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Alcoholism and Addiction May be Home for the Holidays

by James Heller 24. December 2013 09:24
When bright young teens go off to college, every parent hopes it will be the start of a promising future.  The new students experience some anxiety along with a new sense of independence, which can lead to experimenting with alcohol or drugs.  Studies about the facts of college alcohol and drug abuse show that this is a recipe for an early onset of alcoholism and drug addiction, and parents may get a surprise when their babies come home for the holidays.
The signs are always there.  If alcohol and drug abuse is unacceptable in a family, returning teens will do everything possible to hide it.  When parents are okay with the use of alcohol or drugs, the homecoming may just require a reduction in daily use, so as to not reveal a problem.  So, chances are, if your child came home drinking when they hadn’t before college, what you see them drink may just be a mask to hide the ugliness of bigger problem.

When college students get into the habit of drinking or using drugs to “let off steam” or “take the edge off”, they are learning to self-medicate.  This can be dangerous if alcohol or drugs become a coping mechanism and not just an occasional respite.  When emotions or stressors arise, the option to deal with them will diminish as the option to escape with substances will become more common.  They don’t learn to work through problems and become dependent on the chemical solution at the same time.  

Read more about college alcohol use, its effects, and how to spot trouble at this link:
Parents need to watch for the signs and intervene when they appear.  Lead off with a loving statement that you just want to make sure there isn’t a problem.  Maybe they just need to talk to someone and understand that stress and emotions are natural things to deal with.  If there is indeed is a problem, you may be surprised with a big hug and a plea for help.  In either case, to not bring it up out of fear over a possible confrontation is a big price to pay for the health of your loved one.

Here at Tarzana Treatment Centers we talk to people every day who desperately need alcohol and drug treatment, and others who are just going through stressful times who need a little therapy.  We provide substance use and mental health treatment for all levels of care.  If you are a college student and you are worried about your alcohol or drug use, or have a loved one who is, please call us today.
Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides a full array of health care services including adult and youth alcohol and drug treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley and specialized services for HIV/AIDS care.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependencedrug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders or from other services we offer, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us using our secure contact form.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

Boston University Alcohol Screening Tool

by James Heller 14. April 2010 12:35
A comprehensive alcohol screening tool released by the Boston University School of Public Health is available for public use.  This short questionnaire does more than simply determine whether or not individuals suffer from alcohol dependence.  It goes beyond that to assist those who may want to simply alter their drinking habits.

Most alcohol screening tools will assess users for alcohol dependence first, and then, if they are not, point them to informative content about alcohol abuse and dependence.  It seems more effective that a screening tool would assess for a range of problems from alcohol abuse to alcoholism, since there is a difference.

Alcohol abuse can cause legal, financial, and relationship problems even if it only occurs once, for example.  If someone who normally doesn’t drink heavily decides to drink in celebration one night and gets arrested for driving under the influence (DUI), it could also cause problems at work and home.  While this scenario is rare, it does happen.  There are individuals who suffer alcohol related problems every day that result from a range of occasional abuse to alcohol dependence.

The alcohol screening tool by jointogether.org provides tailored information for anyone dealing with alcohol related problems in all ranges of use.  It will tell you if your problems are minor and what you can do to resolve them, or if you need to contact an alcohol treatment center immediately.  Then it provides a directory of local providers in your area.  The link below will bring you to the page so you can get started.

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles provides alcohol detox and alcohol treatment.  We specialize in treatment for mental health and substance use disorders, and have two primary medical care clinics in the San Fernando Valley and Antelope Valley.  If you or a loved one needs help with alcohol dependence, drug addiction, or co-occurring mental health disorders, please call us now at 888-777-8565 or contact us here.

Southern California Locations for Alcohol and Drug Treatment
Tarzana Treatment Centers has locations all over Southern California in Los Angeles County. Other than our central location in Tarzana, we have facilities in Lancaster in the Antelope Valley, Long Beach, and in Northridge and Reseda in the San Fernando Valley.

College Alcohol Abuse Reduction

by James Heller 7. April 2009 07:34
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

New approaches to college student alcohol abuse are being explored as new data emerges from detailed studies.  For decades, the plan was to educate and warn first year students about the dangers of heavy drinking.  While this plan tends to plant a good seed in fresh minds, it has minimal effect on the behavior of most students.  The main reason is that these young minds have not yet had to cope with the academic and social stresses that come with college life.

A recent study at Ohio State University shows evidence that a student who drinks heavily throughout college might carry that pattern into adulthood.  This makes sense because these students drink to cope with college, and alcoholics, by definition, drink in order to cope with life-in-general.  So the student learns to cope by drinking troubles away instead of learning normal coping mechanisms that come from trial and error.

This study suggests in its conclusion that focus should be placed on junior year students.  This could help identify students who have used alcohol as a coping mechanism in their first two years of college.  These students could then be directed to resources that can help them avoid future alcohol problems.  It could also open the door to alcohol treatment for students and their families, and alcohol detox if dependence has set in.

Exserpts from the study are below.  A link to the full text follows:

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – College students who are problem drinkers using alcohol to cope with personal problems and boost self-confidence are more likely to continue excessive drinking into adulthood, a recent study suggests.
The Ohio State University survey results suggest that adults who are still high-risk drinkers by age 34 may have inadvertently used alcohol to blunt the social and cognitive development that typically occurs during college, including the ability to handle alcohol.

