Alcohol Effects on the Body
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Do you have what you affectionately refer to as an alcoholic liver? Or does your body hate the effects of alcohol? Whether you suffer from alcoholism or only enjoy the occasional drink, this video will show you how drinking really effects your body.
Transcript: You savor the first sip-and the multiple sips after-but what does your body think of that alcohol fix?...
You savor the first sip-and the multiple sips after-but what does your body think of that alcohol fix? Your body reacts to alcohol as it would to a poison. In other words, it works as hard to get it out as you work to get it in! First, the liver changes alcohol into acetaldehyde, a highly toxic substance. This then turns into acetate, a harmless substance that is passed out of your body in your urine, and-more minutely-in your breath and sweat. This process is hard work, and it means that your liver can't focus on its other job, which is sending energizing glucose to other areas of your body. That's why you feel tired, weak, and disoriented following a booze binge. And take note: It takes the liver of a 150-pound person two hours to metabolize one beer! The bottom line is that alcohol does a number on your body. So drink smart!More »
Last Modified: 2013-04-17 | Tags »
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Someone is killed by a drunk driver every 45 minutes. Does this make you MADD? Learn more about drunk driving, from what blood alcohol level really means to how drinking and driving can irreparably change your life.
Transcript: Here's a sobering thought: In the USA, every thirty minutes someone is killed in an alcohol-related motor...
Here's a sobering thought: In the USA, every thirty minutes someone is killed in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident. What's even more frightening is that the majority of those deaths occur when someone between 18- and 20-years-old is behind the wheel. So drinking and driving is clearly a terrible idea. But it's important to understand why. Alcohol is a depressant, and, as such, it can have a serious impact on your driving capabilities. For starters, alcohol causes your eye muscles to function more slowly. This means that it becomes difficult to track objects properly, and it impairs your night vision. Also, because alcohol is a depressant, it causes you to react more slowly, to say, a person in the middle of the road. In a similar vein, it causes your coordination to decrease, meaning that your brain may want to hit the brake, but your foot will be too slow to do so in time. And, as you may already know, alcohol can cause you to nod off and lose concentration. These are just a few of the reasons why you should not drink and drive.You might be surprised how quickly you will hit your BAL number. A 120-pound woman, for example, will have a BAL of .08 after just two drinks over the course of an hour. A 180-pound man will hit the same blood-alcohol level around his fourth drink during an hour. And remember that a "drink" equals one 12-ounce beer, one 5-ounce glass of wine or a single ounce of liquor-amounts much smaller than what you're probably used to consuming! With this information at your fingertips, it just makes sense to call a cab or hand over your keys to a truly sober friend.More »
Last Modified: 2013-03-13 | Tags »
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So, someone you care about is drinking too much and you want to have an intervention. While interventions can work, a person who abuses alcohol must be willing to stop drinking. Here are tips for convincing your friend that its time to quit drinking.
Transcript: You've probably seen an intervention in a film or television show. In real life, an intervention is...
You've probably seen an intervention in a film or television show. In real life, an intervention is a big step, and not one to be taken lightly. If someone you care about has a serious problem with drinking or drugs, you may feel that the only way to help is to stage an intervention. An intervention is when an addict's friends and family get together to confront a loved one about the seriousness of his or her addiction; while also communicating how much he or she means to them. The hoped-for outcome is that the addict will recognize the reality of his situation and get treatment. Some of these meetings end with acknowledgment of the problem by the addict. But, unfortunately, interventions can also be met with intense anger, denial, and disbelief. If unsuccessful, an intervention can create a large rift between the addict and family members and friends, possibly leading to problems that were not present before. For this reason, it's vital to go about an intervention with as much knowledge and preparation as possible. For starters, contact a trained professional to help stage an intervention. Try the National Intervention Referral's website as a resource. In the past, interventions were staged by a counselor and loved ones to take the addict completely by surprise. Today, however, many professionals recommend telling the addict in advance that you are speaking with a counselor about his or her problems with addiction. That way, when the intervention does occur, he's less likely to feel ambushed by the talk. Whichever way works best for you, try to pick a time when the person you're planning the intervention for will be sober and in a comfortable environment. Practice the intervention with the counselor, discussing what everyone will say, and rehearsing responses to potential reactions by the addict. An intervention is not the time to seek revenge for past transgressions. Instead confront your loved one as kindly and honestly as possible. Recognize that whether the person you care about gets help or not, you may need counseling after the fact, and that's OK. Ask your intervention counselor to make a recommendation, or contact your college's health center to find someone with whom you can talk.More »
Last Modified: 2013-03-14 | Tags »
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If you've decided to confront a drinking problem, whether you join a support group or go into rehab depends heavily on your circumstances. But seeking help for alcoholism is a necessity. Watch this video to learn more.
