Health warning to 'drunkorexics'

WOMEN have been warned that they risk seriously damaging their health if they adopt a new fad diet which encourages boozing instead of eating.

Drunkorexia is the latest craze to come from the US which showbiz insiders claim is followed by Hollywood stars including Lindsay Lohan, Mischa Barton, Tara Reid and Paris Hilton.

Perhaps the most famous drunkorexic of all time is Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous, who famously lived on Bolly and Stoli, who only once, in the entire history of the sitcom, ever asked for “some of that food stuff” and who was fashionably skeletal.

Now UK health experts are increasingly worried that more and more women are following the trend in order to stay slim while drinking heavily.

Denying themselves two biscuits would allow an average woman to drink three vodkas and diet colas without gaining any weight.

And cutting out the 700 calories found in a serving of spaghetti bolognese means a woman could drink up to five alcopops without piling on the pounds.

Some health experts blame diets which encourage calorie counting for supporting the trend.

Professor Janet Treasure, head of the Eating Disorder Unit at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, described drunkorexia as “very dangerous”.

“It is more common with bulimia than anorexia, but you get the combination of empty calories with no nutritional value, and the risky behaviour that goes with being drunk.”

Marie Griffiths of the Wales-based Slimtone weight loss organisation said: “Any social life includes eating and drinking alcohol.

“I know a lot of people who will factor in the odd glass of wine into their weekly calorie intake.

“But cutting out a healthy diet in order to drink heavily obviously could be very detrimental to your health. Liver complaints are on the rise in young women already.

“And if you don’t eat all day then go out drinking, your blood sugar levels will be so low that whatever you drink will affect you that much more.”

Endorsements for dumping healthy food for alcohol are easily found on social networking sites, including Facebook.

The creator of the Anorexia Binge Drinking Diet society, which has at least one registered member from Wales, writes: “Anyone trying to lose weight and look good for the ladies?

“I created a new diet for everyone in college. Don’t eat all day, then go get s***faced every night. Drink until you throw up!

“No calories, you have to lose weight. ( I think).”

And the Binge Drinking Appreciation Group includes in its justification of binge-drinking: “If you’re going to be a fat b*****d in your later years, you may as well enjoy the process.”

In one of the most comprehensive studies into the link between alcohol and food suppression, research suggested that people with eating disorders are five times more likely to be substance abusers, while substance abusers are 11 times more likely to have eating disorders.

The study also noted that eating disorders and substance abuse have several significant characteristics in common – brain chemistry, family history, stress triggers and the prevalence of affected people also suffering from low self-esteem, depression, anxiety or a history of abuse.

Mary George, spokeswoman for eating disorders charity b-eat, said: “Drunkorexia is a form of behaviour more associated with binge- drinking than eating disorders.

“We are aware of it, but it is in some ways almost belittling to put it in the same bracket as eating disorders, which are a form of mental illness.

“Having said that, it is certainly not something which we would condone, or dismiss.”

And Mary Wood, chief executive of the eating-disorder charity Foundations UK, said: “It’s hard to generalise about the link between eating disorders and alcohol. There are so many ways in which the two work together – psychologically, physiologically and culturally.

“One thing is certain, however: all eating disorders are a way of coping with emotional pain, and so is alcohol.”

source: Celtic Weekly Newspapers


Talking to Your Boss About Your Alcohol Abuse

Should an employee ever divulge a drinking problem to a manager voluntarily?

Part of Liz Dvorak's job as a human-resources specialist for the Army Corps of Engineers in St. Paul, Minn., is promoting the employee-assistance programs available to staff members if they have drug or alcohol problems. She puts up refrigerator magnets in the office kitchen advertising the anonymous and confidential EAP services. Ms. Dvorak, 51, long hesitated to get some employee assistance for herself.

Ms. Dvorak says she had a drinking problem for years. She rarely let it interfere with her work, which helped her minimize the problem. "There were times I missed work because of hangovers, but not very often, and it was a denial kind of thing," she says. "If I missed a lot of work, it would be obvious to me that I had a problem, and I didn't want to do that."

