Binge Drinking in the State of Texas: When Does It Become Too Much?
Binge drinking alcohol literally affects every cell in your body. Over the course of long-term binges on liquor, beer, wine and other spirits, your brain can become permanently damaged as a result of cellular nutritional deficiencies. Thiamineor vitamin B1, is an important nutrient that is depleted from the body when alcohol abuse has taken over your life. When someone drinks a lot, over a long period of time, thiamine in the body is depleted, while the body’s ability to absorb it in the digestive tract is reduced. Cells are also inhibited in utilizing thiamine from chronic alcohol consumption. For teens and young college students who may be new to experimenting with alcohol, it can seem like it’s all just fun and games in the beginning. Over time however, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause a lot of damage to our minds and our bodies. No one thinks they will develop alcohol-related dementia, or “wet brain” syndrome but sadly, it does happen.
College binge-drinking remains a problem for students in Texas.
At colleges and universities across the United States, the culture of partying and binge drinking is pervasive. When drinking to excess starts to cause a lot of problems in academic areas like grades, attendance and extra curricular activities, maybe it is time to start thinking about your regular consumption of alcoholic beverages. We have all seen this party culture at institutions of higher learning be glorified and glamorized in popular movies, television shows and music. Some say it’s kind of like a rite of passage for young adults. We all know that students want to have a good time while they’re young, but excessive drinking can lead to disastrous, life-altering consequences.
Underage drinking is a problem that affects the residents of Texas, much like the rest of the country. The phenomenon of underage drinking leads to hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries each year in the United States. Underage drinkers have an unfortunate tendency to participate in binge drinking, much more than the adult population does. Teens and young adults who experiment with drinking to excess are more prone to experience troubling consequences as a result. Accidents, injuries, arrests, and jail time are much more likely when alcohol is present. Plus, rates of sexual assault, rape and other types of physical assaults are all much more likely to occur when underage drinking is at play.
Alcohol abuse and binge-drinking affects public health as a whole in Texas communities.
Depression, stress, insecurity and anxiety are common emotional and mental health issues which people list as reasons that they started drinking. Yet alcohol abuse actually makes these problems worse over time, as you end up just masking these symptoms by getting drunk. Binge drinking can be exceptionally detrimental for college students who suffer from any kind of mental, or behavioral health disorder. Excessive drinking will only make these problems worse, as this can easily lead to a downward spiral of more and more drinking and experimentation with other types of drugs.
Alcohol is the number one gateway drug, well ahead of marijuana.
How early people began using substances also serves as an important indicator of future decisions and risky behaviors that people may take with drugs and alcohol. The same study also looked at how early kids began using and found that the earlier they initiated use, the more likely they were to use harder drugs later in life.
While drinking alcohol may become a problem for many people in the Houston, Texas area, there are resources available to help you, a family member or loved one who is struggling with alcoholism or an addiction to other drugs. More Than Rehab offers one of the most successful drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs in the state of Texas. Give us a call and see if our addiction treatment program is right for you.
Relapse Prevention: The Basics Everyone in Recovery Should Know
For those in recovery, focusing on maintaining sobriety is an often difficult task. Most people who go through an alcohol or drug rehabilitation program will end up relapsing. Some will go through rehab over ten different times, before sobriety sticks. While it is important to acknowledge that relapse is a normal part of most people’s recovery, it is crucial to avoid relapsing with every ounce of your strength and willpower. If relapsing wasn’t a problem, drug rehab would be easy. While quality rehabilitation centers attempt to make recovery from addiction as easy as possible, it will be difficult. You will face many challenges. The temptation to relapse and start using again will be one of the most difficult obstacles to overcome in your recovery from addiction.
Everyone has their own unique relapse triggers. Avoiding these are essential in early addiction recovery.
Understanding your own unique, personal relapse triggers are important to avoid a potentially life-threatening relapse. We say life-threatening because many people die from a drug overdose the first time they relapse. Too often an addict in recovery will use the same amount of a drug they may be familiar with, thinking they can do as much as they used to before they quit using. This is dangerous because when your body had built-up a tolerance to the drug, you gradually begin using larger and larger doses. Once you’ve had a chance to go through detox and had weeks, months or even years of sobriety, your body’s tolerance is gone. This can easily result in an overdose death so it is important to avoid relapsing with all means necessary.
The easiest way to stop a potential relapse is to simply avoid relapse triggers. These are situations, experiences, places, even people who bring out your inner urges to use drugs or alcohol. Sometimes it’s a holiday or special day when maybe you lost someone close to you. Or it could be a club or place you used to hang out when you were using that makes you romanticize your past substance abuse. It could even be a family member or friend who you previously used with that makes you want to do it again. For others, it could be a trigger of solitude or loneliness that will give you the urge to get high or drunk again. This varies, wildly from person to person. It is important for you to identify your top relapse triggers while in recovery from addiction at a drug rehab.
Most effective addiction treatment programs will have a class or group therapy focused on relapse prevention. More Than Rehab, located just outside of Houston, Texas is no different. We see our relapse prevention group therapy session as one of the most important components of our addiction treatment program. This class helps you identify your personal relapse triggers and hear others’ that you might not have thought of as a trigger before. Simply acknowledging them and making a plan to avoid the triggers and what to do when you cannot avoid them is the key to maintaining your long-term sobriety. Heck, that’s the ultimate goal of a great drug rehabilitation program.