Transcript: Does the idea of an alcohol support group conjure up images of sad, over-caffeinated people sharing intimate...
Does the idea of an alcohol support group conjure up images of sad, over-caffeinated people sharing intimate details of their lives. If so, this video will help you learn the real deal about seeking support.Support groups for alcoholics come in many forms, but they all have one goal in common: helping the addict to get well and to stop or greatly reduce their drinking. Perhaps the most well-known sobriety group is Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA. AA is an international foundation that believes alcoholism is a disease. To beat the illness, the group recommends that alcoholics abstain from all alcohol for the rest of their lives. Alcoholics Anonymous uses twelve steps to help users quit their addiction and make amends with those they have hurt by drinking. AA incorporates prayer and references to a "higher power"as part of its healing process. Due to these religious undertones, a 1996 court order ruled it illegal for parole officers or other authorities to require AA attendance. If you're uncomfortable with spiritual references, Alcoholics Anonymous is not the only support group available to you! Some alcoholics prefer a group like SMART Recovery, an acronym for Self-Management And Recovery Training, which does not believe that alcoholism is a disease, and which keeps religion out of the healing process. Instead, SMART Recovery approaches alcohol abuse as a mental issue, and seeks to change a person's mindset about drinking. There are some recovery programs which are not designed for alcoholics, but rather, for people who have abused alcohol in the past - and who are now ready to commit to reducing their drinking. Moderation Management, or MM, is an example of this type of program, and has been helpful for many college aged people. The rundown of the different alcohol support groups could continue for many videos, which means there is bound to be a program out there that will work for you. Because there are many different types of alcohol support groups, you are certain to find one that will work for you. To find your best support, talk to your college's health center, or search "Self Help Group Locator" on the internet.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-04 | Tags »
alcohol rehab, alcoholics anonymous, alcohol support groups, alcoholism help, alcohol treatment, 12 step stop drinking, addiction, alcohol, alcohol rehabilitation addiction, mental illness, mental health
Many people are able to responsibly use alcohol. However, repeated alcohol abuse or a diagnosis of alcoholism can both lead to severe consequences. Here, we'll look at what addiction can mean to your body--from cirrhosis to cancer.
Transcript: Here's a sobering fact: Each year, there are 85,000 alcohol-related deaths, and over 7,000 involve people...
Here's a sobering fact: Each year, there are 85,000 alcohol-related deaths, and over 7,000 involve people who are not yet 21.Consumed in moderation, alcohol can act as a social lubricant. Unfortunately though, for many young people, drinking isn't always done in moderation. You're probably already familiar with some of the more immediate negative effects of drinking. Because alcohol depresses your central nervous system, it will sedate you. Though you may feel excited when drinking, in actuality alcohol is a CNS depressant. This means you'll experience reduced inhibitions, slurred speech, decreased muscle coordination, and impaired judgment. An incident of heavy drinking can result in alcohol poisoning, during which your body can fall into a life-threatening coma; or even in extreme circumstances, death.Alcohol consumption is a factor in nearly 50 percent of American car accidents, which is why many alcohol-related deaths - and injuries - occur in a motor vehicle crash. Over the long-term, continued alcohol consumption can lead to potentially life-threatening liver disorders, like hepatitis, which is an inflammation of the live...or cirrhosis, which is an irreversible and progressive scarring of liver tissue. Drinking can also lead to cancer. It's been directly linked to liver, rectum, breast, colon, throat and mouth cancerAnd if these life-threatening ailments don't give you pause, you should also know that excessive, habitual drinking can lead to permanent erectile dysfunction or loss of fertility for both sexes! Excessive consumption has also been linked to emotional and mental health issues. Studies have shown that heavy drinkers are more likely to be divorced, unemployed, and even suicidal than people who drink in moderation. Still, this doesn't mean you can't have a good time. What it does mean is that you need to smart about when, where, and how much you drink.More »
Last Modified: 2013-03-14 | Tags »
alcohol abuse, cirrhosis, consequences of alcohol, alcohol rehab, liver damage, alcohol dangers, Alcohol, drinking, drinking problem, liver failure, alcoholism, addiction, effects of alcoholism, effects of long term drinking excessive drinking, addiction, rehab, recovery mental illness, mental health, depression treatment, treating depression, therapy
Exercise addiction can be defined as an obsession with fitness. Believe it or not, excessive exercise can be harmful. Watch this video to find out more.