About three years ago, she says she used the employee-assistance package to enter an alcohol-abuse treatment program. Counseling was three nights a week, after work, and billed to the Army as an expense without a listing of the client or the type of treatment. Ms. Dvorak says she could have kept the information to herself, and no one at work would have known.

But she was tired of keeping secrets, she says. The first person she told at work was her boss.

Revealing an alcohol problem to a supervisor can be a flat-out risky proposition, especially if it has affected your performance. Doctors and HR professionals, including Ms. Dvorak, caution employees to think carefully before assuming that a supervisor will accept the news with sympathy and the same relief that the alcoholic may feel at finally coming to a point of resolution.

Ms. Dvorak says she felt confident that her sterling record at work and the good relationship she had with her boss would make for a smooth conversation, even a cathartic one. "It was a decision for my personal benefit to not carry a burden of shame and embarrassment," she says. "I don't want to hide who I am, because I think that keeps people sick."

Late in the afternoon, she says she went into her supervisor's office and asked to speak with her. They closed the door. Ms. Dvorak was worried she would cry. "I just want you to know what's going on," she says she told her boss. "I can't talk about it a whole lot, but I've been going through this treatment." Her boss was calm and supportive. They didn't talk much more about it at the time.

While many alcoholics let their dependency flood every facet of their lives, those that limit their drinking to after hours may have a tougher time recognizing its effects. But the employee who sips from a flask stowed in her desk drawer is likely to be impaired at work, perform poorly, and warrant discipline from above that could include termination.

Charles Herndon, director of Providence Breakthrough, a substance-abuse treatment center in Anchorage, Alaska, says he cautions his clients against alerting their supervisors. "I recommend keeping the reasons for chemical dependency treatment private in order to reduce the likelihood of receiving prejudicial treatment based on their diagnosis," he says.

If the individual can be treated after work in an outpatient program, keeping the matter private is not difficult. Federal laws and regulations keep privileged medical information between doctor and patient, and many employee-assistance packages don't share the client names when billing a company for services.

But when a doctor deems a person so ill from alcohol abuse that he or she must enter inpatient treatment for four to six weeks, employers will likely need an explanation to permit the leave. The Family and Medical Leave Act requires that employers with more than 50 employees permit unpaid leave to an employee who has been with the organization for a year or more for up to 12 work weeks per year in the case of a serious health condition that inhibits his or her ability to perform the job, among other situations.

Employers may also have their own policy governing the type of leave granted, says Michael Aitken, director of governmental affairs with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). It could be paid leave, for example, or considered sick leave or short-term disability, especially if the employee seeking it has been with the employer for less than 12 months, he says.

If you're that employee with a life-threatening case of alcoholism, how do you explain your situation to the boss, who certainly will notice a six-week absence? Keeping the nature of the problem private might take the poker face of a CIA agent. Those with a more transparent veneer may choose to consult their human-resources department before disclosing their condition to the boss.

That's the course of action Johnny Taylor, chairman of SHRM, recommends. "The HR person is trying to step outside of their own biases and do the best thing for the employee and the employer, whereas managers may not be in that same position," says Mr. Taylor, who is senior vice president of human resources for IAC/InterActiveCorp. "Imagine you go to someone who's extremely conservative and judgmental?" He says HR should work with an employee to come up with a plan for how to bring up the problem with his or her manager.

If an employee has been working while impaired by alcohol, an employer has grounds for dismissal, says Loring Spolter, an employment law attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

A long period of sloppy work as a result of being hungover or drunk can jeopardize a career. Dr. Herndon says when job performance declines, and an employer notices, many companies may prefer to try to solve the problem rather than replace the employee. "If the employer knows that there is a treatable cause for the impairment, they are more likely to refer for treatment and allow the individual to come back on probation after completing treatment," he says.

source: Wall Street Journal


W.H.O Launches Alcohol Study

Citing growing problems like binge drinking and increased consumption in developing countries, the World Health Organization (WHO) this week launched a worldwide study on alcohol use, Reuters reported May 25.

"Alcohol is now a global problem," said Catherine Le Gales-Camus, WHO's assistant director-general for noncommunicable diseases and mental health. "Member states are more and more concerned by the use of alcohol among the younger part of the population. New patterns of consumption, binge drinking, are major issues."

The last major WHO study of alcohol was done more than 20 years ago. Governments, health experts, and the alcohol industry will be consulted before experts establish the parameters of the study. The WHO has undertaken similar studies on tobacco and obesity in recent years.

WHO research presented during the recent World Health Assembly said that drinking causes at least 1.8 million deaths annually -- 4 percent of all deaths worldwide. "Public-health problems associated with alcohol consumption have reached alarming proportions and alcohol has become one of the most important risks to health globally," the report said.
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Information on Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is simply defined as a compulsive need for an intoxicating liquid that is obtained from fermented grain or fruit. These liquids include beer, wine, and other hard liquors. Alcoholism can lead people into serious trouble, and can be physically and mentally destructive. Currently alcohol use is involved in half of all crimes, murders, accidental deaths, and suicides. There are also many health problems associated with alcohol use such as brain damage, cancer, heart disease, and diseases of the liver. Alcoholics who do not stop drinking reduce life expectancy by 10 to 15 years.

When a person drinks alcohol, the alcohol is absorbed by the stomach, enters the bloodstream, and goes to all the tissues. The effects of alcohol are dependent on a variety of factors, including a person's size, weight, age, and sex, as well as the amount of food and alcohol consumed. The disinhibiting effect of alcohol is one of the main reasons it is used in so many social situations. Other effects of moderate alcohol intake include dizziness and talkativeness; the immediate effects of a larger amount of alcohol include slurred speech, disturbed sleep, nausea, and vomiting.

Alcohol addiction often has a familial pattern, and at least some of the transmission can be traced to genetic factors. The risk for alcohol addiction is three to four times higher in close relatives of people with alcohol addiction.* Family members and significant others are severely affected and hurt by alcohol addiction.

Alcohol & Drug Addiction Treatment Resource Center offers a no cost, viable alternative for people looking for addiction treatment answers and assistance. The alcohol and drug addiction treatment hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our experienced, friendly staff knows all about alcohol and drug addiction treatment problems. And we understand people need the best information possible. Our staff knows the emotional turmoil and personal consequences of alcohol and drug addiction treatment.

People who are alcohol dependent are caught in the compelling grip of an uncontrollable need for alcohol that takes priority over their ability to stop drinking. Indeed, this need to drink for the alcoholic can be as strong as his or her need for food or water. In short, and unlike most people, the alcoholic is controlled by "alcohol and addiction" rather than being in control of his or her life.

Alcohol, even at low doses, significantly impairs the judgment and coordination required to drive a car safely. Low to moderate doses of alcohol can also increase the incidence of a variety of aggressive acts, including domestic violence and child abuse. Hangovers are another possible effect after large amounts of alcohol are consumed; a hangover consists of headache, nausea, thirst, dizziness, and fatigue.

Drug addiction and alcohol abuse are complex, life-threatening issues. Our goal is to help the family, friends and those who suffer, get the help they deserve. We understand how confusing this process can be and the impact it has on the family. The vast majority of people are unfamiliar with chemical dependency, drug addiction and/or alcoholism. As a result, they end up making improper choices and not getting the best help possible or worse yet, not getting any help at all. Detox is the first step in the rehab process.

The disease of addiction involves permanent changes in the human brain that result from the repeated exposure to alcohol or addicting drugs. As the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of the addicting substance, the chemistry of the brain changes, becoming dependent on that substance.

source: Los Angeles Chronicle


Carlene Carter Celebrates Survival

This is why you should care about Carlene Carter: She puts her whole life into her music in a way few artists dare or accomplish. Not just snippets of a diary. I mean her life experience, her guts and her whole psyche. It goes in there. It's not always a pretty recipe. But the results are often gems of music.

Her work continues to illuminate the peculiar strength -- and the weakness -- of the whole Cash-Carter legacy, which is a musical edifice that is going to endure for a long, long time. And Carter's latest album, Stronger, coming some 13 years since her last studio effort, amply demonstrates that. It reflects the toll taken on her by wrong roads taken and unavoidable tragedies. In Carlene's case, she's had career triumphs and backslides, three marriages and numerous personal losses.