Focus on creating and achieving goals in sobriety.
The main goal of drug rehab is to quit using drugs, recover from your addiction and maintain your sobriety. Most people feel great after first stopping their use of drugs or alcohol, but this feeling fades and many people report a feeling of “emptiness” once they’ve been out of rehab for a little while. Loneliness, restlessness and depression can start to sink in because the addict doesn’t know what to do anymore. This is why it is important to set goals in recovery, beyond just staying sober. Making small, achievable goals is important because each success will be a cause for you to celebrate. Goals help you move closer and closer to your dreams and will help create the foundations for positive outcomes in recovery.
Setting realistic goals is of utmost importance here, because you certainly don’t want to fail. Failure to reach your goals can be a source of depression which could become a strong trigger for relapse. Setting smaller, achievable goals is a great way to begin. Once you accomplish them you can celebrate yourself and your recovery, finding a way to really create a new life for yourself, one small step at a time.
Dual diagnosis is the treatment of addiction with another co-occurring disorder.
In the field of addiction treatment, when someone has a substance use disorder, coupled with another form of mental health issue, we call this a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis. Sometimes addiction treatment alone is not enough. We have helped many people in the Houston, Texas area by identifying a co-occurring mental health issue that was adding to their substance abuse problem. In a dual diagnosis treatment program, your treatment plan is customized to meet your specific individual needs. A personalized addiction treatment plan is the best chance for a successful recovery in these cases.
For someone who has silently struggled with a mental health issue for years, often the only solace they find is to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. Many patients say this helps quiet the voice in their head telling them that everything is wrong. People with depression may experience a boost of confidence when they use, even if it is only temporary. For someone dealing with and trying to hide their own troublesome internal thoughts, an addiction can develop quickly. If they receive treatment for their substance use disorder, but not for their mental health issue, they will be more likely to drop out of treatment, or even relapse into abusing drugs and alcohol.
Since mental health issues can lead to someone abusing substances, it is often hard to tell which one caused the other. Withdrawal symptoms can sometimes look like a mental or behavioral disorder to the untrained eye. Feelings of lethargy, depression, hopelessness and sudden weight gain are common signs of clinical depression. These same mental and physical symptoms can come from the early acute withdrawal symptoms from alcoholism. In most cases, it is not entirely clear if the mental health of the patient led them to abuse drugs and alcohol or if the abuse of substances created the mental problems they are experiencing.
Detox from drugs or alcohol is the first step in diagnosing an underlying mental health issue.
Cognitive impairment from long term drug and alcohol abuse can often interfere with the proper diagnosis of a mental illness. Once a patient undergoes a full medical detox, cleansing the chemicals from the body and mind, clinicians can start to assess the patient’s underlying mental health. This is a crucial part of addiction recovery, as many patients might not even realize they have been living with a mental health disorder. Some people have been using drugs or alcohol on a daily basis, filling up most of their daily life with intoxication. This can go on for years and years, without them ever realizing they have an underlying struggle with mental health.
When a patient finally experiences sobriety for the first time in a long while, the emotional stress can be very difficult to overcome. Stress, anxiety, sadness and guilt are all commonly experienced when someone first enters addiction recovery services. This is why it is important for someone who struggles with drugs or alcohol to seek rehab from a professional treatment facility. These facilities should offer detox and recovery services for addiction treatment while a dual diagnosis drug rehab will offer help with emotional recovery, medication management, stress reduction and other crucial mental health services. With the support of the right program it is entirely possible to transform your life and rebuild yourself from the ground up.
How mental health and substance abuse can develop together.
The US Department of Health and Human Services notes that, mental health and substance use disorders may share similar, underlying causes for their development. These include changes in brain chemistry, genetic vulnerabilities and childhood exposure to extreme stress or trauma. These problems are further compounded when the person begins using drugs or alcohol to hide their symptoms. Studies have shown that people who struggle with anxiety or mood disorders are almost twice as likely to struggle with addiction than the average person is.
The four most common mental health issues where substance abuse is more prevalent are:
These types of disorders, when complicated with drug or alcohol abuse are often very difficult to treat. They may require months or even years for someone to fully recover towards a high-functioning state of well-being.
How is a dual diagnosis treated?
Treatment for co-occurring disorders at a drug rehabilitation facility will commonly include a variety of physical, mental and behavioral therapies. These are designed to work together on an individual basis, to help the patient with their mental health and to overcome their addiction. These will typically be conducted through a combination of individual and group therapy sessions.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an individual therapy session that helps the patient identify and change negative behaviors and thought patterns.
Integrated Group Therapy (IGT) is specifically for patients who experience bipolar disorder and substance abuse.
Therapeutic Communities (TCs) are focused on the reintegration of the individual into society. They integrate broad-based community programs and help the patient learn how to socialize and function outside of an institutional setting.
Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) will emphasize the treatment of severe mental disorders with outreach to patients in small, community-oriented group settings.
Your treatment providers will work with you during your stay at rehab to formulate an aftercare plan that will help you stay focused on your recovery after you leave their direct care. Outpatient programs, 12-step support groups and relapse prevention strategies will help you during the crucial, early phase of your recovery.
If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, consider seeking treatment right away. The pain experienced through a mental illness can have devastating consequences when left untreated. We employ a social model of addiction recovery in the Houston, Texas area. More Than Rehab is available 24/7, so we can get you the help you need, right away. Please call us: