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Posts tagged: alcoholism education

More to Learn about the Harmful Effects of Alcohol Abuse

By , May 9, 2014 3:29 pm

May is Mental Health Month. In light of that fact, I’m posting a book review I’ve written on a booklet that is very eye-opening about the damaging effects of alcohol abuse. Let’s face it, the problem is all too common and often affects combat vets and their families.

I’ve written before of how much Toby Rice Drews, a well-respected alcoholism expert, has personally helped and enlightened me with her many books on the subject.

It continues to amaze me that most physicians continue to miss the many signs of alcoholism. That’s why it is so important to become educated on the signs and symptoms of this insidious and devastating disease. Most of us will know, and/or care about an alcoholic, sometime in our lives.

The 350 Secondary Diseases/Disorders to Alcoholism-

by Toby Rice Drews  (paperback booklet)

I’ve read most all of Toby Rice Drews books and think she is one of the most knowledgeable alcoholism experts around today.

This booklet provides vital information on the numerous diseases associated with alcoholism, and is part of Drew’s best-selling “Getting Them Sober” series of helpful, practical books that help advise families of alcoholics as well as professionals concerned with the disease of alcoholism.

In the Introduction, written by LeClair Bissell, M.D., it’s noted “When doctor and patient are working together to discover the cause of an illness, both often fail to consider that alcohol may be a major contributor.”

Unfortunately, medical schools are not preparing their students to look for the subtle signs of an early drinking problem.

Bissell warns “Since we can’t trust the professional to be well-informed, it may be left to the patient and the concerned family to question whether or not a problem exists in its own right or whether alcohol is at the root of it.”

Here are some of the listings of diseases/disorders associated with alcoholism:

• Chronic Neuropsychiatric Disorders
• Brain problems resulting from diseased liver function
• Myopathic Disorders (muscle abnormality)
• Liver and Pancreatic Disorders
• Gastrointestinal Disorders
• Respiratory System Disorders

Also noted are the many Psychiatric Disorders associated with alcoholism, such as:

• Depression
• Denial
• Anger
• Guilt
• Shame
• Sociopathy

All of the categories included have listings of the many symptoms that are indicative of said disorder. Continue reading 'More to Learn about the Harmful Effects of Alcohol Abuse'»

Another Great Book for Loved Ones of Alcoholics

By , April 18, 2014 3:01 pm

I like to share the works of experts in their field. In light of April as Alcohol Awareness Month, I’m continuing to post about this subject that affects so many millions of us, and too often our combat vets. This book is a must read for the loved ones of alcoholics in order to better understand their bizarre behavior, and its negative effects on loved ones.

 

Getting Them Sober- Volume 4 Separations and Healings

– Toby Rice Drews, Recovery Communications,  Inc.

 

I’m so grateful to have found the education about alcoholism that Toby Rice Drews provides. This book continues her excellent “Getting Them Sober” series.

In the Introduction, Drews writes:

 “If we’re in a relationship with an alcoholic, we think about leaving—for an hour, for a day, or forever. When we do think about leaving, our decision-making powers get “muddied up” by other issues. For instance, we spend hours wondering ‘if we did enough,’ or ‘if we hadn’t done such and such, would it be different?’ We spend even more time obsessing about what they’re doing and how to stop them. Not that it isn’t human to do this, but the problem is, we can’t stop ourselves from obsessing—even when we want to.”

Anyone who has loved an alcoholic can relate to this devastating dilemma. Drews has a name for living with chemical insanity. It’s called “crazymaking.” In other words, if you’re a normal person, living with alcoholism can make you “crazy.” This book explains: Continue reading 'Another Great Book for Loved Ones of Alcoholics'»

April is Alcohol Awareness Month- Myths and Realities of Alcoholism

By , April 11, 2014 10:47 am

It’s a sad, but well-known fact, that many combat veterans abuse alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate their PTSD. Today I’m reposting an article about alcoholism, in hopes that it will help educate my readers:

 

I believe it’s safe to say—all of us know an alcoholic. They may be a “hidden” alcoholic, while others are obvious. Doug Thorburn, an expert on alcoholism and addiction, has written an eye-opening book titled Alcoholism-Myths and Realities—Removing the Stigma of Society’s Most Destructive Disease.

I’ve mentioned here before that I am a huge fan of Thorburn’s work. I often revisit his books and gain new insights. In Chapter 1, he writes:

Alcoholism is the most misunderstood of all diseases. This is rather surprising, since 1 out of 10 people has this disease and we are all directly or indirectly affected. Yet the doctors and psychologists whom we trust to treat diseases and mental disorders are almost completely untrained in understanding and diagnosing the affliction.

Thorburn also notes that psychologists are schooled in the idea that childhood trauma and other negative environmental factors can cause alcoholism even though the evidence shows that such influences only shape its course.

Facts about alcoholism:

  • Secondary diseases are usually diagnosed long before alcoholism is identified, even though the latter is the root cause and primary contributing factor to at least 300 other illnesses and other disorders.
  • Emergency room medical personnel treat symptoms of addiction, including accidents, in an estimated 50 to 80% of admissions, yet rarely test for alcohol or other drugs in the system.
  • Most people balk at calling someone an alcoholic even if some of their behaviors are bizarre or destructive.
  • Epilepsy, diabetes, leprosy, tuberculosis and other diseases were attributed in past centuries to character defects such as a lack of morals or witchcraft until their true causes were identified.
  • Over one hundred years after the stigma of the last of these diseases was largely removed, those labeled as alcoholics continue to suffer disgrace.
  • Almost all with addicted family members in rehab, are ashamed. Continue reading 'April is Alcohol Awareness Month- Myths and Realities of Alcoholism'»

Check Out This Excellent Book on Drinking and Drug Abuse–by Dr. Joseph A. Pursch

By , February 8, 2014 4:06 pm

There are a number of studies that have found a connection between having PTSD and the use of alcohol in order to self-medicate distressing thoughts or feelings related to traumatic experiences.

While self-medicating with alcohol may be common, it too often brings more problems that it solves. Fortunately, we are living in times where there are great amounts of information available to us, on the insidious effects of the abuse of mind-altering chemicals.

Years ago, I became familiar with the work of Dr. Joseph A. Pursch, M.D. Back in 1968, Dr. Pursch was a luncheon speaker at an overseas officer’s club. He was booked as the Navy’s medical expert on drug abuse. His topic was “Drug Abuse Among Young Soldiers.”

Dr. Pursch found that while he was “enlightening” his audience about young soldiers getting high on marijuana and LSD, the officers themselves were getting loaded on booze. Pursch had a sudden realization. The youngsters were on pot and pills, and their bosses were on booze and beer!

Pursch notes that from that day on it was easy for him to see “the big chemical picture.” This well-known and respected psychiatrist is now one of the most notable addiction specialists around.

His book “Dear Doc” has helped me immensely and I’m posting a review here in order to sing his praises and share his knowledge. It’s a classic and phenomenal work on alcoholism and drug abuse.

Dear Doc…The Noted Authority answers your questions on drinking and drugs

—Dr. Joseph Pursch

This book is an absolute must for anyone needing to understand the complexities of alcoholism. Dr. Joseph A. Pursch, a psychiatrist, is a nationally recognized leader in the field of alcohol and drug abuse.

He has treated many well-known figures such as Betty Ford, Billy Carter, astronaut Buzz Aldrin, and thousands of others, both famous and not-so-famous. Dr. Pursch also has achieved an impressive military career, serving as a Navy flight surgeon, as well as becoming the director of the Alcohol Rehabilitation Service at the Navy’s Regional Medical Center in Long Beach, California.

The question and answer format of the book is very effective in helping educate the reader on the many aspects of the disease and how it affects family members, as well as those who come in contact with people suffering from addiction to booze or other chemicals.

In the Introduction, Pursch writes, “What’s a nice person like you doing with a book like this? Chances are you don’t have an alcohol or drug problem yourself, but you know somebody who does. You probably want to learn more about it, or maybe even do something about it.”

This book answers the question “When does “normal” use end and alcohol and drug abuse begin? On p. 10, the author observes our American way of drinking:

 “We drink when we hear good news, when we hear bad news, when we go off to war, to celebrate peace, to commemorate a birth or mourn a death. We drink at birthdays, reunions, Christmas, Halloween, and New Year’s Eve. Drinking goes with courting (“Candy is dandy but liquor is quicker,” said Ogden Nash), with engagements, marriages, anniversaries, and nowadays, even with divorces.”

While the problem is pervasive, Dr. Pursch offers hope and encouragement that with the proper help, recovery is possible . Continue reading 'Check Out This Excellent Book on Drinking and Drug Abuse–by Dr. Joseph A. Pursch'»

Here’s a Great Book for Those Who Love an Alcoholic

By , December 2, 2013 8:14 pm

As we are approaching the season of holiday parties and often, too much excessive drinking, I’m posting this book review I’ve recently written.

I believe it is one of the best books out there that describes the effects on the family, when living with an alcoholic.