As her stepfather Johnny Cash once famously said, "Drugs run through this family like crap through a goose." And Carlene was no exception. She experienced a harrowing heroin bust when she took the fall for her late amour, Howie Epstein of Tom Petty's Heartbreakers, and she's had her own years of heroin addiction and alcohol abuse. Fortunately for her, she came out of it all with tales to tell of falling and getting back up again.

Me-centered music lives and dies by the strength of its compositions. Strong songs celebrate the worth of their creator. Lesser works invite attack, ridicule or -- worse -- no attention at all. From the Carter Family on to Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash, Rosanne Cash, Carlene Carter and others, they have risen and fallen on the strengths and frailties of their own labors.

And if there is one consistent thread running through the lives and careers of the many writing and performing Carters and Cashes, it is one of stubborn independence. That's probably the only reason Johnny lasted as long as he did, and it certainly seems to have been Carlene's key to survival -- both in a mortal sense, as well as artistically.

Her few albums over the years sometimes only hinted at the talents lying underneath. They trace, though, her route as a musical pioneer, from her California country-rock days through her Brit-pop era with her then-husband Nick Lowe back to a country amalgam she forges herself. After her strong 1978 self-titled debut album, the all-but-hidden UK album Blue Nun remains a rarity -- perhaps rightfully so. C'est Si Bon and Two Sides to Every Woman were very uneven. But her musical triumphs have been glorious. 1980's Musical Shapes, 1990's I Fell in Love and 1993's Little Love Letters remain joys to hear. She's singing with total confidence, and the songs fit her like those little mini-skirts she used to wear so well. Her last studio album, 1995's Little Acts of Treason, was not completely on a par with those works.

Stronger is very much Carter's own creation. She wrote all but one of the 12 cuts and called on old friend John McFee of the Doobie Brothers to produce. The result may be her strongest work to date. Strong, as in mature.

Especially moving is her rendition of her composition "It Takes One to Know Me," which her stepfather Johnny Cash recorded before his death and which appears on both his Johnny Cash: The Legend album and on his CD of duets with June.

In "Judgement Day," about losing Epstein to an OD, she laments the loss of her "bittersweet wasted youth" and sings: "I'll hold on for dear life till it comes judgement day/True love never dies/It just walks away."

The title song, "Stronger" (as in "what doesn't kill me makes me stronger"), which was spurred by the tragic, early death of her sister Rosie, is both a heartrending lamentation and a celebration of and return to life itself. "Now there's rest for the weary," she sings, "and there's peace in the night/There's grace in forgiveness for angels in flight."

From the Musical Shapes album, Carlene reprises her song "I'm So Cool." Whereas the original recording of "I'm So Cool" sounded jaunty and cocky and looking forward to life's experiences, her 2008 "Cool" is mature and even a little world-weary as she reflects on those experiences. "Hangin' out with the boys is where it's at," she sings, "'Cause they got the balls and I got the bat/Yeah, I got the bat."

Carter has obviously come back from a perilous and disastrous odyssey to find her rightful place at her musical home. Stronger is a triumphant album, a buoyant if bittersweet reclamation of her own personal spot in the Cash-Carter enduring legacy of musical creativity. Carlene has not been regarded in the past as a role model for young women artists, but now she has something to say to them.



Emotional Impact Of Cocaine Addiction Mimicked In Animals

Cocaine addicts often suffer a downward emotional spiral that is a key to their craving and chronic relapse. While researchers have developed animal models of the reward of cocaine, they have not been able to model this emotional impact, until now.

Regina Carelli and colleagues report experiments with rats in which they have mimicked the negative effect of cocaine addiction and even how it drives greater cocaine use. They said their animal model could enable better understanding of the emotional motivations of cocaine addiction and how to ameliorate them.

The researchers reported their findings in the March 13, 2008, issue of the journal Neuron, published by Cell Press.

The researchers started with the well-known phenomenon that rats will tend to avoid a taste that is paired with self-administration of a drug such as cocaine. Also, it was known that the greater avoidance of the taste was associated with greater drug self-administration.

In their experiments, the researchers squirted a grape- or orange-flavored sweet solution into the mouths of rats. After squirting one flavor, the rats were given a chance to press a lever to obtain cocaine; after the other taste, pressing the lever delivered only a saline solution.

The researchers measured the rats' response to the flavors by analyzing video of their expressions and measuring the electrical activity of a muscle involved in the licking response.

They found that the rats developed an aversion to the normally enjoyable taste that was associated with cocaine, compared to the saline-associated taste. They also found that the greater the measured aversion, the quicker and more frequently the rats pressed the lever to obtain cocaine.

The researchers also found that the aversive taste excited activity in a brain region called the nucleus accumbens, which is associated with expression of motivated behaviors.

The researchers wrote that their findings demonstrated that it is possible to induce a "negative affective state" in the animals that predicts the motivation to take cocaine. They said their finding "also is provocative because it bridges two well-known drug-abuse phenomena. The first, that drug-associated cues elicit drug seeking, has been well documented in humans and animal models. The second, that negative affect drives drug seeking, has been well described by human addicts but is difficult to model in animals. The importance of this study lies in this animal model's potential to define and then ameliorate the motivational properties of negative affect evoked by drug-associated stimuli and thereby decrease the drive for the drug," they wrote.

In a preview of the article in the same issue of Neuron, Donna Calu and Geoffrey Schoenbaum wrote that the relationship between the taste aversion and increased drug taking "lends strong support to the proposal that triggering of aversive affective states by drug-associated cues plays a role in drug-seeking behavior and provides a novel behavioral model in which to investigate the circuit basis of this phenomenon."



New Report Provides Substance Use And Mental Health Information For Each State

A new report providing analyses of substance use and mental health patterns occurring in each state reveals that there are wide variations among the states in problems like illicit drug use and underage drinking, but that no state was immune from these problems. For example, past month use of alcohol among persons aged 12 to 20 (underage use of alcohol) ranged from a low of 21.5 percent in Utah to a high of 38.3 percent in Vermont. Yet Utah had the highest level of people age 18 or older reporting serious psychological distress in the past year (14.4 percent), while Hawaii had the lowest level (8.8 percent).

The report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) shows that although there are some differences in the patterns of substance use and mental health problems experienced among states and regions, all parts of the country are seriously affected by these problems.

"This report shows that although states may be uniquely affected by serious public health problems like underage drinking, every state and region must confront these issues," said SAMHSA Administrator Terry Cline, Ph.D. "By highlighting the nature and scope of the challenges affecting each state, we can help focus and target substance abuse and mental illness prevention and treatment resources."

State Estimates of Substance Use is based on the 2005-2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) and provides state-level estimates for 23 measures of substance use and mental health problems, including underage drinking, use of illicit drugs, serious psychological distress, major depression, and tobacco use. These estimates are based on combined data collected from 136,110 respondents surveyed in 2005 and 2006 (the most recent data available). The report also reveals statistically significant changes that have occurred within each state between 2004-2005 and 2005-2006.

Notable findings in this report include:

Underage Alcohol Use and Binge Drinking

Georgia had the lowest level of past month underage binge drinking of alcohol (15.2 percent), and North Dakota had the highest level (28.5 percent).

Increases in underage drinking levels between the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 NSDUH surveys occurred in Arkansas (from 25.2 to 28.7 percent), Nevada (from 25.1 to 27.9 percent), and Vermont (from 34.0 to 38.3 percent). Arkansas and Vermont also experienced increases in underage binge alcohol use during this same period (Arkansas from 17.0 to 19.4 percent, and Vermont from 24.5 to 28.0 percent).

South Dakota's and Wisconsin's levels for underage drinking decreased from 38.3 to 34.1 percent, and from 39.5 to 35.4 percent respectively. These two states also experienced declines in the level of underage binge drinking (South Dakota dropped from 27.0 to 23.7 percent and Wisconsin went from 28.1 percent to 25.1 percent).

Illicit Drug Use

Past month use of illicit drugs for all persons aged 12 or older ranged from a low of 5.7 percent in North Dakota to a high of 11.2 percent in Rhode Island.

The percentage of persons aged 12 or older who used an illicit drug in the past month increased in the period between the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 NSDUH surveys in Washington state from 8.5 to 10 percent. The level decreased in Kentucky during this period from 8.4 to 7.0 percent.

