Apr 18

Alcohol Most Harmful Drug


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A group of British scientific experts has concluded that when combining its effects on the individual and on society, alcohol far outpaces other substances as the most harmful drug, the Associated Press reported Nov. 1.

The Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs, meeting via an interactive workshop, used multicriteria decision analysis to evaluate drugs’ effects on the body and their impacts on society, including effects on families and on costs in areas such as health care and corrections. Heroin, crack cocaine and methamphetamine were ranked in the analysis as the most lethal drugs to the individual, but alcohol, heroin and crack were judged most harmful to others.

The combined harm score for alcohol was the highest, at 72 out of a possible 100, followed by heroin (55) and crack (54).

The authors explained that the rankings, based on 16 criteria, do not correspond to how drugs are currently classified in the United Kingdom. For example, last year the British government increased penalties for possession of marijuana, a drug that ranked far below alcohol and other illegal drugs in the experts’ assessment of overall harm.

“What governments decide is illegal is not always based on science,” said Wim van den Brink, professor of psychiatry and addiction at the University of Amsterdam.

Yet study co-author Leslie King, an adviser to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs, urged against interpreting the results as a call for alcohol prohibition. “Alcohol is too embedded in our culture and it won’t go away,” King said.

The findings were published online Nov. 1 2010 in The Lancet.

From Join Together


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Apr 17

A Message to Teenagers…

How to tell when drinking is becoming a problem



Alcoholism is a rough word to deal with.
Yet nobody is too young (or too old) to have trouble with booze.
That’s because alcoholism is an illness. It can hit anyone. Young, old. Rich, poor. Black, white. And it doesn’t matter how long you’ve been drinking or what you’ve been drinking. It’s what drinking does to you that counts.

To help you decide whether you might have a problem with your own drinking, we’ve prepared these 12 questions. The answers are nobody’s business but your own. If you can answer yes to any one of these questions, maybe it’s time you took a serious look at what your drinking might be doing to you. And, if you do need help or if you’d just like to talk to someone about your drinking, call us. We’re in the phone book under Alcoholics Anonymous.

A Simple 12-Question Quiz designed To Help You Decide

1 Do you drink because you have problems? To relax?

2 Do you drink when you get mad at other people, your friends or parents?

3 Do you prefer to drink alone, rather than with others?

4 Are your grades starting to slip? Are you goofing off on your job?

5 Did you ever try to stop drinking or drink less — and fail?

6 Have you begun to drink in the morning, before school or work?

7 Do you gulp your drinks?

8 Do you ever have loss of memory due to your drinking?

9 Do you lie about your drinking?

10 Do you ever get into trouble when you’re drinking?

11 Do you get drunk when you drink, even when you don’t mean to?

12 Do you think it’s cool to be able to hold your liquor?

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
• The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.
• A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes.
• Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

This is A.A. General Service Conference-approved literature Copyright © 1988, 1998 by A.A. World Services, Inc. All Right Reserved reprinted with permission

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Apr 12

Boating Under the Influence

Coast Guard Calls Attention to Dangers of Boating Under the Influence

The U.S. Coast Guard launched “Operation Dry Water” this weekend, a nationwide annual campaign to call attention to the dangers of boating under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

According to the Coast Guard, alcohol was the leading factor in 16 percent of boating-related deaths in 2011, the Detroit Free Press reports.

“Sun, wind, noise, vibration and motion cause fatigue and slow down your reaction time,”

Cleveland-based Coast Guard Commander David Beck, Chief of Enforcement for the 9th Coast Guard District, told the newspaper. “Combining those factors with alcohol or drugs greatly reduces your reaction time and can lead to deadly consequences.” The article notes that boaters who fail sobriety tests can be issued citations or can be immediately taken into custody and have their vessels impounded.

The Coast Guard recommends that in order to avoid boating under the influence, boaters should take along a variety of cool non-alcoholic drinks. “If you want to make alcohol part of your day’s entertainment, plan to have a party ashore at the dock, in a picnic area, at a boating club, or in your backyard… Choose a location where you’ll have time between the fun and getting back into your car or boat,” the Coast Guard notes on its website. Boaters who dock for lunch or dinner and drink alcohol with their meal should wait a reasonable amount of time (a minimum of one hour per drink) before operating a boat.

By Join Together Staff

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Apr 10

Alcohol & Bowel Cancer Risk

Bowel-Cancer_2 Moderate Alcohol Consumption Raises Bowel Cancer Risk

Moderate drinking may improve coronary health, but a new study says that drinking a small amount of alcohol daily could increase the risk of bowel cancer, the Independent reported July 31.

A British study found that those who drank a pint of beer or a glass of wine daily raised their bowel-cancer risk 10 percent, while individuals who drank two pints or two glasses of wine daily faced a 25-percent higher risk. The findings were based on the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition, which asked more than 480,000 Europeans about their drinking.

"The key thing is the more you drink the more your risk goes up," said Cat Arney, a spokesperson for Cancer Research UK, which helped fund the study.

The study was published in the online edition of the International Journal of Cancer.


