Sep 30

What is Emotional Sobriety?

emotional sobriety

What is emotional sobriety? AA literature speaks to being “happy, joyous, and free” – a promise made by many who say, if you work a good program, you will achieve physical sobriety and become happy in the process.

However, emotional sobriety is not so much about feeling good, or bad; emotional sobriety is the ability to actually feel one’s feelings yet not be consumed by those feelings or driven to act out because of feelings – whether it is to start using again or to act out in other not-so-spiritual behaviors. Being restored to sanity isn’t about being “happy, joyous, and free” all the time, but it is about being in the present moment, whatever that happens to look like. It’s being able to be in the question: What am I experiencing right now? And how about now? Can I be present to all of my feelings without any one of them defining me?

Emotional sobriety sometimes is merely tolerating what you are feeling; it’s about staying sober no matter what you are feeling. Life can be challenging – having emotional sobriety means that you don’t blame yourself or your program when things get tough. And, it means that you don’t necessarily need to do something to make the feeling go away.

Emotional Sobriety vs. Spiritual Bypass

Often times you will hear this advice: pray about it, meditate on it, or do service work. And this can be good advice. However, if you are looking for ways to distract yourself from your feelings, then you might not be necessarily working such a good program after all. This spiritual distraction is what is known as spiritual bypass.

Now, it is normal to want to protect ourselves from our painful realities; in fact, as a defense mechanism, we are all susceptible to do this unconsciously. And using spirituality as a defense certainly looks a lot better than using drugs or alcohol. However, it is a defense mechanism nonetheless. The ability to access all of our feelings and being present to what is real is what enables choice, and choice propels us towards our most authentic and fulfilling selves in sobriety.

Bill Wilson on Emotional Sobriety

In a letter that was published in January of 1953, Bill W. addresses emotional sobriety, coming to the conclusion that his “basic flaw had always been dependence, almost absolute dependence, on people or circumstances to supply [him] with prestige, security, and the like.” He also recognized that his perfectionism and high expectations almost always led to “defeat,” which in turn would bring on another bout of depression.

Bill W. goes on further to say that the root of “every disturbance we have, great or small” is some sort of “unhealthy dependence and its consequent demand.” We must continually surrender our demands. It is then that “we can be set free to live and love: we may then be able to gain emotional sobriety.”

Emotional Sobriety and the Human Condition

So, give yourself permission to feel all of your feelings and just know that we don’t have the sort of surgical precision to only feel the feelings that we enjoy. As humans, we experience happiness and regret, joy and grief. That is just the human condition. And experiencing all of our feelings is true emotional sobriety.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.psychologytoday.com/

http://home.earthlink.net/  letter written by Bill Wilson, January, 1953

 

Sep 16

Emotional, Physical, and Sexual Trauma in Addiction

Emotional, Physical, and Sexual Trauma in Addiction

Emotional, Physical, and Sexual Trauma in Addiction. trauma in addiction

Although often overlooked, emotional, physical, and sexual trauma lies at the heart of many types of addictions. Our recognition of trauma in addiction as a root cause for it isn’t new. Since the 1970s, treatment professionals have understood the role of trauma in addiction development through substance abuse disorders and relapse.

In recent years, however, there has been resurgence in awareness and therefore treatment of trauma in addiction services by way of focusing on dual diagnosis, or as co-occurring disorders.

Overall, it is generally accepted that a history of childhood emotional neglect, sexual, or physical abuse is common among people undergoing treatment for alcoholism and may be a factor in the development of alcohol use disorders as well as addictions to other substances and behavioral addictions such as sex addiction, gambling, and food addiction.

Trauma Defined

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), defines trauma broadly as a stress that “causes physical or emotional harm from which you cannot remove yourself.” Furthermore, trauma is subjective, which means that the individual’s internal beliefs and their sensitivity to stress, is truly what defines a person’s experience as traumatic; it is not up to a therapist, family member, or any other outsider to decide whether or not an experience was traumatic.