Utah had the lowest level of past month marijuana use among persons age 12 or older (4.3 percent). Vermont had the highest level of past month marijuana use among the same age group (9.7 percent).

In 2005-2006, Oklahoma had the highest percentage (6.7 percent) of persons aged 12 or older using pain relievers for nonmedical purposes in the past year. Hawaii, New Jersey, and South Dakota had the lowest rate in the Nation-3.9 percent.

Tobacco Use

Utah had the lowest prevalence level for past month tobacco use among persons aged 12 or older (22.1 percent). West Virginia had the highest level for this age group (40.6 percent).

Two states showed increases in past month tobacco use among persons 12 or older between the 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 NSDUH surveys -- the rate in California rose from 21.2 to 22.6 percent and the level in Oklahoma went up from 33.7 to 36.9 percent.

Substance Dependence and Abuse

The percentage of persons with a substance use disorder, including either drug or alcohol dependence or abuse, ranged from a low of 7.5 percent in New Jersey to a high of 12.3 percent in the District of Columbia.

The highest rate of illicit drug dependence or abuse was in the District of Columbia (4.3 percent), while the lowest rate was in Iowa (2.1 percent).

Kentucky had the lowest rate of alcohol dependence or abuse (6.3 percent). Montana had the highest rate (10.8 percent).

Mental Health Problems

Hawaii had the lowest level of people age 18 or over reporting at least one major depressive episode in the past year (5.0 percent) while Nevada had the highest rate (9.4 percent).

The full report is available on the Web here. Copies may be obtained free of charge by calling SAMHSA's Health Information Network at 1-877-SAMHSA-7 (1-877-726-4727). Request inventory number SMA 08-4311. For related publications and information, visit .

SAMHSA is a public health agency within the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency is responsible for improving the accountability, capacity and effectiveness of the nation's substance abuse prevention, addictions treatment, and mental health services delivery system.


Dealing with alcoholism

On seven week nights, groups of 30 or more local residents gather to discuss their common problem — their inability to cope with a deadly allergy. Alcoholism.

And make no bones about it, this far too often turns into a fatal illness because an illness is just what it is.

These victims must face three pertinent ideas of Alcoholics Anonymous.

• “We were alcoholic and could not manage our lives.”

• “Probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism” and

• “That God could and would if He were sought.”

New members must face their addiction and realize they were born with this weakness. The sincere desire to stop drinking must precede that first step toward total sobriety. A spokesman for one of the seven Wilmington branches cited “AA Unity” as members provide mutual support.

The plate is passed for contributions which purchase the mandatory coffee, cookies and pay the rent of the building where they meet. The coordinator-spokesman said, “I was a hopeless case — a total drunk.Then my wife and I decided that after trying everything else, AA was the last resort. I came here from out of town one night a week in an attempt to get dried out. That was in 2005 and for most of that time I have been dry. The idea of taking a drink now is a thing of the past. It has made a complete change in my life.”

“Now I can hold my head high,” he enthused. “Everyone is welcome at these hour-long meetings as AA tries to find a power greater than ourselves.”

The Wilmington branch was opened in 1959 and today AA has proven its effectiveness throughout the United States, Canada and in many foreign countries. There are no racial. religious, racial or economic requirements. Famous actors, television personalities, athletes and political leaders as well as convicts and social derelicts have attended the meetings. A prayer always opens each AA meeting. The door is always open to the AA member who falls along the way to sobriety.

Does AA work?

“You bet it does,” came the snappy reply from the coordinator. For those who attend the meetings regularly, 75 percent kick the habit for good. But if the alcoholic doesn’t want to kick it, AA is not for him.

When asked why AA does not assess dues on its members, the coordinator replied, “We’ve already paid the price.”

An old proverb is found on the first page of the AA’s monthly publication, “The Grapevine” expresses the ideal to which all AAs subscribe. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change and the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”

It exists in the form of group therapy. Members talk out their problems probing the causes of their addiction. It attempts to straighten the tangled, miserable lives of the “lush” or the “out of control drinker” who realizes where he or she is headed and through introspection or advice from a minister, pastor or friend attend the first meeting.

