Health and Wellness

Healing From Within

Sheryl Glick

ALCOHOLISM IS A DISEASE LET’S TREAT IT

Volume (4) |Episode (68)
September 3, 2018
Special Guest: Marc Treitler
In today’s episode of Healing From Within your host Sheryl Glick author of The Living Spirit a tale of awakening, spiritual communication healing and understanding our physical and energetic energies for greater intuition and happiness in life welcomes Marc Treitler author of My Dad is an Alcoholic What about me? Shares his harrowing experiences as a recovered alcoholic who learned so much about the disease it’s symptoms and destructive path sometimes leading to death.
Marc and Sheryl share intimate stories of personal challenges and insights into the human condition in general and their own families in order to help understand manage our emotions and investigate our need for inner growth before we can reach our goals for health prosperity and happiness. No matter what challenge we face there are choices that may take us on a better path to self-realization self-actualization and improving the quality of our life.
Marc Treitler who grew up in a family with a deep history of addiction on his mom’s side. Although Marc’s Mom avoided alcohol and drugs, Marc and his sister succumbed to addiction. Finally when Marc’s wife and kids struggled to deal with his drinking and anger, he took steps necessary for recovery.
Marc shows us that alcohol abuse is one thing but addiction is another. We find out more about when we have crossed that line from alcohol use into alcoholism. While drinking alcohol is not necessarily a problem for some people, for others drinking too much can lead to a wide range of consequences. Alcohol-related problems have serious mental, physical and social effects. People who experience problems from drinking may be diagnosed with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). A survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that about 7.2 percent of people in the US, aged 18 and over, had an AUD in 2012. Split by gender, this added up to about 11 million men and close to 6 million women. To meet the criteria for an AUD diagnosis, a person must display any two of the 11 points outlined in the same twelve month time frame. Whether the AUD is mild, moderate or severe is based on the number of criteria met.
Drinking more alcohol or for longer than anticipated
Wanting to lessen or stop consuming alcohol, but failing
Spending increasing periods of time drinking or recovering from the effects of alcohol
Cravings develop for alcohol
Drinking or suffering from hangovers causes family, job or school problems
Despite family and friends expressing concern over drinking, it continues
Pleasurable activities that used to be enjoyed are abandoned
Entering into risky situations while being inebriated may cause harm or injury
Having to drink increasingly larger quantities to gain previous effects (tolerance)
Withdrawal symptoms develop when alcohol consumption decreases or stops (insomnia, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, nausea, excessive sweating, hallucinations)
There are two types of alcohol use that fall under the diagnosis of AUD:
Alcohol abuse – Individuals who do not drink regularly, but once they drink, they can’t control the amount or how long they drink.
Alcohol addiction – Individuals who drink alcohol regularly and have developed a tolerance and are dependent on alcohol.
Alcohol abuse is a condition of excessive drinking but without physical dependency. Binge drinking, where someone drinks many alcoholic beverages to the point of inebriation in one sitting, is one type of alcohol abuse. Another example is excessive drinking leading to blackouts. A blackout is when an individual loses recall of events while under the influence of alcohol.
Alcohol addiction, commonly called alcoholism, is the condition of consuming alcohol regularly and includes symptoms of alcohol dependence. A sign people have an alcohol addiction is when they try to stop or decrease their alcohol intake, withdrawal symptoms develop.2
Signs of alcoholism include:
Alcohol occupies the thoughts
Physical cravings for alcohol occur
No control over how often or how much alcohol is consumed
Withdrawal symptoms appear when attempts to decrease or stop alcohol consumption are made
More alcohol is needed to achieve the same effects
Treatment
When individuals have an alcohol use disorder, it’s important to seek professional treatment. Alcohol use disorder is a psychological as well as physical condition needing comprehensive treatment to address all issues. Alcohol addiction is a disease that needs special care, starting with a medical detoxification process to wean someone off alcohol safely by preventing potentially serious and sometimes fatal withdrawal symptoms. Consult with a high-quality treatment center if you suspect you or someone you know has a serious problem with alcohol.
Marc says science equates allergies to alcohol and drugs to other allergies, much like the allergy to peanuts. If one of your parents has an addiction you might have that same allergy hiding in your genes. The good news is you have the choice and Marc and his daughter Lianna after his experience with alcohol and the many unwanted effects have chosen to share with other people especially adolescents how to avoid….”turning on” that allergy.