Trauma can be from abuse or neglect but, it can also be from other frightening experiences, such as a car accident, bullying, sudden life change or near-death experience. Trauma can also be experienced either firsthand or witnessed. Other traumatic experiences include growing up in a home with an alcoholic or addicted parent or even any other home life where children are told to bury their feelings. Because of the trauma, the person experiences intense fear or helplessness, and this can lead to serious long-term struggles with depression, anxiety, and furthermore, trauma in addiction becomes evident with the development of addictive or impulsive behaviors.

Findings on Trauma in Addiction

Compared to the general population, which has physical abuse rates of 8.4%, the rate for alcoholics has been reported at 24% for men and 33% for women. The rate of sexual abuse in the general population is about 6%, yet the rate for alcoholics is at 12% for men and 49% for women. Rates of childhood emotional abuse and neglect are likely to be just as prevalent among alcoholics as physical and sexual abuse but it is difficult to know for sure because this type of abuse is often underreported.

Relationship: Trauma in Addiction

In some cases, addiction develops in the trauma in addiction development stems from an attempt to self-medicate. It is painful to think about the trauma and some people relive the traumatic event or event even on a daily basis and therefore they will turn to drugs, alcohol, or certain behaviors in order to escape or numb their feelings: fear, powerlessness, depression, and anxiety.

Drug use also serves to may allow people to disconnect from their feelings, numb their feelings of guilt or rage, feel relaxed or in control, as well as cope with or reduce anxiety or suicidal thinking. Another noteworthy aspect of trauma in addiction is that many people get a feeling of camaraderie or acceptance from other drug users, so, in some ways they are reproducing the family unit, again, in a dysfunctional way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source:

http://blogs.psychcentral.com/

Sep 09

5 Things You May Not Know about Women and Alcohol

5 Things You May Not Know about Women and Alcohol

5 things you may not know about women and alcoholBoth men and women drink but men and women are different when it comes to alcohol. Moderate drinking has been touted to have some pretty significant health benefits for your cardiovascular system. And this can be great for people who want to unwind over dinner. But as most of us know the dangers of alcohol especially for women outweigh the benefits. It is especially important for women to be aware of these dangers because they are different than men. When it comes to women and alcohol, it poses specific risks.

Here are 5 things you may not know about women and alcohol

Women and alcohol #1: More women are binge drinking. Binge drinking is the exact opposite of moderate drinking. For women, binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks in a single period. Most women binge drinking today average about six drinks. According to the CDC earlier this year, nearly 14 million women in the United States binge drink around three times a month. Not only that but women with an income over 75,000 dollars a year are more likely to binge as well as women who are between the ages of 18 and 34. High school girls are also more likely to binge. According to the CDC, 1 in 5 teenage girls binge drink. Binge drinking is dangerous it can cause unintentional injuries, alcohol poisoning, liver disease and stroke.

Women and alcohol #2: Many women may think keeping up with the guys when it comes to dinking is no big deal, but that just isn’t true. Women’s bodies tolerate alcohol differently than men’s for reasosn that aren’t quite understood yet. NIAA or the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism points out that it could be that women’s bodies have less water per pound than men’s. So if a man and woman who weigh the same amount also drink the same amount, the woman will likely have a higher BAC because the alcohol disperses in water and her body has less of it.

Women and alcohol #3: Drinking becomes a problem for women quicker. This is largely because wmen;s bodies handle alcohol differently than men’s. Because of this difference women are more likely to be at risk for alcohol related health problems. These risks include health disease and conditions that include liver disease, heart disease, breast cancer and also alcohol dependence. NIAA considers the low risk drinking limit for women as being seven drinks per week and no more than three drinks in one sitting.

Women and alcohol #4: A German study published last year found that alcoholism may be deadlier in women. It concluded that alcohol dependence is twice as deadly for women as it is for men. The death rate for alcohol dependent women was four time that of a sample of comparable non-addicted 18 to 64 year old women. It was only double for men. The why of this is still unknown but it is assumed that the effect of alcohol on women is much more severe.