Transcript: Exercise is a good thing, right? Well, most of the time but like the old adage says, you CAN get too...
Exercise is a good thing, right? Well, most of the time but like the old adage says, you CAN get too much of a good thing! According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, most adults should exercise about thirty minutes daily. For children, that number doubles, to about sixty minutes of physical activity each day. But for some people-most often females between ages 12 and 19 the recommended amount of exercise is never enough. Hypergymnasia is a condition characterized by a person's compulsive desire to exercise well beyond what is considered normal and healthy. A person with this condition typically has a skewed body image and tries to achieve an impossible goal by exercising in a rigorous manner. Often, hypergymnasia is coupled with anorexia nervosa or bulimia nervosa. Also called "obligatory exercise" and "anorexia athletica," this condition causes sufferers to lose all enjoyment of exercise. Instead, physical activity becomes an obligation that is not to be shirked, even in the face of sickness or injury. If a person with hypergymnasia misses even ONE workout, she is bombarded with feelings of guilt and anxiety. Often, individuals with the condition will abandon social, work, and school commitments in order to exercise. Physical activity becomes SO important, in fact, that sufferers define self-worth and success in terms of performance. It's not uncommon for compulsive exercisers to also struggle with very poor body image. In addition, excessive exercise can damage muscles, bones, and joints, and when these minor injuries aren't permitted time to heal, long-term damage can result. Even more disturbing, too much activity places stress on the heart, particularly when an eating disorder is ALSO present. In extreme cases, this can lead to cardiac arrest. Females are PARTICULARLY at risk for physical problems, as anorexia athletica can disrupt the hormone levels in their bodies. This can lead to premature bone loss as well as the cessation of their menstrual periods. While this is upsetting, people with hypergymnasia CAN and DO improve with treatment. Psychotherapy can help patients establish a healthier relationship with both exercise AND eating. In fact, an estimated 80-percent of those treated for anorexia athletica experience vast improvements or complete recoveries. If you, or someone you love, show signs of hypergymnasia, don't stay silent! Make an appointment with a mental health professional immediately!More »
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Understanding addiction is essential in helping, treating, or even living with an addict. Learn more about what addiction really is by watching this video.
Transcript: Addiction is a chronic mental illness that can be hard to treat, but there are resources and treatments...
Addiction is a chronic mental illness that can be hard to treat, but there are resources and treatments that can help. But before you can address the problem, how is addiction defined? Addiction means different things to different people. Some of us use the word to describe our affection for designer shoes or our inability to put down our Blackberries. But while it may begin as a bad "habit," real addiction goes far beyond that. Addiction is the compulsive need to engage in a certain activity or use a substance. Alcoholism, drug addiction, compulsive overeating, workaholism, and compulsive over-exercise are all examples of addiction. The use of said substance or activity creates a feeling of euphoria, or a "high," for the addicted individual. Addictions have a dual nature: On one end, the addiction is physical. The individual engages in the activity or takes in the substance to get the rush of brain chemicals needed to feel high. On the other end, the addiction is psychological. The addict needs their activity to help them cope with life, and intense anxiety is felt in the absence of their addictive substance or activity. While we tend to think of people being addicted to substances like narcotics or nicotine, other common addictions include: sex, shopping, eating, or gambling. And many addicts have more than one addiction. An addict will engage in their addiction even when it's clear that using the substance or engaging in the activity is against their own best interests. Addiction is often seen as a moral failing by the general public, but is understood as a disease by the medical establishment. Control is the central issue. An addict reaches a point at which they can no longer "control" how often or how much they will engage in the activity or use the substance, no matter how strong their willpower. Like other chronic diseases, addiction tends to grow worse over time. When addicted to something, the body becomes dependent on the substance or activity and needs increasing amounts to feel the same kind of rush. For people with severe addictions, a rehabilitation program can help overcome the initial stages of addiction. Conquering addiction is a challenging lifelong process. It's not impossible-but it can take time. Many addicts relapse more than once before getting sober for good. Much like dealing with diabetes, heart disease or other chronic diseases, recovering from addiction sometimes requires full lifestyle modification. That means adopting healthy habits and steering clear of destructive ones, often requiring an addict to make new friends, in order to remove themselves from the people and places associated with the addiction. It also means dealing with the emotional difficulties that drove you to drink or gamble or do drugs in the first place. Counseling sessions and 12-Step recovery programs can help. Peer-support programs like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous have some of the highest rates of continued recovery. If you think you, or someone you love, may have a problem, speak with a trusted health professional, or contact your local AA chapter they can help you find resources in your community, to help battle your addiction.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
addiction, addicted, addictions, addiction facts, addicts, smoking, alcoholism, alcohol, substance abuse, drug addiction, gambling addiction, alcohol addiction, drug abuse high, drugs, cocaine, heroin, alcoholic anonymous, al anon, intervention mental, mental health, mental illness, mental condition, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapy, counseling, overdose
How can you know if a friend or loved one has an unhealthy addiction? There are some obvious and some not so obvious indications. Watch this video to learn about addiction symptoms.