Beyond the Booze Battle–by Ruth Maxwell

Brilliant- A Phenomenal Help for Educating Loved Ones of Alcoholics

I first learned of this book while attending a treatment center that gave lectures on alcoholism and its effects on family members of an alcoholic. What an eye-opener it is!

It certainly gave me great insights into the true nature of the disease and how terribly it affects the emotional and mental states of those who live with, and love an alcoholic/ drug addict.

The first chapter is titled “You’re Not Crazy.” Maxwell writes, “If you are living with someone who is harmfully involved with alcohol or drugs, you may be questioning your own sanity. You’re not crazy. You may feel shattered, but you are not crazy.”

What a relief it is to hear this from a professional like Ruth Maxell, who is a renowned therapist dealing with chemical dependency and all of its destructive elements. Continue reading 'Here’s a Great Book for Those Who Love an Alcoholic'»

Here’s a List of More Great PTSD-Related Books

By , July 5, 2013 12:04 pm

As I wrote in my last post, here are more excellent books for understanding PTSD and its related isssues:

Haunted by Combat: Understanding PTSD in War Veterans Including Women, Reservists, and Those Coming Back from Iraq. Stanley Krippner, Ph.D. & Daryl S. Paulson. (Praeger Security International, 2007).

Hope for the Homefront: Winning the Emotional and Spiritual Battles of the Military Wife. Marshele Carter Waddell. (New Hope Publishing, 2006).

How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics- Using Behavioral Clues to Recognize Addiction in its Early Stages.Doug Thorburn. (Galt Publishing, 2004).

Military Veterans Reference Manual. I.S. Parrish. (Infinity Publishing, 1999).

Moving a Nation to Care: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and America’s Returning Troops. Ilona Meagher & Robert Roerich. (Ig Publishing, 2007).

Nam Vet: Making Peace with Your Past. Chuck Dean. (Wordsmith Publishing, 2000).

Overcoming Anxiety for Dummies. Charles H. Elliot, Laura L. Smith, and Aaron T. Beck. (Wiley Publishing, 2005).

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for Dummies. Mark Goulston, M.D. (Wiley Publishing, Inc., 2008).

Recovering from the War: A Guide for All Veterans, Family Members, Friends and Therapists. Patience Mason (Patience Press, 1998)

The Body Remembers: The Psychophysiology of Trauma and Trauma Treatment. Babette Rothschild. (W.W. Norton, 2000).

The Post-Traumatic Gazette (www.patiencepress.com/ptg.html) An outstanding publication that offers articles for people with PTSD after any type of trauma. Some issues of her newsletter are available online, free of charge, others for a small fee.

To order, visit website, or call 877-PATIENCE (877-728-4362 or 386-462-7210. Continue reading 'Here’s a List of More Great PTSD-Related Books'»

Here are Some Excellent Books About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

By , June 14, 2013 8:04 pm

Here are some of the books I highly recommend for learning about PTSD and related issues. I’m posting a partial list today, with more to come soon.

 

Addiction and Recovery for Dummies. Brian Shaw, Paul Ritvo, Jane Irvine, and M. David Lewis. (Wiley Publishing, 2004)

After the War Zone: A Guide for Returning Troops and Their Families. Laurie B. Slone & Matthew Friedman, MD, Ph.D. (Lifelong Books, 2008).

An Operator’s Manual for Combat PTSD: Essays for Coping. Ashley Hart(Writer’s Showcase,2000).

Anxiety and Depression Workbook for Dummies. Charles H. Elliot, Laura L. Smith, and Aaron Beck. (Wiley Publishing, 2005).

Back from the Front- Combat Trauma, Love, and the Family. Aphrodite Matsakis. (Sidran Institute Press, 2007). Continue reading 'Here are Some Excellent Books About Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder'»

A Surprising Fact About The Co-Alcoholic Spouse

By , April 26, 2013 3:09 pm

Doug Thorburn’s enlightening book How to Spot Hidden Alcoholics-Using Behavioral  Clues to Recognize Addiction in its Early Stages, provides some information that is quite astounding.

In the Introduction, he asserts that “One of the surprising things about alcoholism is how little most experts know. The main problem is that the definition they have agreed upon fails to describe the affliction in its early-stages. As a result, the current practice of identifying alcoholism is comparable to waiting until tumors become the size of basketballs before diagnosing cancer.”

When I reflect on my own personal experience with loved ones and friends, I can see how true it is. Too many people I’ve known and cared for have suffered this very sad, yet predictable fate. Some of them were combat vets and too young to have to die from this treatable disease.

