ICU, Intensive Care Unit.

Delirium Tremens is characterized by much more severe versions of the typical withdrawal symptoms. The most recognizable are confusion and hallucinations. Although confusion and hallucinations are to be expected, in delirium tremens, the person is not as clear. They lose sight of reality and can fall into a sleepy or confused state that last for days. This condition begins around 24-48 hours after the last drink and can persist for up to two weeks.

8. Death

For most people, alcohol withdrawal symptoms will pass within 5 days without any major complications. However, in a small minority of cases, some people don’t make it though detox. The mortality rate for people who experience delirium tremens is between 15% and 20%. For this reason, we recommend that anyone considering alcohol detoxification seek out medical assistance ahead of time.

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Here, we can connect you to an alcohol detox program so you can get through this stage safely. Please reach out to us if you’re struggling with alcohol, and ready to get clean.

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