Transcript: So you think that someone you know is suffering from addiction, but how can you know for sure? Find out...
So you think that someone you know is suffering from addiction, but how can you know for sure? Find out how doctors diagnose addiction, and learn more about what you can do if you, or someone you know, is struggling with addiction. Addiction is a compulsive dependence on a substance, like drugs, or on a behavior, like purging. The path to addiction begins with experimental or recreational use. Maybe you tried cocaine because your friends were doing it. Or perhaps you started gambling during a weekend trip to Atlantic City. You never know when, or if, addiction is going to take hold. That's part of what makes experimenting so risky. Some people can engage in addictive behaviors and never become dependent. Other people can become addicted the first time they try something. Having a family member who is an addict or alcoholic greatly increases YOUR risk of developing an addiction. Many people with an addiction problem do NOT know they have one. No matter what warning signs are present, addicts tend to be blind to their own disease, often finding excuses for their behavior when pressed. People with an addiction might say that all of their friends drink, smoke, do drugs or gamble as much as they do. Or, they might say that they can stop ANY time, but just have no DESIRE to quit. If you think you might have a problem, or know someone who does, here are some of the most common warning signs of addiction. People who are addicts have a compulsive need to use alcohol, drugs or engage in the problem behavior. Hallmarks of addiction, or increasing dependence can include: preoccupation with the substance or activity, the person planning their whole day around said substance or activity, and using more of the substance or participating more frequently in the activity than before. Addicts have a difficult time controlling their use, even though they often have a desire to cut back. They may try to stop, or make deals with themselves that they're ONLY going to drink so much-and then fail. People with a substance or behavior addiction will continue to use even when doing so leads to negative consequences, like losing a job or hurting a family member. Often, they spend a significant amount of time trying to cover up their activities. For instance, if a person has an alcohol problem, they may hide their liquor, avoid phone calls because they're hung over, or downplay how many drinks they've had. The signs for addiction are the same, whether one has a problem with alcohol, prescription drugs, street drugs, or behaviors like binging, purging, spending, gambling or sex. If you think that you, or someone you care about has an addiction problem, talk to someone whom you trust, who can help you find an addiction program in your area.More »
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Anyone can become addicted to drugs, alcohol or even sex -- it crosses all nationalities and socieconomic groups. But some people are more predisposed to addictions than others. Watch this video to learn more about genetics and addiction.
Transcript: No matter how old you are, how much money you make, or what color your skin is, you can develop an addiction....
No matter how old you are, how much money you make, or what color your skin is, you can develop an addiction. Everyone, from low-income single moms to middle-class straight-A students. from rock stars like Amy Winehouse, to media personalities like Rush Limbaugh can succumb to addiction. Millions of American will become addicted to a substance or behavior in their lifetime. And while we're all technically at risk, there are certain factors that make some of us more susceptible to addiction than others. Consider it a product of nature and nurture. Genes and environment both play a role in deciding who will develop an addiction-and who will not. Let's start with genetics. If a close family relative, like your mom, dad, sister or grandparent, has a problem with addiction, you are at greater risk, too. But how much greater? Scientists estimate that genes are a critical component of a person's vulnerability to addiction. But that means that there is also a key component of withstanding the potential of addiction that lies within a person's own hands. So even if you have so-called "addiction genes" in your family, you are not destined to become an addict. But you do have to be more careful when it comes to using and abusing substances. A few things that have been shown to help safeguard against future addictive behaviors include: A stable family life and close relationship with one's parents, sit-down family meals, and adequate parental involvement and supervision, can all help to keep kids off the path of addiction. Of course, we can't blame our parents for everything. It's probably no surprise that whom we hang out with can greatly determine whether we'll begin using addictive substances. If our friends get into drugs, alcohol, dangerous dieting or sex, chances are, we will too. Junior high and high school are times of sometimes intense peer pressure; it can feel much easier to go along with the crowd rather than find new friends. Perhaps that's why adolescents are at greater risk of addiction. Another high-risk group are those with psychological conditions like: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and ADHD, who often turn to drugs, alcohol or other mood-altering activities in order to escape their feelings. Identifying and treating symptoms of these and other psychological conditions early on can help prevent people from self-medicating with illegal substances. Even if none of these risk factors apply, that doesn't mean one is immune to addiction. Certain substances and behaviors, like cocaine and heroin, are more addictive than others. Remember that the only way you can avoid addiction for sure is by not abusing substances or behaviors in the first place.More »
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Living with an addict is not easy. In fact it can be a lot more frustrating for you than for the addict you are caring for. Watch this video to find out more.