Women and alcohol #5: Luckily women seek treatment for alcoholism sooner. A study that included more than 500 males and females found that women who abuse alcohol usually try to get help four to five years earlier than their male counterparts. The why of this is also unknown but it is hypothesized that women may attach less social stigma to drinking problems than men and therefore might be more likely to report their problem drinking.

There are also studies that have been done that show that drinking in women ups the risk of breast cancer and that NO AMOUNT of alcohol is safe during pregnancy. Those facts are pretty well known though. Regardless of the reasons it might be safe to go ahead and say that women are better off just not drinking unless they are going to drink moderately.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/03/women-alcohol-facts_n_3831152.html?utm_hp_ref=womens-health

Sep 02

Binge Drinking and Depression

Binge Drinking and Depression

When people are feeling depressed many of them view alcohol as a comfort or stress reliever. In the beginning alcohol may even feel like it is making life easier but it is actually concealing a terrible truth. Alcohol can only make depression worse never better. This is because alcohol is known as a depressant. This means that alcohol depresses arousal levels and reduces excitability.  Alcohol can not only worsen symptoms of depression but it can also cause depression in the first place. Alcohol induced depression is very common among people who engage in binge drinking.

What are the different kinds of depression?

  • Minor depression that lasts a few days.
  • Major depression lasts longer than two weeks, and the symptoms can be highly disruptive in the individual’s life. This can be referred to more technically as Dysthymic disorder.
  • Alcohol induced depression.
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that people experience due to the change of season. This condition is most common in those countries where there is a long dark winter.
  • Some women experience postpartum depression after they have a baby. The cause of this will be hormonal changes in the body.
  • A psychotic depression is where people also experience distorted thinking that has a psychotic nature. This is the most serious type of depression because the individual may be a danger to themselves or other people.
  • Those individuals who are dealing with bipolar disorder will have periods where they suffer from the symptoms of depression – this may then be followed by period of mania.

What are the symptoms of depression?

  • They feel drained of energy
  • Inability to sleep at night.
  • Turning to food for comfort. Alternatively the individual may completely lose their interest in food.
  • Problems with forgetfulness.
  • The individual may find it a real struggle to get out of bed in the morning.
  • The activities they once enjoyed no longer feel satisfying.
  • Pessimism about the future.
  • They may feel guilty about things that happened in the past.
  • Body aches and pains that seem to have no obvious cause.
  • Difficulties with concentration.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse. This includes dangerous patterns of consumption such as binge drinking.
  • The individual feels irritable much of the time.
  • The feeling that life lacks any real meaning or purpose.
  • Low self esteem – the person may believe that they deserve to feel the way they do.
  • Thoughts of committing suicide.
  • Feeling disassociated from the world.
  • The individual may feel like there is a barrier between them and other people.
  • They do not feel like socializing. The individual may begin to isolate and avoid other people.
  • A sad nostalgia for the past.

What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking refers to a specific type of drinking that is particularly dangerous. Binge drinking is a type of drinking where the individual deliberately becomes intoxicated by consuming an excessive amount of alcohol in a very short period of time. Bing drinking is usually a pattern of drinking most people only engage in on the weekends but it is still a form of alcohol abuse. Binge drinking is actually the most common form of alcohol abuse. Binge drinking means that the individual is deliberately trying to get drunk and this can cause all sorts of problems and trouble. It is not necessary for people to drink every day in order to suffer consequences from alcohol abuse; binge drinking just on weekends can easily cause consequences. What are the dangers of binge drinking?