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Apr 06

13 Characteristics of Good Counsellors

Qualities to Look for in an Effective Counsellor

Many heavy drinkers, alcoholics, addicts, co-dependents and adult children of alcoholics have experienced good and bad counsellors. These guidelines may help next time you seek professional help.

Seeking a therapist? Here’s what the experts advise

To be effective, counselling needs to be provided in a way that meets a set of well-defined criteria. Condensing many hundreds of studies, psychologist Bruce Wampold, in a recent American Psychological Association symposium, boiled these ingredients down to this baker’s dozen.

1. Possession of a sophisticated set of interpersonal skills.  Can your therapist communicate to you in language that you understand? Does your therapist talk about you, rather than him or herself?

2. Ability to help you feel you can trust the therapist. Clients of effective therapists believe that their therapists will be helpful because the therapist communicates both verbally and non-verbally that he or she is someone the client can trust.

3. Willingness to establish an alliance with you. Though the therapist is obviously the expert, do you feel that the therapist cares about your goals in therapy and is willing to work with you to set goals that both of you agree on?

4. Ability to provides an explanation of your symptoms and can adapt this explanation as circumstances change. Clients want to know why they’re experiencing their symptoms. Effective therapists provide explanations that clients can understand.

5. Commitment to developing a consistent and acceptable treatment plan. Effective therapists conduct an assessment very early in treatment and share the treatment plan with you.

6. Communication of confidence about the course of therapy. An effective therapist keeps clients in therapy by communicating to clients the feeling that therapy will be worthwhile.

7. Attention to the progress of therapy and communication of this interest to the client. Good therapists are interested in finding out how their clients are responding to treatment. They show that they want their clients to improve.

8. Flexibility in adapting treatment to the particular client’s characteristics. A good therapist doesn’t follow a rigid schedule of treatment- a “one size fits all” approach.

9. Inspiration of hope and optimism about your chances of improvement. Hope is a terrific motivator. Feeling that something is going to work is often a large part of the equation in successful treatment. 

10. Sensitivity toward your cultural background. Therapists adapt treatment to their client’s cultural values. This includes showing respect for your background and being aware of attitudes within your culture or community.

11. Possession of self-insight. An effective therapist is self-aware and is able to separate his or her own issues from those of clients.

12. Reliance on the best research evidence. Therapists should stay abreast of the latest developments in clinical psychology, particularly in their areas of expertise.

13. Involvement in continued training and education. Licensed mental health professionals must participate in continuing education to maintain their credentials.  

The outcome of therapy depends on many factors, but researchers have evidence to show that these 13 qualities in a therapist play a key role in increasing the odds of a successful outcome.  Therapy can occur in many types of situations, ranging from marital counselling to employee assistance. Each therapist may not meet each of these 13 criteria, but as long as you are aware of them all, you can decide whether you or a loved one are getting the best possible treatment.

All these points are fully explained at; Qualities of Good Counsellors


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Apr 04

Alcohol Abuse and the Liver

Woman drinking glass of white wine Alcohol abuse affects our health and our body in a variety of ways.

Several key organs and internal functions can be irreparably damaged because of heavy drinking over an extended period of time. Chief among those areas at risk is the liver – one of our body’s most crucial organs. Once the liver is damaged by alcohol, a number of serious health problems can ensue – many of which eventually lead to death.

The liver is “in charge” of processing the alcohol that enters your body. A healthy liver is able to properly process about one drink (one ounce of alcohol) per hour. If you drink more than this, the liver is unable to do its job and body starts to become saturated with alcohol.

What happens when your body becomes saturated with alcohol? The unprocessed alcohol goes straight to your brain and causes the kind of behavior commonly associated with drunkenness (impaired judgment, loss of inhibitions, etc.).

But over time, a much bigger problem begins to occur.

When someone engages in heavy drinking over a long period of time, the liver becomes swelled and fatty. A fatty liver causes several key internal problems:

  • It chokes off the supply of blood coming into the liver – which keeps oxygen and crucial nutrients from being delivered.
  • The lack of oxygen and nutrients causes liver cells to sicken and die
  • The live liver cells are replaced with scar tissue (this process is known as cirrhosis of the liver).

Once cirrhosis of the liver occurs, the individual is no longer able to properly tolerate alcohol because the liver lacks the proper cells to process and metabolize it.

How likely is a person to get cirrhosis of the liver?

Genetics play a big role in whether or not someone is stricken with cirrhosis of the liver. If the drinker has a history of the problem in his family, then he might show symptoms relatively quickly (in as little as a year of consuming 3-4 drinks per day).

On the other hand, there are some people who drink heavily on a regular basis for their entire lives and never get cirrhosis.

What happens if the liver fails because of excessive alcohol consumption?

The results can be fatal. The liver is a crucial part of our how our body functions. It is responsible for so many vital operations that we cannot live without it. The liver is:

  • The largest organ in the human body
  • Responsible for most of the blood flow between the intestinal tract to the heart
  • The storage area for glycogen – the body’s breakdown of sugar which is used to generate energy
  • Responsible for breaking down toxins that occur with the body’s metabolism.