Transcript: Living with, or caring for, someone with a substance or behavioral addiction, can be stressful and traumatizing....
Living with, or caring for, someone with a substance or behavioral addiction, can be stressful and traumatizing. Just because you recognize a family member has a problem doesn't mean he or she is willing to change. If you find yourself coping with the addiction of a family member, the most important thing you can do is to take care of yourself. Here's how: First, address the situation. Covering up your family member's addiction, or pretending it doesn't exist, allows the behavior to progress and worsen. Know that your loved one will most likely deny any problems, but it's okay to let them know you're concerned about their health. Second: find someone you can talk to. Living with addiction is extraordinarily stressful, and you shouldn't have to go through it alone. Opening up to a psychologist, clergy person, or support group can help you take stock of the situation and gain perspective. Consider joining Al-Anon or a similar peer support program, where other people dealing with a loved one's addiction can share their stories. Having a network of people who have been through similar experiences can help you to navigate day-to-day issues. Third, don't forget about yourself. It's easy to neglect your own needs when you're living with an addict. You might be so caught up in the worry for the other person that you don't take care of your most basic needs. Make sure you're getting enough rest, eating a balanced diet; and exercising. It may sound like an odd recommendation, but regular physical activity helps relieve your stress and anxiety, and builds self-esteem-all of which can help you cope with your loved one's addiction. Next, don't blame yourself. You can offer to help your loved one find treatment programs and encourage them to get better, but you can't make them change. An addict will get and remain sober only when he or she is ready. Remind yourself daily that it is not your fault. You did not cause them to get sick and you cannot make them get better. Finally, don't take on their problems. It's hard to watch someone you love slip into a spiral of bad decisions and consequences. And it's natural to want to help. But covering up for them, or straightening up their messy situations, isn't going to help them or you. Protecting them from their own actions may, however, keep them from realizing how bad their problem is. If they have to hit bottom in order to seek out treatment, you have to allow that to happen. Recovery is a process that can take a long time. The addiction didn't happen overnight, and getting sober won't either. As hard as it may be, try not to judge their addiction. Addiction is a disease that requires lifelong vigilance. Figure out what your own personal limits are as well. Just because you love someone doesn't mean you have to put up with their addiction. You just have to decide what's right for you.More »
Last Modified: 2013-11-22 | Tags »
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Teenage alcohol and drug abuse should be cause for concern among parents. While sampling drugs and alcohol may seem harmless, using them could turn into a lifelong addiction. Watch this video to learn more.
Transcript: The teen years are a time of newfound independence, as kids begin to become adults, venturing out into...