Sheryl says she had many sensitivities or allergies as a child she certainly knows that many physical issues develop from lifestyle genetic predisposition and childhood training or trauma, fear and perhaps past life issues our soul energy brought into this life. All people wish to move from fear to joy and well being….. from addiction to being free, but it is often in developing an awareness of who you are, and what life is all about that enables the development of great resiliency consistency in behavior and action, and faith in a bigger universal plan that can allow that to happen. In Sheryl’s book The Living Spirit Sheryl wrote, “The key is to realize that each person perceives the world according to his or her experiences, from this life and past incarnations. Therefore, we cannot hope to understand every aspect of another’s experience: everyone is trying on various levels—to find their own way. All you can do is stay in a positive state of allowing and accepting love. The goal is acceptance, of everyone and everything, without judgment, anxiety, fear pain anger hate or any negative feeling. Peace and bliss are then not only possible but probable!”
Marc and Sheryl also discuss how there is no normal only uniqueness and different perceptions and also there is no perfection so we have to stop being so hard on ourselves and learn to appreciate that specialness in positive ways.
Despite the volume of accumulated medical knowledge about alcoholism, many still think it is a choice. When does drinking stop being a choice? Although the terms alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence are often used interchangeably, there is in fact medically speaking, a clear distinction between the two. Both involve the serious misuse of alcohol likely to cause real damage to health and wellbeing. But while people with alcohol abuse problems usually manage to carry on their lives with some semblance of normality, once dependence kicks in, the alcohol takes over. Alcohol abuse refers to regular excessive drinking which has a more tangible negative effect on people’s lives2. Examples of this include failing to fulfill work, family or social obligations as a result of recurrent drinking; encounters with the law or emergency services arising from excessive alcohol use or regularly combining alcohol with physically hazardous situations, such as driving or operating machinery.
Alcohol dependence sets in when alcohol takes over the central role in someone’s life and they usually end up giving up important activities and relationships because of their drinking. One of the early signs of dependence is when you need more alcohol to achieve the desired effect. As dependence gets more established, people end up spending most of their time thinking about alcohol or engaging in activities necessary to obtain, use, or recover from the effects of drinking. Then, as dependence takes over, people notice that they get the shakes if they don’t have a drink. And so they simply have to keep drinking to avoid experiencing these withdrawal symptoms.
We define an alcoholic as a man or a woman who suffers from alcoholism – they have a distinct physical desire to consume alcohol beyond their capacity to control it, regardless of all rules of common sense. According to Alcoholics Anonymous UK, who say they have no unique definition for alcoholism, it may be described as a physical compulsion, together with a mental obsession. Apart from having an enormous craving for alcohol, an alcoholic often yields to that craving at the worst possible times. The alcoholic knows neither when nor how to stop drinking.
Definition – an alcoholic is a person, while alcoholism is the illness. An alcoholic suffers from alcoholism. Alcoholism is a long-term (chronic) disease.Alcoholics are obsessed with alcohol and cannot control how much they consume, even if it is causing serious problems at home, work, and financially.
There may not be much of a difference between the alcoholic with a genetic predisposition and one who drinks due to stress emotional problems and or environmental stimulus. Alcohol is a multi-dimensional entity. It has been around for thousands of years and has been known for its many stimulating and mind altering effects. Alcohol is in essence, a drug, pure and simple. It is a drug which is so commonly available in so many different forms and guises that it is often hard to even look at it in that way.
Alcohol is truly in a class of its own. It doesn’t carry the same kind of stigma or social abhorrence which other drugs of abuse such as cocaine, methamphetamines, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) etc., carry. Alcohol is widely accepted in the society and consumed by everyone, young and the old alike, women and men included. In some societies, alcohol consumption is even accepted as part of normal social etiquettes. Alcohol is thus, all pervasive and is in this way is the most dangerous drug known to mankind.
Alcohol is the first thing people go for when they are at a social gathering and are looking to have a pleasant time. It is the first choice in the long list of things which can make a person feel intoxicated and give that feeling of high. Being milder in its 1st time effects when compared with other drugs such as nicotine, people falsely believe that there is very little chance of getting addicted to alcohol. However, the brain’s reward pathways are rarely under voluntary control. For once the brain senses a certain activity giving it pleasure; it will rewire the brain chemistry in a way which makes the person want to have more of that activity. The activity here in this case being consumption of alcohol.