We’re losing many of our returning Iraq and Afghanistan combat vets to this miserable illness, as well as our Vietnam vets, Gulf War, WWII; the list goes on and on.

Another tragic fact about alcoholism is found in Part III, titled “Middle-Stage or Polydrug Clues (pg.83.) The author notes “Although displaying multiple symptoms of early-stage alcoholism, most alcoholics are not identified as such until well into the progression of the disease.

Father Joseph Martin suggests that it can take about nine years on average for a spouse to begin tentatively diagnosing alcoholism in the other spouse. It probably takes another ten or twenty years for the non-alcoholic spouse to share suspicions with outsiders. No one is served by keeping the family secrets, yet the stigma of alcoholism precludes discussion, without which a confirmed diagnosis may be impossible.”  Continue reading 'A Surprising Fact About The Co-Alcoholic Spouse'»

Some Interesting Insights on PTSD, Alcohol Abuse and Veterans

By , April 12, 2013 5:45 pm

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. Here are some statistics from the excellent book Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder for Dummies that might seem surprising. They also shed light on the link between substance abuse issues and PTSD.

  • Thirty to 60 percent of people seeking treatment for substance abuse problems also have PTSD.
  • People with severe PTSD symptoms are at greater risk for substance abuse problems than people with mild PTSD symptoms, indicating that drugs and alcohol are used as self-medication.
  • Between 60 and 80 percent of Vietnam veterans seeking treatment for PTSD also have alcohol problems.

It may be hard to believe, but 18 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder!!

As someone who has spent a lot of time in Al-Anon and Open AA meetings, I have seen the amazing results that can come when one is open to learning about what alcoholism is, and how it affects lives.

I’ve seen people come back from the pit of hell and been awed by how they were able to turn their lives around into living a sane and productive life.

I’ve also known those who have refused to change, and paid a tremendous price; not only financially, but by death and lost relationships.

Today, there is a tremendous wealth of knowledge on addiction in its many forms. There are so many great resources available too, if one is open to becoming educated. I’ll be writing more on this important subject throughout the month. Stay tuned.

Here are a few great websites to check out on the subject:

To help determine a drinking problem, a test is available from Alcoholscreening.org (www.alcoholscreening.org) a service of Boston University’s School of Public Health.

Narcotics Anonymous offers a self-quiz that can give you insight into how drug use is affecting your life. Visit www.na.org/ips/an/an-IP7.htm and click on “Am I an Addict?”

 

 

 

 

 

April is Alcohol Awareness Month- Myths and Realities of Alcoholism

By , April 18, 2012 12:53 pm

I believe it’s safe to say—all of us know an alcoholic. They may be a “hidden” alcoholic, or their affliction may be obvious. Doug Thorburn, an expert on alcoholism and addiction, has written an eye-opening book titled Alcoholism-Myths and Realities—Removing the Stigma of Society’s Most Destructive Disease.

I’ve mentioned here before that I am a huge fan of Thorburn’s work. I often revisit his books and gain new insights. In Chapter 1, he writes:

Alcoholism is the most misunderstood of all diseases. This is rather surprising, since 1 out of 10 people has this disease and we are all directly or indirectly affected. Yet the doctors and psychologists whom we trust to treat diseases and mental disorders are almost completely untrained in understanding and diagnosing the affliction.

Thorburn also notes that psychologists are schooled in the idea that childhood trauma and other negative environmental factors can cause alcoholism even though the evidence shows that such influences only shape its course.

Facts about alcoholism:

  • Secondary diseases are usually diagnosed long before alcoholism is identified, even though the latter is the root cause and primary contributing factor to at least 300 other illnesses and other disorders.
  • Emergency room medical personnel treat symptoms of addiction, including accidents, in an estimated 50 to 80% of admissions, yet rarely test for alcohol or other drugs in the system.
  • Most people balk at calling someone an alcoholic even if some of their behaviors are bizarre or destructive.
  • Epilepsy, diabetes, leprosy, tuberculosis and other diseases were attributed in past centuries to character defects such as a lack of morals or witchcraft until their true causes were indentified.
  • Over one hundred years after the stigma of the last of these diseases was largely removed, those labeled as alcoholics continue to suffer disgrace.
  • Almost all those who have addicted family members in rehab, are ashamed.

When you think about these things, it’s pretty evident that we, as a society, are really failing those who are addicted and are suffering from alcoholism. I believe the only way attitudes will change, is with a massive movement on education. I’ve found all of Thorburn’s books to be outstanding.

For more information, go to Doug Thorburn’s websites:

http://www.AlcoholismMythsandRealities.com

http://www.preventragedy.com

 

 

 

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