One of the most prominent warning signs of cirrhosis of the liver is jaundice. Jaundice is characterized by a yellowing of the skin and the eyes.

Not only older people are candidates for cirrhosis of the liver. Young people just out of their teens (who have already been drinking for years) have experienced liver failure brought on by cirrhosis of the liver.

Article Source: Author: Scott Briggs

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Apr 02

Alcohol and Hangover Video

St. Patrick’s Day Science: New American Chemical Society video on the chemistry of alcohol and hangovers

Anyone who needs a reason not to overindulge on St. Patrick’s Day — or on any other day of the year — can view a new American Chemical Society (ACS) video on alcohol’s effects on the body at www.BytesizeScience.com.

St. Patrick’s Day is this Sunday (2013), and there are many ways to celebrate, like Irish soda bread at breakfast or corned beef and cabbage for dinner. For those celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with green beer, moderation is the key. Alcohol has several negative effects on your body — many of which usually amount to a miserable morning-after.

Produced by the ACS Office of Public Affairs, The Chemistry of Alcohol and Hangovers explains the science behind these unpleasant after-effects that excessive drinking can have on the body, including:

• Headaches, caused by low blood sugar and allergic reactions to certain ingredients in liquor.

• Nausea and upset stomach, resulting from alcohol’s irritant effect, which stimulates the secretion of acid in the stomach.

• Thirst, the result of alcohol’s dehydrating effects on the body.


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Apr 01

Alcohol Abuse Warning Signs

  • Drinking more heavily when under pressure, or after an argument or disappointment

  • Waking up, and not being able to remember part of the evening before (blackouts)

  • Sneaking extra drinks when at a social gathering

  • Feeling uneasy when in a situation that alcohol is not available

  • Feeling guilty or worried about your drinking

  • Continuing to drink after others have stopped

  • Trying to control your drinking by switching brands

  • Avoiding other people in favor of spending time drinking

  • Problems at work arising from drinking or hangovers

  • Having a drink in the morning in order to get over a hangover

  • Feeling chronically irritable or depressed

In general, as the saying goes, “You know you have a drinking problem when your drinking causes problems”. These problems may be on the job, in interpersonal relationships, or emotional.

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Mar 31

Am I an Alcoholic?

Alcohol Self Test


Are you wondering if you have an addiction to alcohol?

Are you concerned about the role alcohol plays in your life?  With 26 questions, this simple self-test is intended to help you determine if you or someone you know needs to find out more about alcoholism.

Directions: The following questions are a self-test to help your review the role that alcohol plays in your life.

Carefully read each statement. When preparing each response, take into consideration your actions over the course of the past 12 months.

Yes or No: Decide whether your answer is YES or NO and then check the appropriate space. Please be sure to answer every question.

Self-Test:  What are the Signs of Alcoholism?

Go to; Alcohol Abuse Self Test.


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Mar 26

What is Co-dependency?

What is co-dependency? What’s the definition?

There are many definitions used to talk about co-dependency today. The original concept of co-dependency was developed to acknowledge the responses and behaviours people develop from living with an alcoholic or substance abuser. A number of attributes can be developed as a result of those conditions.

However, over the years, co-dependency has expanded into a definition which describes a dysfunctional pattern of living and problem solving developed during childhood by family rules.

One of many definitions of co-dependency is: a set of maladaptive, compulsive behaviours learned by family members in order to survive in a family which is experiencing great emotional pain and stress.

  • Maladaptive – inability for a person to develop behaviours which get needs met.

  • Compulsive – psychological state where a person acts against their own will or conscious desires in which to behave.

  • Sources of great emotional pain and stress – chemical dependency; chronic mental illness; chronic physical illness; physical abuse; sexual abuse; emotional abuse; divorce; religious or spiritual abuse, hypercritical or non-loving environment.

As adults, co-dependent people have a greater tendency to get involved in relationships with people who are perhaps unreliable, emotionally unavailable, or needy. And the co-dependent person tries to provide and control everything within the relationship without addressing their own needs or desires; setting themselves up for continued un-fulfillment.

Even when a co-dependent person encounters someone with healthy boundaries, the co-dependent person still operates in their own system; they’ are not likely to get too involved with people who have healthy boundaries. This of course creates problems that continue to recycle; if co-dependent people can’t get involved with people who have healthy behaviours and coping skills, then the problems continue into each new relationship.

How do I know if I’m co-dependent?

Generally, if you’re feeling unfulfilled consistently in relationships, you tend to be indirect, don’t assert yourself when you have a need, if you’re able to recognize you don’t play as much as others, or other people point out you could be more playful. Things like this can indicate you’re co-dependent.

What are some of the symptoms?

  • Controlling behaviour

  • Distrust

  • Perfectionism

  • Avoidance of feelings

  • Intimacy problems

  • Care-taking behaviour

  • Hypervigilance (a heightened awareness for potential threat/danger)

  • Physical illness related to stress

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