The teen years are a time of newfound independence, as kids begin to become adults, venturing out into the world, making their own decisions. It's also a time many will experiment with drugs and alcohol. Experimenting with drugs and alcohol is nothing new for teens. Consider these statistics: by the age of 14, 41 percent of kids will have had at least one drink. The average American boy will take his fist sip of alcohol when he's 11, while American girls try it a little later, by age of 13. The average teen begins drinking regularly just before turning 16, around the time they get their learner's permit and driver's license. Drinking or using drugs before the age of 15 triples their risk of becoming addict. Consider this sobering stat: right now, three million teenagers in the U.S. are alcoholics. And that's just one substance. Teens today have greater access to a lot more drugs than ever before. And many of them can be found right inside your house. High school and college students have been known to abuse ADHD drugs like Ritalin to help them study or control their appetite. They might try steroids to help them bulk up. Or they snag their parents' prescription painkillers from the medicine cabinet because they've heard you can get high off of them. Teens' brains are not yet fully developed. Pot, alcohol and other drugs can impair brain development and lead to permanent changes in the teenaged brain. Taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction. But teenagers are at even greater risk. The younger you are when you start using drugs, the greater your chances of developing a dependency. Parents need to stay involved in their kids' lives, and let them know early on about the dangers of drug use. Providing your teen with a stable home environment and a close, loving relationship is the best thing you can do to prevent alcohol and drug abuse. Establishing rules and boundaries is a key part of that. Even if they don't like it, kids need to know what's expected of them and what is acceptable behavior. Peer pressure can also play a big role in substance abuse. Whether a teenager is a misfit or runs with the popular crowd, having a low self-esteem and feeling like they don't fit in can make them try things in order to look cool. If all of their friends are doing it, there's a good chance that they will do it, too. That's why it is imperative for parents to keep the lines of communication open. Common signs of alcohol or drug abuse in teens include: withdrawing from family and friends, doing poorly in school, discipline problems, anger, and hostility. If you suspect that your teen is using any illegal substances, even if he or she is just experimenting, talk to them immediately. If their behavior continues or worsens, seek professional help. Remember the sooner you can get them help, the better their chances of kicking an addiction.More »
Last Modified: 2013-06-04 | Tags »
teen drinking, teen smoking, teen addiction, substance abuse, adolescent drug abuse, teen drunk driving, underage drinking teenagers, teens, adolescents, drugs, drinking, alcohol, alcohol abuse, drug abuse mental, mental health, mental illness, mental condition, heroin, cocaine, drinking, intervention, counseling, crack, suicide, overdose
Drug abuse and mental illness are related. Watch this video to learn the association between drugs, addiction and mental illness.
Transcript: A certain percentage of people who try drugs or alcohol stand a chance of becoming addicted, but for...
A certain percentage of people who try drugs or alcohol stand a chance of becoming addicted, but for those with psychological disorders, like depression, anxiety or schizophrenia, that number can climb to as high as eighty percent. Addiction and mental illness often go hand in hand, in fact, fifty percent of the people who seek treatment for addiction ALSO have a mental disorder. Addiction is a complex brain disease that involves compulsive and often uncontrollable cravings for a substance or behavior. People who are addicted will do almost anything to satisfy that craving, even if it results in tragic consequences. What accounts for such destructive behavior? Addiction changes the brain's structure and the way it functions. It deteriorates the SAME areas of the brain that malfunction in many mental illnesses. While scientists are STILL trying to understand the connection, we do know that people with psychological conditions are at greater risk for developing an addiction. Here's how the numbers stack up: 20 to 50 percent of people with depression or anxiety ALSO have an addiction. For people with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or antisocial personality, addiction affects between 40 to 80 percent. The question here is: Does drug abuse LEAD to mental illness, or are people with mental illnesses MORE SUSCEPTIBLE to addiction? Some research shows that people with schizophrenia, for instance, are more sensitive to the effects of drugs, and that they may become addicted more quickly. Other studies show that people with a particular gene are more likely to develop schizophrenia if they smoke marijuana regularly. If you have schizophrenia in your family tree, you MIGHT want to warn your family members about the possible connection. People who have a mental illness may also try to treat their symptoms by taking mood-altering substances. For example, take depression: people who are clinically depressed have a hard time getting pleasure out of things that most people find enjoyable. That's because their brain's so-called reward system isn't functioning properly. Mood-altering drugs can temporarily stimulate that area of the brain, allowing depressed people to feel better -at least momentarily. Because they feel so bad normally, depressed people might be more likely than people without mental illnesses to chase after that feeling. Chronic drug use can also WORSEN the symptoms of mental illness. Alcohol is a well-known depressant. Abusing it can lead to major depression. Methamphetamine abuse can cause anxiety, paranoia and psychosis. Overusing marijuana is sometimes associated with anxiety, depression, hallucinations, and in some cases, schizophrenia. People who suffer from mental illness AND addiction stand the best chance of getting sober if they treat both conditions simultaneously. Learning how to deal with the difficult emotions of mood disorders is paramount to staying sober. When looking for a substance abuse program or counselor, make SURE they are licensed in treating emotional disorders as well. The failure to treat a disorder can SIGNIFICANTLY jeopardize a patient's chances of success, so if you, or someone you love may be suffering from addiction and/or a mental condition, please seek help immediately!More »
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