Slowly over a period of time, the person craves more of the drug, to achieve the same kind of high as earlier. He thus starts consuming more and more alcohol until a point comes when normal brain chemistry simply cannot function without alcohol. The brain’s neurobiology has been permanently changed. As an example of the kind of brain chemistry changes which take place, the following image shows the brain scan of a methamphetamine addict and a non-addict
Both genetics and environment may affect a person who becomes an alcoholic.
ΔFosB (Delta Fos B) is a protein in our bodies, and it’s the main character in the nature side of understanding addiction. Essentially, brain scans of chronic drug addicts have revealed that their brain chemistries have changed. They’ve adapted to the brain of an addict, and this adaptation cannot take place without ΔFosB. ΔFosB also plays a role in regulating dopamine and our brain’s “reward system”. Dopamine is the chemical that makes things feel good. Most addictive drugs stimulate dopamine, which gives us incentive to do more of them.
Understanding that substance abuse is based on neurobiological structures can make it easier in understanding addiction and spotting problematic substance abuse. Substance use will block or activate receptors to mimic neurotransmitters in the brain. Usually the reward center of the brain in the amygdala, basal forebrain and other areas that process motivation and emotions, will be activated and positive feelings will be associated with drug use. Essentially, cravings are triggered and the body yearns for more of the substance. Despite the explanation of how the short-term reward of substance abuse effects the user and how they become addicted, there are various external factors that contribute to whether an addict actually chooses to engage in substance abuse.
We often inherit diseases such as diabetes or a propensity for cancer from our parents. So, why should addiction be any different? There have been many “twin studies” that examine this. Identical twins (who share the same genes) are put in different environments…and as many as 60% inherit alcoholism, regardless of their environment. Similar studies examine adopted children. Whether or not the adoptive parent is an alcoholic, children whose biological parents were alcoholics were 4x more likely to be alcoholics themselves. Steering clear of addiction can challenging for those who are genetically predisposed, but by being able to identify addictive disorders, it can be extremely effective for those who may be inclined, to avoid substance abuse altogether.
Because addiction is a complex disease, finding addiction genes can be a tricky process. Multiple genes and environmental factors can add up to make an individual susceptible, or they may cancel each other out. Not every addict will carry the same gene, and not everyone who carries an addiction gene will exhibit the trait. However, multiple lines of research show that addiction is influenced by genes. Multiple genes associated with impulsive behavior are linked to an increased risk of drug and alcohol addiction, and a gene related to mental health disorders like schizophrenia and bipolar disorder also increases risk.
Sheryl and Marc also talk about kids in college drinking themselves into Oblivion and the consequences to future health problems they may experiences as a result of excessive drinking that can damage the immune system and cause other illnesses. Will they all develop into alcoholics or other addictions as one addiction is often substituted for another along the way…it is often a reaction to fear and a need to simply feel safer about life. The college years are some of the most popular times to experiment with alcohol. Roughly 80 percent of college students – four out of every five – consume alcohol to some degree. It’s estimated that 50 percent of those students engage in binge drinking, which involves consuming too much alcohol in too little time.
Many young adults admit to drinking alcohol even before they enter college. After graduating high school and moving out on their own, college students want to experience their newfound freedom and independence. The availability of alcohol at sporting events and social activities is often tempting to students. What may start out as one drink can quickly turn into two, three or more. Drinking week after week causes the body to start building a tolerance to alcohol. This means it will require you to drink more in order to get the same high. Frequent heavy drinking greatly increases your chance of developing an alcohol use disorder (AUD), which can cause serious physical and emotional damage. While some side effects are temporary and go away within a matter of days, others can affect you for years to come. That’s why it’s crucial to seek help at the first warning sign of a drinking problem. The specialists at an alcohol treatment center are able to provide top-notch care and assistance for those who have quit drinking. Give us a call to find out more about rehab facilities that focus on alcohol recovery near you. A large percentage of college students consume alcohol by binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as when a person consumes an excessive amount of alcohol in a short timeframe. For men, binge drinking involves drinking five or more alcoholic beverages in two hours. On the other hand, binge drinking for women is considered four or more drinks within a two-hour time period.