High-risk drinkers in the survey who stopped problem drinking after college typically reduced their alcohol use during school – a sign in itself that their social development was closer to what is considered normal and on track.
If the subset of students most likely to continue problem drinking in adulthood can be identified during college, they might benefit from counseling or programming that specifically aims to lower long-term high-risk drinking, the researchers say. And the junior year might be the best time to introduce the intervention.
“We saw clear differences that, if they could be identified during college, could potentially lead to interventions that would make a difference in the long term,” said Ada Demb, associate professor of educational policy and leadership at Ohio State and senior author of the study.

Plenty of research has described the typical psychosocial and cognitive development that college students experience. Generally, development for young adults involves establishing an identity separate from parents and peers, sharpening judgment, developing interpersonal relationships and even mastering the use of alcohol.
Demb and Campbell compared the drinking survey results with typical college student development trends and found that high-risk college drinkers, depending on whether they grew out of the behavior or continued drinking into adulthood, appeared to have used alcohol for different purposes and in different quantities, which may have affected the rate of their social development during school.

Among high-risk drinkers, about 80 percent will grow out of that behavior. But 20 percent become what the researchers call “adult persistent” drinkers who maintain high-risk alcohol use well into adulthood. In this study, the results were very close to the national trend, with 78.9 percent of respondents scoring as “time limited” drinkers and 21.1 percent scoring as adult persisters whose current drinking behavior could cause them harm.

The reasons for drinking in college were strong indicators for differences between adults who grew out of problem drinking and those who persisted with high-risk alcohol use.
Adult persistent high-risk drinkers were more likely than others to use alcohol for developmental needs beyond the desire for the effect of alcohol and for help with social coping, common reasons for alcohol use among all high-risk college drinkers. The 21 percent of drinkers in the adult persistent group reported they had been more likely to use alcohol for self-confidence and to cope with personal problems during college.
“These students appeared to use alcohol to cope with or avoid developmental tasks,” Campbell said. “So then we’re asking if, in essence, they’re drinking instead of developing along other lines.”
Adult persistent drinkers also drank more alcohol during college than did the high-risk drinkers who eventually grew out of the behavior, indicating the time-limited group appeared to learn how to handle alcohol as they developed socially and cognitively while the adult persisters did not.

Many college-based alcohol intervention programs emphasize prevention and safety and are targeted toward first-year students. Demb and Campbell suggest that specialized programming for potential adult persistent drinkers would ideally focus on future consequences associated with continued excessive drinking, as well as assistance with developmental tasks such as introspective skill-building or developing social competencies outside of alcohol use.
The researchers also noted that family history of alcohol-related disease could be a strong influence on high-risk drinking behavior in college and beyond.
“I don’t think there’s a silver bullet here,” Demb said. “We’re not going to get all 20 percent of long-term high-risk drinkers with one kind of program.
“It’s also not just a college and university job to take care of all of this, but it is an opportunity. One step we can take is to equip the student affairs professionals who work with students day in and day out with more of this information so they might be more aware of differentiation of students.”

-- Source http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/adultdrink.htm --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.

College Alcohol and Sexual Assault

by James Heller 6. April 2009 14:24
April, 2009 marks the 22nd year of Alcohol Awareness Month.  

Tarzana Treatment Centers is participating with a series of articles meant to inform and educate the general public about alcohol abuse, dependence and treatment.  Considering that over 21 million Americans meet the criteria for alcohol abuse and over 53 million admit to past-month binge drinking, not to mention the many loved ones affected by each, our efforts are worthwhile.

When inhibitions fade due to alcohol consumption in college, sexual assault incidents increase according to studies.  While results vary from campus to campus, the evidence is clear that this is a true statement.  These results are also consistent with logic and common sense.

The desire for social acceptance is high with most college freshmen and sophomores.  Attending parties puts the new college student on the fast track to gaining popularity with many fellow students.  When alcoholic beverages are served at a party, all in attendance are expected to drink.  Pressure may be placed on students to drink or suffer the consequences of being barred from future parties, or simple ridicule.

Alcohol’s effect is not just on the body.  While a lack of inhibitions can be fun at first, the state of mind eventually leads the drinker to worry free behaviors, and consequences are no longer considered.

Sexual assault has many faces.  It can range from unwanted touching to violent rape.  No incident of sexual assault should be taken lightly, as everyone has a right to a sense of physical security.  Any invasion can cause emotional distress.  

Today, with technology at our fingertips, videos and pictures of unwitting victims are being posted on the internet and ruining lives.  Many victims discover that the perpetrator of their misery is someone they knew well, maybe even a friend.  Some of them have committed suicide as a direct result.  In these cases, a few hours of fun resulted in the loss of a precious life and misery for many loved ones.

The data below from the Journal of Interpersonal Violence provides one scenario of alcohol induced sexual assault on college campuses.

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Most experiences involved the consumption of alcohol (81%) and almost one-third of the offenders were well-known to their victims (all were students at the university). Relatively more unwanted touching experiences occurred during the last time period—the second year from about one month after the start of school to the middle of October—than any other time. Researchers were told by sorority members that this corresponded to the period called “pledging”, during which young (second-year) women were invited to frequent fraternity parties at which alcohol was consumed.

-- Source: http://www.azrapeprevention.org/summaries/2008/April_2008.html --

Tarzana Treatment Centers in Los Angeles makes a daily effort to find treatment news articles that we can share with our readers in the alcohol and drug treatment community.  The external content was found among other articles of equal informational and educational quality.