The AA policy goes on to state, “We cannot give AA membership to nonalcoholic addicts. But like anyone else they should be able to attend open AA meetings, provided, of course. that the group themselves are willing.”

Many members have been hospitalized numerous times for “defecting” and taking that one drink that is transformed into nine or 10 or 100. Others have awakened in the drunk tank of the city jail. Walking inevitably, hand in hand, with this situation is a plummeting reputation followed in rapid order by the departure of friends and family members and a pink slip from the boss.

There is no way this can be rationalized. Now the drinking starts with a vengeance.

“This is what AA tries to avoid,” the local AA spokesman concluded.

source: Wilmington News Journal


Motivation and Belief

Motivation And Belief

Strange as it seems, millions of us believe we are not in control of our actions and emotions. Whole political systems have been developed, based on this false notion that we can't decide in our own best interest, so we need politicians to decide for us, with seat belt laws, trans-fat laws, etc. This article isn't about politics, but about discovering what really motivates our decisions and how to use that to make better decisions...ones we really want. If you've ever wondered why you did something or if you suffer from addiction, anxiety, eating disorders or any number of dysfunctions, read on...this article is for you.
You Make Me Angry!

How many times have we said something like "he makes me mad," to place the blame for our emotions on someone else? Who knows...right now you may be thinking of times you've done this recently. Let me ask you a question! If someone is such a jerk as to anger you, why would you want them in control of how you feel? You don't? Good...because they aren' are. When we believe other people "make" us feel a certain way, we're giving them control over our emotions.

If I can control your emotions, I can control a lot of your decisions and actions. We all know this to be true. The squeaky wheel gets the most grease because the squeaking gives us emotional pain. Kids are expert at this! Here's an example that proves you control your own emotions: know...all those gifts and compliments and fancy dinners? You also know that getting that kind of attention from someone you don't have romantic feelings for is called...stalking. No, your fiancé didn't make you feel complete; you did that because you were getting romantic attention from someone you had romantic desires for. By the way, this also means it's impossible to "fall" in or out of love. We decide to have those feelings and we decide when we don't, no matter how convenient it is to think otherwise.
I Just Couldn't Help It!

As much as we control our emotions, we control our actions more. "I couldn't stop myself" may work for a child, but part of being grown up is being in control of ourselves, or at least being progressively more in control as the years go on. Imagine a grown man trying to buy food in a clothing store. Upon hearing they have no food, he throws himself on the floor and starts crying and screaming demands for food. Every action is a decision. Of course we can keep from doing harmful things, if we decide to.

I remember resenting the people around me who said, "When you want to quit smoking, you'll be able to." For years, I thought I was controlled by the cigarettes. Guess what! When I wanted to, I quit, in Oct 1989, and haven't had a cigarette since. It isn't that I'm unsympathetic to all those suffering addiction...just the opposite! I've been addicted to booze, drugs, sex, food, etc. I care so much for your recovery that I'm willing to tell you the can get better if you want. The addiction does not control control you.


Alcohol Linked to Surgery Risk

Patients going into surgery should control their alcohol intake beforehand, according to a report in The Guardian. Drinking "even moderate amounts prior to surgery could slow down recovery and weaken the immune system", the newspaper said.

The newspaper story is based on a German study looking at mice that had a form of "surgery" after exposure to alcohol. The mice that had alcohol had more severe post-operative lung infection. However, it is not possible to tell how this "surgery" could relate to any surgical procedure carried out in humans, or how the dose of alcohol given to the mice in one week could relate to quantity and frequency of alcohol consumption in an adult.

Heavy drinking is well known to be related to poorer health and it is sensible for people to try and keep their alcohol consumption within recognised limits. It is unclear from this study whether alcohol consumption should be avoided completely around the time of surgery.

Where did the story come from?

Dr Claudia Spies and colleagues from the medical institutes in Berlin carried out this study. The research was funded in part by the German Research Society. It was published in the peer-reviewed medical journal: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

What kind of scientific study was this?

This was a laboratory study in mice in which researchers developed a mouse model of surgery to explore immune responses and lung disease after alcohol exposure. It is known that long-term alcoholic patients have a greater risk of complications after surgery, particularly with pneumonia.