  • It can lead to symptoms of depression. It can also exacerbate existent depressive symptoms.
  • Alcohol is damaging to every organ in the body. It is not necessary to be a daily drinker before entering the early stages of alcoholic liver disease.
  • The individual will be more likely to commit crimes or become a victim of crimes when they are intoxicated.
  • It can easily lead on to alcoholism. The vast majority of alcoholics will have started off as binge drinkers.
  • It can lead to alcohol poisoning. Some people have died because their blood alcohol content reached levels that were excessively high.
  • This is the pattern of drinking that is most likely to cause hangovers.
  • Some people will experience blackouts when binge drinking. This means that there will be parts of the evening that they cannot remember.
  • It can mean that people are unable to take care of their family, social, and work commitments the next day.
  • When people are intoxicated they can do things that they later deeply regret.
  • Binge drinking is associated with domestic violence.
  • It is also associated with promiscuous and unsafe sex.
  • People will make irrational and impulsive decisions when they are inebriated.
  • Many people who commit suicide will have been binge drinking beforehand.

Binge drinking and depression

  • There are number of reasons why binge drinking causes depression to get much worse. For instance, as mentioned above alcohol is a depressant. There is also the fact that if the person is already depressed then it means they are binge drinking to run or hid from their condition instead of treat it. This obviously makes things much worse in the long run.
  • A person who is binge drinking often will regret what they did while they were drunk. This means they will have more things that are eating away at them.
  • Binge drinking makes people more impulsive. If the person is already feeling depressed then they may engage in behaviors they might not normally consider doing while sober.
  • Binge drinking will cause the person to have less self-control. This mixed with the fact that they have a reduced decision making capacity makes someone with depression a high risk for suicide.
  • Binge drinking often means that he individual might often have problems with family members and loved ones. This can make depression worse trying to deal with that.
  • Binge drinking will make an individual less capable of handling the symptoms of depression. This is because alcohol is a toxin that harms the body and mind.

When people with depression begin binge drinking they can get caught up in a vicious cycle. The symptoms of their depression make life unbearable and so they binge drink as a type of self-medication. When they do that they will feel better in the moment but the binge drinking is actually making the depression worse as listed above. This means when they sober up now their depression is even worse than it as before and causes the person to want to drink even more. This leads to a cycle of wanting to escape through binge drinking while the binge drinking causes more reasons to want to drink due to the worsening depression.

Aug 23

Diet Pill Addiction

Diet Pill Addiction

Diet pills are any type of “medication” or supplement that is marketed to control or reduce weight. There are numerous diet pills that have been produced and promoted for weight loss but only one is actually approved by the FDA for long term use. Diet pills always claim to achieve weight loss by increasing the metabolism, altering appetite levels, or interrupting the normal rate of absorption when it comes to fat and/or calories. The majority of diet pills can be purchased at pharmacies, over the counter without a prescription. This is especially dangerous because not only are the diet pills not approved by the FDA but they also can be bought by minors. Diet pills usually contain large amounts of addictive substances such as ephedrine, caffeine, or herbal stimulants which can have severe side effects. This is especially true if the individual taking the diet pills develops a diet pill addiction.

A diet pill addiction can develop at any time throughout an individual’s lifetime. This means that all age groups are vulnerable to a diet pill addiction. The statistics about diet pill addiction are helpful in realizing and understanding fully, the fragility of a diet pill addiction and how to improve the treatment of it.

  • A study from the University of Minnesota’s “Project EAT (Eating Among Teens) found that high school-aged females’ use of diet pills nearly doubled from 7.5 to 14.2 percent.  By the ages of 19 and 20, 20 percent of females surveyed used diet pills.
  • Abuse of diet pills by individuals with eating disorders is well-documented clinically, with prevalence estimates reported as high as 50%.
  • According to a study published in Eating Behaviors, individuals with eating disorders associated with vomiting and other purging behaviors are more likely to use diet pills.

What is the cause of a diet pill addiction?

Many things can cause a diet pill addiction. Typically a diet pill addiction begins with the want for a a temporary or quick fix for weight loss. Individuals who use diet pills under a doctor’s care with a prescription may have an actual need for the drug. However, when diet pills are just used recreationally or for non-medical purposes, it becomes a diet pill addiction. Men and women alike, who struggle with body image, even at a normal weight may feel inclined to use diet pills as a method of controlling their weight or losing weight. Body image dysmorphia or the inability to see one’s body clearly can be one of the biggest causes of a diet pill addiction. For example, someone who is suffering from anorexia nervosa is very likely to have a diet pill addiction. Feeling the necessity or want to take diet pills stem from deeper and underlying issues which are all usually connected.

Signs of a diet pill addiction

Certain signs and symptoms will be evident if you or a loved one is suffering with a diet pill addiction.  Diet pill effects can range in severity and can impact a man or woman physically, psychologically, and socially.

  • Chest pain
  • Irregular heart beat
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Tremors
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Stomach pain
  • Rapid respiratory rate
  • Severe headaches
  • Blurred vision
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Liver/Kidney damage
  • Chronic mood swings
  • Blackouts
  • Memory loss

Someone with a diet pill addiction may also deal with the side effects physically, psychologically, and socially. For instance, unstable weight, headaches, tightness in chest, heart palpitations, dizziness, stroke, and mood swings, depression, and low self-esteem as well as, increased isolation, difficulty maintaining healthy relationships, and avoidance of social encounters.

 

Aug 16

Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified

Eating disorders, specifically anorexia and bulimia, are characterized by extreme emotions, attitudes, and behaviors surrounding weight and food issues. They are serious disorders and can have life threatening consequences. This is also the case for the category of eating disorders known as eating disorders not otherwise specified (ENDOS). These eating disorders can include a combination of signs and symptoms that are pretty typical for someone who has anorexia or bulimia.

Anorexia Nervosa

Anorexia Nervosa is characterized by emaciation, a never ending pursuit to try and be thin and a total unwillingness to stay at a healthy weight. There is also a distortion of body image and an intense fear of gaining weight. Anorexia Nervosa is also characterized by a lack of menstruation among girls and women. The eating behavior is extremely disturbed. Some people with anorexia will try to lose weight by dieting and exercising obsessively. Other people with anorexia will induce vomiting, misuse laxatives, diuretics, or enemas.

• Deliberate self-starvation with weight loss

• Intense, persistent fear of gaining weight

• Refusal to eat or highly restrictive eating

• Continuous dieting

• Excessive facial/body hair because of inadequate protein in the diet

• Compulsive exercise

• Abnormal weight loss

• Sensitivity to cold

• Absent or irregular menstruation

• Hair loss

Bulimia Nervosa

Someone with bulimia nervosa will have regular moments of overeating which are always followed by a feeling of guilt, which can then lead to extreme crash dieting, doing lots of exercise and purging (self-induced vomiting.)

  • Binge-eating “repeatedly” – eating much more than most people normally do, together with a feeling that they can’t stop or control their eating
  • Repeatedly and inappropriately compensating for the over-eating, such as over-medicating with laxatives, fasting, exercising to exhaustion, or making themselves vomit
  • Frequent dieting
  • Been doing these two things (binge-eating and inappropriately compensating) repeatedly at least twice a week for the last 3 months
  • Overly judging themselves in terms of the weight and shape of their bodies

Eating disorders not otherwise specified

These are the most common examples of eating disorders not otherwise specified but every person experiencing eating disorders not otherwise specified may have varying symptoms.

  • Menstruation is still happening despite meeting all the criteria for either bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.
  • All conditions are present to qualify for anorexia nervosa except for the individual’s current weight is in the normal range or above.
  • Purging or other compensatory behaviors are not occurring at a frequency less than the strict criteria for bulimia nervosa
  • Purging without binging which is sometimes known as purging disorder
  • Chewing and spitting out large amounts of food but not swallowing

An eating disorder not otherwise specified is simply put an eating disorder that meets all the criteria except for one or two things. Mainly all of the above have one thing in common and that is an obsessive preoccupation with weight to the point that affects the present day moment and the ability to enjoy life while being around friends, family, at work etc. A person with ENDOS or any other eating disorder will constantly be concerned about their weight and food.

Aug 09

How to Beat the Relapse Statistics

How to Beat the Relapse Statistics

The drug and alcohol relapse rehab statistics for relapse are disheartening and discouraging. Drug and alcohol relapse statistics show that the percentage of people who will relapse after a period of recovery ranges from 50 to 90 percent. This is a scary relapse statistic and it is often used as a justification for addicts and alcoholics who don’t want to stop using drugs or drinking. What the relapse statistics don’t tell though is that there are things that an individual can do to greatly increase their chances of long-term recovery. People who are serious about aftercare greatly increase their chances of staying sober.  Aftercare can include everything from a 12 step fellowship, staying in a halfway house and going to groups. This is good news because this means there are ways to beat the relapse statistics. Here are some ways on how to beat the relapse statistics:

Despite the fact that relapse statistics pretty much say that half of all drug addicts and alcoholics are going to relapse there are many people who escape addiction and go on to build a great life. Anyone can beat the relapse statistics by taking some action.

  • Addicts and alcoholics need to prepare to go back home in order to have a good shot at beating the relapse statistics.
  • Willingness to do whatever it takes to stay sober can significantly help addicts and alcoholics to beat the relapse statistics. If people are not fully motivated they will struggle to make it through the early months of recovery.
  • It is vital that newly sober people take their aftercare seriously if they want to beat the relapse statistics. By joining a 12 step group or using some other type of support they will be greatly increasing their chances of success.
  • When people give up an addiction they need to break away from their drinking and drugging buddies. Failure to do this puts the individual’s sobriety at risk and they could fall victim to relapse statistics.
  • Staying sober has to be the priority in the person’s life if they want to beat the relapse statistics. They should not allow anything to come in between them and their sobriety.
  • It is important that people avoid turning to other maladaptive behaviors in recovery such as working a lot, spending, sex etc. This causes many people to become another relapse statistic.
  • Keeping an open mind is a necessary element of a successful recovery. Beginner’s mind means that the individual doesn’t allow their preconceived notions get in the way of trying new things.
  • The idea that relapse is acceptable should never enter the thinking of people who are trying to stay sober. A return to alcohol or drugs is a risk and there is no guarantee that the individual will ever get another chance at a life away from alcohol and drugs. While the relapse statistics are high they aren’t an indicator of how many people make it back and that its ok or normal to relapse.
  • Recovery is to be enjoyed and not endured. If the individual feels like they are serving a prison sentence it is a sign that they are doing something wrong and chances are they will become part of the relapse statistics.

 

Aug 02

Trauma and Substance Abuse

Trauma and Substance Abuse

Some people increase their use of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs to cope with how they are feeling after experiencing trauma. This is often called ‘self-medication.’ While this often gives some short-term relief, unfortunately, in the long run it can make things worse. Alcohol, tobacco and other drug use can interfere with the brain’s natural processing of the trauma and substance abuse patterns can then take root.

People often say that when they reduce or stop drinking, smoking or using, their trauma reactions become more frequent or intense. This is the body‘s way of saying that the trauma is unfinished business that needs to be dealt with. Some people find that they develop alcohol, tobacco or other drug problems because they need to drink or use greater amounts more frequently to keep the trauma reactions at bay. This can lead to a cycle where reactions to trauma and alcohol, tobacco or other drug use feed off each other.

Trauma is an event that involves actual or threatened death or serious injury or threat to one’s physical safety. Trauma also refers to directly experienced, witnessed or learned about events. So, even if the traumatic event didn’t happen to you, if you heard about a traumatic event that affected someone else, especially someone close to you, you could still feel traumatized.

Traumatic Events Experienced Directly

• Military combat

• Natural or manmade disaster

• Being kidnapped

• Being taken hostage

• Terrorist attack

• Torture

• Concentration camp internee

• Severe auto accidents

• Violent personal assault such as sexual or physical (i.e. mugging), or psychological (i.e. robbery)

• Life threatening illness

• Prisoner of War

Traumatic Events Witnessed

• Violent assault

• Accident

• War

• Disaster

• Unexpected witnessing a dead body or remains

Traumatic Events Experienced or Learned About (Family Member or Close Friend)

• Violent personal assault

• Serious accident

• Serious injury experienced

• Sudden, unexpected death

• Your child has a life-threatening disease

Trauma and Substance Abuse: Why It Is Counter-Productive to Self-Medicate

Using drugs to deal with trauma only provides temporary relief, if any at all; and in fact makes things worse. Rather than calming nerves, alcohol and other drugs can actually increase both anxiety and fears, intensify and exaggerate emotions and long term use can even cause emotional stagnation. Substance abuse to treat trauma often blocks necessary psychological processing and can prevent or delay the natural completion of the grieving process. Drug use often results in a lower functioning capacity resulting in poor choices and poor decisions and even behavioral dysfunction. Substance abuse can disrupt sleep, especially stage four (or deep sleep), and it can increase nightmares and make them more vivid and believable, leading to an even more fragile mental state.

Trauma and Substance Abuse Treatment

The fact that there is a connection between trauma and substance abuse has been known for decades by professionals treating people who experience both trauma and substance abuse.

Clinical studies of patients in substance abuse treatment programs have shown a high correlation with a client history of trauma. Model programs are being developed that seek to treat these both trauma and substance abuse in an integrated fashion.

 

Sources:

http://www.samhsa.gov/

http://ndarc.med.unsw.edu.au/

Jul 22

How to Control Binge Eating

How to Control Binge Eating

What is Binge Eating?

Binge-eating disorder is a serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food. Almost everyone overeats on occasion, such as having seconds or thirds of a holiday meal. But for some people, overeating crosses the line to binge-eating disorder and it becomes a regular occurrence, and is usually done in secret.

When you have binge-eating disorder, you may be deeply embarrassed about gorging and vow to stop. But you feel such a compulsion that you can’t resist the urges and continue binge eating. If you have binge-eating disorder, treatment can help.

Causes of Binge Eating

The causes of binge-eating disorder are unknown. But family history, biological factors, long-term dieting and psychological issues, such as those resulting from childhood trauma and/or abuse, increase your risk. Many studies have documented a link between childhood abuse and later obesity. The reasoning for this is possibly because stress may cause one to overeat high-sugar and high-fat “comfort” foods in an uncontrolled way.Women who have experienced physical or sexual childhood abuse before the age of 18 are almost twice as likely to have a food addiction in the middle of adulthood in comparison with women without a history of childhood abuse. The likelihood of a food addiction is also increased further for women who have experienced both physical and sexual childhood abuse. The prevalence of afood addiction varies from six percent in women without a history of physical or sexual childhood abuse to sixteen percent among women who do have a history of both severe physical and sexual childhood abuse.

How to Control Binge Eating

Traditional Treatments:

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, whether in individual or group sessions, can help teach you how to exchange unhealthy habits for healthy ones and reduce bingeing episodes.

Medications

There’s no medication specifically designed to treat binge-eating disorder. But, several types of medication may help reduce symptoms, especially when combined with psychotherapy.

 

Other Ways to Control Binge Eating

Lifestyle and home remedies

  • Stick to your treatment. Don’t skip therapy sessions.
  • Avoid dieting. Trying to diet can trigger more binge episodes, leading to a vicious cycle that’s hard to break.
  • Eat breakfast. Many people with binge-eating disorder skip breakfast. But, if you eat breakfast, you may be less prone to eating higher calorie meals later in the day.
  • Don’t stock up. Keep less food in your home than you normally do. That may mean more-frequent trips to the grocery store, but it may also take away the temptation binge eating.
  • Get the right nutrients. Just because you may be eating a lot during binges doesn’t mean you’re eating the kinds of food that supply all of your essential nutrients. Talk to your doctor about vitamin and mineral supplements.
  • Stay connected. Don’t isolate yourself from caring family members and friends who want to see you get healthy.
  • Get active. Ask your health care provider what kind of physical activity is appropriate for you, especially if you have health problems related to being overweight.

 

Alternative Medicine to Treat Binge Eating

  • Massage and therapeutic touch
  • Mind-body therapies
  • Acupuncture

 

Coping and Support to Deal with Binge Eating

  • Ease up on yourself. Don’t buy into your own self-criticism.
  • Identify situations that may trigger your binge eating.
  • Look for positive role models who can help lift your self-esteem, even if they’re not easy to find.
  • Try to find a confidant you can talk to about what’s going on. Together, you may be able to come up with some treatment options.
  • Try to find someone who can be your partner in the battle against binge eating — someone you can call on for support instead of bingeing.
  • Find healthy ways to nurture yourself by doing something just for fun or to relax, such as yoga, meditation or simply a walk.
  • Consider journaling about your feelings and behaviors.

 

Support for binge eating can also come from a 12 Step fellowship. There are meetings for Overeaters Anonymous. The 12 Step program can be helpful in learning how to cope with your food addiction and binge eating and also in shaping a new, healthy lifestyle. If you find yourself struggling to cope, there are treatment programs that treat eating disorders such as binge eating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://www.mayoclinic.com

www.wikipedia.org

http://womenstreatmentcenter.com

Jul 15

Women in Recovery

Women in Recovery

Here is a fun fact about women in recovery, Marty Mann, NCADD’s founder, was the first woman to recover from alcoholism in Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).  As a result, NCADD has always been dedicated to increasing public awareness and support for women struggling with addiction to alcohol and drugs. 

Women are the fastest-growing segment for substance abuse in the United States. In fact, according to the Federal Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, about 2.7 million women in the United States abuse drugs or alcohol. Even more frightening is that the majority who need treatment do not receive it because:

•They are afraid of losing, or being separated from, their families

•They view their substance use as a social activity or habit, rather than an addiction that is disrupting their lives

•They believe that their substance abuse is the outcome of anxiety or depression, treating the mental health issue while ignoring the addiction

•They are afraid or embarrassed to admit they are struggling with addiction, and hide their drug or alcohol use from family and friends

There are special issues that women face in addiction treatment and recovery. The traditional wisdom of the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous says that women progress faster in addiction. Now the research is telling us the “why” and more importantly “what” can be done to assist women in recovery.

Women start using for different reasons, get addicted differently, progress faster, recovery differently and relapse for different issues. Due to shame and stigma, women may be more likely to drink/take pills when alone and hide it from others. Some women have their home as their bar and may have three martini play dates with their friends and their children. Those with stressful careers may use to keep up the image that they can raise three kids, have a high power job and still keep up! With the stimulant drugs some women start using to lose weight. While many women are high functioning and may be able to keep up the appearance of being fine they are unraveling on the inside.

Physiologically women metabolize alcohol and drugs differently than men. Physically one drink for a woman has twice the impact physiologically on a woman that it does on a man. That’s not just about getting drunk, that’s impact to the organs, to the brain. Mixing types of drugs makes it even more damaging. When mixing chemicals one and one is not necessarily two. Women also tend to have more access to prescribers of medications which can make it even more dangerous. Yes, there is physical damage but it may pale in comparison to the emotional and spiritual damage done by addiction. When a woman is addicted it can impact the entire family system – since women are generally the central organizing factors in their network (caregiver to aging parent, parent to children, caregiver of older partner, etc).

Women are complicated! In addition a female’s distinctive physiology, mental health issues, hormonal differences, spiritual concerns and as well as life circumstances may affect their experience in addiction and recovery. Treatment and recovery are most successful when these individualized needs are taken into account. The good news is that recovery is natural for women. Addiction is the unnatural state. The female brain is actually wired for connection! Many women find that the support of 12 Step programs and other support groups are exactly what they need to live a life free of chemicals. Recovery is the most critical part of an addict’s journey and many find that in recovery they have a life beyond their wildest dreams.

 

 http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/remarkable-recovery/201203/addiction-and-gender-recovery-women