The high-risk period of binge drinking for college students is during the first six weeks of their freshman year. Many of these students fall into peer pressure and begin drinking soon after the first day of classes. Alcohol use is commonly viewed as the “college experience” that students desire. They want to fit in and make new friends, so they keep drinking without thinking about the potential consequences involved. Within the last couple of decades, college students have started consuming more hard liquor than beer. Rather than drinking to socialize, an increasing number of young adults are drinking to get drunk. Since liquor has one of the highest alcohol percentages by volume, it takes fewer drinks to feel its effects. The end goal for some is to drink as much as possible or black out. These outcomes are extremely dangerous and can possibly lead to life-threatening effects, such as alcohol poisoning.
Sheryl brings up what just happened at Penn State where drinking in a fraternity hazing led to a young man’s death. Who is responsible for this lack of action and empathy on the part of those young people who didn’t reach out for help? Sheryl says it becomes clear that the lack of sensitivity for respecting people’s rights to thrive and be healthy and not need to succumb to peer pressure by drinking, abusing sex, bad mouthing, and being aggressive can be seen in our political community right now. A nation divided by media with political agendas, irresponsible parenting and a general social decline. A return to a simple Golden Rule philosophy, “Do onto others as others as you would have others do onto you” is needed to improve a decline in civil communication between adults, including teachers and professors in our colleges, many of whom are disregarding the First Amendment, freedom of speech by using their authority to silence anyone who does not think like the group. This escalating liberal philosophy is creating young people who have little respect for law and order or who value a life creating friction and violence at protests and in denying speakers at certain colleges. It’s hard to believe that 18 boys that are 18 years and older did not know to call for help for their injured classmate. It is impossible to believe. Except that we seem to be living in a culture that does not respect life, much like the terrorism that we see across the world… Insensitivity to anyone’s needs but their own, enabled by a reliance on social media and lack of a true moral sense. It seems the political hysteria is an addiction in itself.
Children born into families with a history of addiction or abuse are at increased risks for substance use disorders later in life. They must overcome genetic predispositions, familial influences and chaotic environments. The odds are stacked against them, and the statistics say most of them are destined to become addicts. But some children, despite all obstacles in their path, overcome the odds and live a life free of addiction. A child who sees family members abusing drugs is likely to mimic the same behavior later in life, according to several studies. Other risk factors — like the attitudes of their peers, the neighborhood they grow up in, their exposure to traumatic events or a history of child abuse — also affect a child’s likelihood of abusing drugs and suffering addiction someday. It’s a major problem in the United States. About 12 percent of American children — around 8.3 million kids — live with a parent who abuses alcohol or other drugs, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. There’s another factor that compounds the risk, and that’s the age of first use,” Emily Feinstein, the director of health law and policy at the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, told DrugRehab.com. “We see that teens who first smoke, drink or use drugs before the age of 15 are 6.5 times as likely to develop an addiction at some point in their lives as someone who delays their first use of an addictive substance until age 21.”
A parent’s behavior with alcohol or other drugs also significantly increases a child’s chance of abusing drugs later in life. Researchers have delved into the data and discovered surprising trends. Sons are more likely to abuse the same substances their fathers abuse, and daughters are more likely to abuse the same substances their mothers abuse, according to multiple studies. The family has a central role to play in the treatment of any health problem, including substance abuse.
The two disciplines, family therapy and substance abuse treatment, bring different perspectives to treatment implementation. In substance abuse treatment, for instance, the client is the identified patient (IP)—the person in the family with the presenting substance abuse problem. In family therapy, the goal of treatment is to meet the needs of all family members. Family therapy addresses the interdependent nature of family relationships and how these relationships serve the IP and other family members for good or ill. The focus of family therapy treatment is to intervene in these complex relational patterns and to alter them in ways that bring about productive change for the entire family. Family therapy rests on the systems perspective. As such, changes in one part of the system can and do produce changes in other parts of the system, and these changes can contribute to either problems or solutions.
Taking your first drink in your early teens may put you at greater risk of developing alcohol problems later on, according to new research. The study adds to work suggesting that early start to substance use may be particularly dangerous — not only because those who are at high risk of becoming dependent tend to start young for social reasons, but also because early use may affect brain development. Researchers have long known that the age at which a person starts drinking or taking drugs is a good predictor of whether or not he or she will develop an addiction. A person who starts drinking between age 11 and 14, for example, has a 16% chance of becoming an alcoholic 10 years later, while the odds are just 1% for someone who starts at 19 or older, according to one large study. And there are several reasons for this elevated risk. Children who start drinking at 12 may turn to alcohol to escape a chaotic, unstable family situation, or to cope with their own psychological stress or anxiety; such a strategy, however, may prevent them from learning other ways of coping. It’s also possible that the effects of alcohol on the brain during this period of development may make addiction more likely.
It turns out that there is a growing body of research, much of it in specialized journals on alcohol use, on parents’ providing small tastes of alcohol to relatively young children in the context of family events, and trying to tease out what it does or doesn’t mean in terms of children’s later relationship with alcohol. Mind you, the sipping children aren’t high school students; we’re reaching back earlier than that. And the research came about because it is so common for parents to offer those sips at home, before children have had other tastes of alcohol. Some researchers are trying to get at a child’s very first experience with drinking, “the earliest transition in the youngest population, specifically, from abstention into sipping or tasting alcohol among children,” according to a study published in 2014 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. And that can mean going back pretty early. Researchers looked at 452 children in Pennsylvania to see what factors might predict which ones would start tasting alcohol from ages 10 to 12. Sipping wasn’t associated with the kinds of behavior problems that have predicted problem drinking in other studies. Instead, it was connected to whether parents approved of the sipping and to children’s perceptions of those attitudes. The lead author, John E. Donovan, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh, recently wrote to me in an email that based on the cumulative research: “Child sipping is related to earlier initiation of drinking, which is a risk factor for a lot of other problem behaviors,” and related to binge drinking and drug use. His conclusion: “Parents should not be providing alcohol to their kids.”
Physical addiction is when a person’s body becomes dependent on something. After a while that person’s body craves more and more of whatever it is to be able to feel OK. Trying to give up can make that person suffer withdrawal symptoms which can last for quite a long time, but slowly get less as the body gets used to doing without.
These withdrawal symptoms can feel like a really bad dose of flu and make a person feel so sick and depressed that they want to go back to whatever they were taking to feel OK again. It is hard to give up. Psychological addiction is when someone craves something which will change their mood or feelings. They may not get physical withdrawal symptoms, but they may feel lonely, depressed or anxious if they can’t get the thing that they desire. People can become addicted to a wide range of things…drugs – legal and illegal, alcohol, tobacco, Smoking and Passive smoking, some medications inhalants, like sniffing glue or petrol.
But people can also become addicted to behaviours, which take over their lives…harmful or risky behaviours – such as breaking things, vandalism, shop stealing hurting themselves – like cutting their bodies Compulsive behaviours (compulsive means that they feel they have to do it to feel better about themselves).
Compulsive behaviours can include: eating disorders, like bingeing on food and then making themselves vomit, or compulsive exercise, where they are constantly exercising to make themselves feel good, but are really harming their bodies (yes, professional athletes need to train a lot to keep their bodies ready to compete, but they are following fitness programs which include food, exercise and sports psychology, based on their sport and themselves).gambling, video games, mobiles and SMS, and chatting on the internet.
If you or someone you know is addicted to drugs or alcohol, various types of treatment programs are available.
Inpatient treatment : Residential rehabs, which can be standard, luxury, or executive programs, require that you live at the facility for the duration of your treatment while receiving comprehensive recovery services.
Outpatient treatment : Outpatient programs provide the freedom to live at home and fulfill home, school, or work responsibilities while receiving addiction services, such as therapy or counseling.
Dual diagnosis : A dual diagnosis means a person suffers from an addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder. If you suspect or know that you have a dual diagnosis, seek out a recovery center that is experienced in treating comorbid conditions.
Individual therapy : A credentialed therapist will use a number of therapeutic techniques to help you change thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that can lead to addiction and help you develop coping skills.
Group counseling : A counselor will facilitate a group therapy session centered on the development of interpersonal skills and the use of coping strategies. Groups are usually small and include other people struggling with addiction.
12-step programs : Twelve-step programs, such as Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, provide members with encouragement, support, and guidance while working toward achieving and maintaining a sober and healthy life.
In summarizing today’s episode of Healing From Within it becomes clear once again that there is no one on this planet not challenged in one way or another: an illness addiction loss or defeat: these very challenges are the means to greater positivity and success as we uncover the reasons, correct the problems and reach out for help accept love from those who show us kindness in our journey to discover from within, our great capacity to find gratitude and joy in living. Our destiny and true reason for having a physical life is simply to find healing in mind body and spirit and to share greater love with other souls. Marc and I would have you Know this…….No one is perfect and in learning that truth you release the need to judge yourself or anyone else and can accept everyone and everything as it is. With great effort and consistency we can solve any problem or live with it, and still be glad to be part of this experiment in life….
Guest: Marc Treitler