Researchers exposed 32 laboratory mice to alcohol or to a control injections of saline. On the eighth day, all mice had surgery under sterile conditions and whilst under anaesthetic. Two days after surgery the mice were randomised, and half were exposed to the bacteria that causes pneumonia (K. pneumoniae), or to saline.

After 24 hours of exposure to the bacteria, all mice were killed so that their organs could be removed for assessment. Researchers recorded the body weight, impairment, symptoms of infection and other characteristics of the mice on the first and last day of the experiment

What were the results of the study?

There was no difference in clinical characteristics between the mice groups on the first day of the experiment (before exposure to alcohol or surgery). However, at the end of the experiment (after alcohol exposure, surgery and exposure to bacteria) the researchers found there to be significant differences between the alcohol-treated mice and non-alcohol treated mice, and between those infected with bacteria and those not.

The most important result was that in mice who were infected with bacteria, those that had been exposed to alcohol previously had more pronounced lung injury than those who were not exposed to alcohol. They also had higher levels of two proteins (called cytokines), interleukin-6 and interleukin-1, in their lungs, which promote inflammation. However, there was no significant difference in the numbers of bacteria in the lungs or in the concentration of other immune chemicals in the spleen. In the liver, there was a lower concentration of inflammatory protein in the infected mice treated with alcohol.

What interpretations did the researchers draw from these results?

The researchers conclude that, as expected, the exposure of mice to bacteria causing pneumonia results in lung infection. However, the infection is more severe in alcohol-treated mice, and these mice showed increased levels of the two proteins linked to inflammation. The researchers conclude that the one week of ethanol treatment "may have provoked a weakened immune response in the lung, leading to more pronounced organ damage".

What does the NHS Knowledge Service make of this study?

There are limitations to what can be learnt from this study, as results from animal studies do not necessarily translate into similar results in humans. In addition, there are methodological limitations to this study, some of which the researchers raise:

- In assessing the damage to the lungs caused by exposure to infection, the researchers used a subjective measure. They say that the finding that increased levels of interleukin-6 led to greater lung damage need to be confirmed by further studies using a more objective scoring system.

- The significance of the surgery in this experiment is difficult to see. All mice had abdominal "surgery", but the results relate to the effect of bacteria on lung health.

- The researchers only measured the concentrations of two proteins involved in response to the pneumonia infection - interleukin-6 (IL-6) and interleukin-10 (IL-10). There are other types of these chemicals secreted by cells of the immune system that may play a part in the response to infection. These chemicals are also thought to be activated by surgery; however, in this experiment researchers did not measure them before exposing the mice to pneumonia. In humans, different markers would be used to consider the severity of a pneumonia infection, such as white blood cell count, other inflammatory markers in the blood, temperature, fluid balance, and clinical examination of the patient.

The relevance of this particular study to people undergoing surgery is limited. It is known that continued heavy alcohol drinking is related to poorer health and it is sensible for people to try to moderate their alcohol consumption to within recognised limits. Whether alcohol consumption should be avoided around the time of surgery in particular remains unclear.


First International Addiction Symposium

On February 28 and 29, the First International Symposium of Addiction Medicine, Neurobiology of Drug Addiction, will be held in Escazú, Costa Rica. The subject will be "The Neurobiology of Addiction to Alcohol and Other Drugs."

All presentations will be simultaneously translated in English and Spanish.

The Symposium is a collaborative project between the University of Virginia, Universidad de Ciencias Médicas (UCIMED) and Asociación Centro de Rehabilitación para el Adicto (ACERPA), as an answer to a growing concern in the health system and in society, about the prevalence of abuse and addiction to alcohol and other drugs.

The main goal of this Symposium is to transfer first line information and obtain treatment techniques for the disease of addiction, given by medical and psychology experts from the University of Virginia, University of Texas at Houston, Wake Forest University, NIDA, and NIAAA.

We will have lectures on the results of the latest research in neurobiology of alcohol and drug addiction, genetics of nicotine addiction, pharmacology and psychosocial treatment techniques based on scientific evidence.

Also, on the second day, we will have practical workshops to train the delegates on the latest treatment techniques developed and proved by experts in the addiction field.

Visit the Symposium's web site at: