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.
















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.

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.

Apr 04

Alcoholism and Cancer in Women

Alcohol and Cancer in Women

Alcoholism and Cancer in Women

Cancer kills 526,000 Americans every year and is only second to heart disease. Cancers in the lungs, large bowel, and breasts are the most common in the United States. There is a lot of evidence linking alcoholism and cancer, especially in women. It is estimated 2 to 4 percent of all cancer cases are thought to be caused either directly or indirectly by alcohol consumption.

What is cancer?

Cancer is a group of diseases that is characterized by cells that start growing out of control. Most of the time cancer forms from masses of cells or tumors that crowd out and even destroy normal tissue. The body normally controls normal cells to grow within the confines of tissues, cancer cells reproduce and grow all by themselves and are not stopped by tissue boundaries. Cancer develops in three stages: initiation, promotion and progression. Cancer-causing agents are known as carcinogens and can contribute to the first two stages of cancer.

Alcoholism and its link to cancer

Alcohol enhances the carcinogenic effects of other chemicals. Alcohol’s enhancing effect on certain carcinogens may have to do with enzymes. Some enzymes that normally help the body to detoxify can also increase the toxicity of some carcinogens. For instance carcinogens from tobacco and diet can become more potent as they pass through the esophagus, lungs, and intestines and encounter the activated enzyme. Alcohol is able to create an enzyme that associated with cancer in the liver, lungs, esophagus, and intestines.

Alcoholism and cancer in women

Women who consume even one alcoholic drink a day have an increased cancer risk, a study shows. The study showed that women who drank alcohol, around one drink day, had an increased cancer risk. The risk for cancer increased with alcohol intake especially for cancers of the breast, liver, rectum, mouth, throat and esophagus. Based on the findings in the research, it is estimated that alcohol could be the culprit for 13% of the cancers found in the women. The link between alcoholism and breast cancer has been proven over and over again but this is the first study to link low-to-moderate alcohol consumption to other cancers in women.

Alcoholism and breast cancer in women

Last year alone about 250,000 women were diagnosed with invasive and non-invasive breast cancers in the United States, according to the American Cancer society. The latest research on alcoholism and breast cancer in women suggested that 27,000 of those cancers were related to alcoholism. Women who drank only wine had the same risk for developing cancer as those who drank beer, spirits or a combination of different alcoholic beverages. Along with that, less than 2% of the women who participated in the study consumed more than three drinks a day but each drink heightened their risk for breast cancer. There is also the fact that women who smoke and drank alcohol had a very increased risk of oral, throat, and esophageal cancer. The risk was greater than the risk associated with smoking alone.