Naltrexone proven beneficial for people with a genetic history of alcoholism…for others, not so much

There are four drugs currently FDA approved for the treatment of alcoholism, and of those four, naltrexone and acamprosate are the most commonly prescribed. A recent multi disciplinary study sponsored by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Addiction, The COMBINE study, has shown that naltrexone does influence a small but still significant betterment in relapse rates, but acamprosate was ineffective.

But researchers out of the Yale University School of Medicine say that such a gross understanding of the effectiveness of the drugs is actually misleading, and to truly use these drugs effectively, we need to have a better understanding of how well they work on distinct subgroups of alcoholics.

In controlled laboratory studies, the Yale researchers examined the comparative effectiveness of Naltrexone on two distinct subgroups of alcoholics, those with a family history of the disease, and those without a genetic background of alcoholism. The drinking levels of the two groups were compared on a number of different dosage strength of naltrexone.

It works for some…a disaster for others

The researchers were pleased to see that naltrexone did have significant betterment effect on the hereditary alcoholics, and the higher the dose given, the less these alcoholics drank. Contrarily, the drug did not work for those without a family history of alcoholism, and when given in higher does, these alcoholics even drank more!

The study leaders conclude that naltrexone may have more value than limited success rates calculated from large field trials may indicate, and with a better understanding of the effects of the drug on different sub groups of alcoholics, the drug may be prescribed in a more targeted and more effective manner.

More research is clearly needed

Hopefully, as researchers gain a broader understanding of the different manifestations of subgroups of alcoholic use, treatments in general will evolve to better match the needs of the individual alcoholics. The results of the study indicate a promising role for naltrexone, and it’s obviously very beneficial to know that when prescribed to non hereditary alcoholics, it seems to worsen the problem! The study further indicates how powerfully influential the genetic component to alcoholism is, and although still poorly understood, many of the secrets to effective treatments may well emerge as scientists better understand the genetic predisposition to alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

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There are four drugs currently FDA approved for the treatment of alcoholism, and of those four, naltrexone and acamprosate are the most commonly prescribed. A recent multi disciplinary study sponsored by the National Institute on Alcoholism and Addiction, The COMBINE study, has shown that naltrexone does influence a small but still significant betterment in relapse rates, but acamprosate was ineffective.

But researchers out of the Yale University School of Medicine say that such a gross understanding of the effectiveness of the drugs is actually misleading, and to truly use these drugs effectively, we need to have a better understanding of how well they work on distinct subgroups of alcoholics.

In controlled laboratory studies, the Yale researchers examined the comparative effectiveness of Naltrexone on two distinct subgroups of alcoholics, those with a family history of the disease, and those without a genetic background of alcoholism. The drinking levels of the two groups were compared on a number of different dosage strength of naltrexone.

It works for some…a disaster for others

The researchers were pleased to see that naltrexone did have significant betterment effect on the hereditary alcoholics, and the higher the dose given, the less these alcoholics drank. Contrarily, the drug did not work for those without a family history of alcoholism, and when given in higher does, these alcoholics even drank more!

The study leaders conclude that naltrexone may have more value than limited success rates calculated from large field trials may indicate, and with a better understanding of the effects of the drug on different sub groups of alcoholics, the drug may be prescribed in a more targeted and more effective manner.

More research is clearly needed

Hopefully, as researchers gain a broader understanding of the different manifestations of subgroups of alcoholic use, treatments in general will evolve to better match the needs of the individual alcoholics. The results of the study indicate a promising role for naltrexone, and it’s obviously very beneficial to know that when prescribed to non hereditary alcoholics, it seems to worsen the problem! The study further indicates how powerfully influential the genetic component to alcoholism is, and although still poorly understood, many of the secrets to effective treatments may well emerge as scientists better understand the genetic predisposition to alcohol abuse and alcoholism.

What’s Detox Like in a Christian Rehab?

I get asked this question a lot, and it used to surprise me until I realized how little a lot of people knew about how a Christian drug or alcohol rehab really operates. Christian drug and alcohol rehabs run a spirituality based program in which an addiction is considered a malady of the body, of the mind, but most importantly of the soul; and treatments for best effect need to tackle the unique issues of all three areas of our being.

Christian rehabs emphasize the power and wisdom of God’s love throughout recovery; and through a study of the scriptures, recovering addicts are grounded in timeless wisdom and learn how their problems are the problems of the ages. Through study of the bible, Christians in recovery gain a powerful work of long term reference against temptation and abuse.

Why pray to a "higher power" when you can pray to Jesus Christ?

Actively praying together also feels a lot more natural to Christians than praying to some obscure "higher power" as in AA based programs. And through individual prayer and meditation with Jesus Christ, and through shared prayer sessions with other addicts in recovery, we take some of the strength offered by God as our own, and ask Him to lead us into better lives of service, and away from the harms of a drug or alcohol abuse. Healing the spirit is the true way out of addiction and the only way to a lasting peace and better life of sobriety, but the realities of the body and mind cannot either be ignored, and Christian rehab never abandons what has proven effective from secular rehabs, and never abandons norms of medical science in the treatment care of participants.

A Christian detox is just like any other form of detox…

So a Christian detox runs a lot like any other form of detox. The Lord gave us doctors and medications for a reason, and we would be foolish to risk our health by ignoring His gifts. Detox occurs under the supervision of medical personnel, and all available medications and medical care are used to ensure that detox progresses as safely and as comfortably as possible. Other therapies are used, and you’ll see the latest addiction and therapeutic science applied in a Christian Rehab as you’ll find it in a secular facility. But while most rehabs leave treatment at the body and mind, only Christian rehab heals the area of our being that needs the most help and assistance towards a better life of sobriety, and a lasting peace in the service of family, of Church and of the Lord.

Christian rehabs are available throughout the Nation and the world, they are as safe and medically sound as any other form of rehab, and only a Christian rehab offers the guidance and love of Jesus Christ to addicts so desperately in need of the strength of the Lord.

I get asked this question a lot, and it used to surprise me until I realized how little a lot of people knew about how a Christian drug or alcohol rehab really operates. Christian drug and alcohol rehabs run a spirituality based program in which an addiction is considered a malady of the body, of the mind, but most importantly of the soul; and treatments for best effect need to tackle the unique issues of all three areas of our being.

Christian rehabs emphasize the power and wisdom of God’s love throughout recovery; and through a study of the scriptures, recovering addicts are grounded in timeless wisdom and learn how their problems are the problems of the ages. Through study of the bible, Christians in recovery gain a powerful work of long term reference against temptation and abuse.

Why pray to a "higher power" when you can pray to Jesus Christ?

Actively praying together also feels a lot more natural to Christians than praying to some obscure "higher power" as in AA based programs. And through individual prayer and meditation with Jesus Christ, and through shared prayer sessions with other addicts in recovery, we take some of the strength offered by God as our own, and ask Him to lead us into better lives of service, and away from the harms of a drug or alcohol abuse. Healing the spirit is the true way out of addiction and the only way to a lasting peace and better life of sobriety, but the realities of the body and mind cannot either be ignored, and Christian rehab never abandons what has proven effective from secular rehabs, and never abandons norms of medical science in the treatment care of participants.

A Christian detox is just like any other form of detox…

So a Christian detox runs a lot like any other form of detox. The Lord gave us doctors and medications for a reason, and we would be foolish to risk our health by ignoring His gifts. Detox occurs under the supervision of medical personnel, and all available medications and medical care are used to ensure that detox progresses as safely and as comfortably as possible. Other therapies are used, and you’ll see the latest addiction and therapeutic science applied in a Christian Rehab as you’ll find it in a secular facility. But while most rehabs leave treatment at the body and mind, only Christian rehab heals the area of our being that needs the most help and assistance towards a better life of sobriety, and a lasting peace in the service of family, of Church and of the Lord.

Christian rehabs are available throughout the Nation and the world, they are as safe and medically sound as any other form of rehab, and only a Christian rehab offers the guidance and love of Jesus Christ to addicts so desperately in need of the strength of the Lord.

Pharmaceutical companies are making millions on the sale of unapproved drugs

As much as the pharmaceutical companies might argue for greater self regulation as a way to streamline the approvals process and reduce the expense to the consumer (while creating greater profits as well) certain unsettling reports about the industry as a whole should raise serious questions about the industry’s ability to self regulate.

Most notoriously of recent months is the oxycontin settlement, where executives in the company were found guilty of misleading doctors and the general public about the dependency risk of oxycontin, and just last night on CNN was another report about troubling drug company practices.

Apparently, there are massive quantities of medications sold throughout the country everyday that have not yet been approved by the FDA as safe, and some of these drugs have been on the market, consumed and available for some time.

How can this happen?

Through the FDA drug approval process, when drugs apply to begin testing for approval, they are issued a 10 digit tracking number. Problematically, this same 10 digit number is used by pharmacists selling the drug, whether or not they have been approved. What has happened is that doctors and pharmacists mistakenly believe that since the drug has the FDA number and is available for sale, that it has passed FDA testing as safe; when this is too often not the case.

A knowing disregard of the law

But although doctors and pharmacists may claim legitimate ignorance, obviously the manufacturers of the drugs are well aware of the status of each and every drug they market, and well aware that they are selling what is reported to be over 65 million filled prescriptions worth of these illegal drugs each year. Obviously this is not the FDA’s finest moment either, but the fact that pharmaceutical companies are knowingly exploiting a previous lack in enforcement on the sale of unapproved drugs for profit is shameless, and seriously damages their credibility as a self regulating industry.

Prescription drugs currently contribute to a massive abuse and addiction problem, and we may need to tighten regulation and control ever further on the production and sale of drugs, and obviously those in a position to profit from the sale of these drugs cannot be relied on to act ethically, or with the best interests of the public in mind. The money to be made in the pharmaceutical industry is enormous, and while the vast majority in the industry are likely conscientious and moral people, there are obviously enough that will engage in questionable practices–risking the safety of consumers–that the industry as a whole cannot be trusted to act with integrity.

As much as the pharmaceutical companies might argue for greater self regulation as a way to streamline the approvals process and reduce the expense to the consumer (while creating greater profits as well) certain unsettling reports about the industry as a whole should raise serious questions about the industry’s ability to self regulate.

Most notoriously of recent months is the oxycontin settlement, where executives in the company were found guilty of misleading doctors and the general public about the dependency risk of oxycontin, and just last night on CNN was another report about troubling drug company practices.

Apparently, there are massive quantities of medications sold throughout the country everyday that have not yet been approved by the FDA as safe, and some of these drugs have been on the market, consumed and available for some time.

How can this happen?

Through the FDA drug approval process, when drugs apply to begin testing for approval, they are issued a 10 digit tracking number. Problematically, this same 10 digit number is used by pharmacists selling the drug, whether or not they have been approved. What has happened is that doctors and pharmacists mistakenly believe that since the drug has the FDA number and is available for sale, that it has passed FDA testing as safe; when this is too often not the case.

A knowing disregard of the law

But although doctors and pharmacists may claim legitimate ignorance, obviously the manufacturers of the drugs are well aware of the status of each and every drug they market, and well aware that they are selling what is reported to be over 65 million filled prescriptions worth of these illegal drugs each year. Obviously this is not the FDA’s finest moment either, but the fact that pharmaceutical companies are knowingly exploiting a previous lack in enforcement on the sale of unapproved drugs for profit is shameless, and seriously damages their credibility as a self regulating industry.

Prescription drugs currently contribute to a massive abuse and addiction problem, and we may need to tighten regulation and control ever further on the production and sale of drugs, and obviously those in a position to profit from the sale of these drugs cannot be relied on to act ethically, or with the best interests of the public in mind. The money to be made in the pharmaceutical industry is enormous, and while the vast majority in the industry are likely conscientious and moral people, there are obviously enough that will engage in questionable practices–risking the safety of consumers–that the industry as a whole cannot be trusted to act with integrity.

The Dangers of Alcohol Advertising, and What We Can Do About It

There is no doubt that alcohol marketing campaigns work, and beer and spirits companies would unlikely invest billions of annual dollars in intensive print and TV campaigns if they didn’t reap dividends. These same companies can (as far as I’m concerned) argue until they’re blue in the face that they advertise solely for market share and brand awareness, and while this motivation undoubtedly exists; they also advertise heavily as a recruitment tool, and to convince every emerging generation of prospective consumers about just how cool, handsome, beautiful, athletic and sexy alcohol can make you.

I mean, just how much does a television commercial of bikini clad women and rippled torsoed men enjoying an (intoxicated?) beach volley ball game tell us about the taste of a drink?

Alcohol advertising leans heavily on subliminal implications that using alcohol makes life more fun, and those people that use it live somehow more charmed lives than those that don’t. And those subliminal messages do seem to hit home with the consumers that beer and liquor companies’ value most…teens soon to join the legal market, and very likely already consuming. High school students, who were heavily exposed to beer or liquor advertisements when polled about the attributes of people who used alcohol, responded that drinkers were more likely to be attractive, wealthy and successful than non drinkers…which is surely far removed from any kind of reality. High school kids also responded that viewing beer or liquor ads made them want to try drinking, and 77% of parents polled believed that alcohol advertising was significantly influential in their children’s lives.

So what’s the answer?

There are two fundamental answers to advertising that encourages the use of a dangerous and harmful (but legal) drug. The first is to greatly reduce or even ban the marketing of alcohol, and the second is to mandate or fund a heavy campaign of counter advertisements. An alcohol counter advertisement is a public service ad that counters the promotional nature of a marketing spot with sobering and accurate information the dangers of alcohol, the health risks of drinking, or the societal costs of alcohol abuse. The intent is to create a more balanced and accurate perception of the dangers versus the pleasures of using alcohol.

Experts agree that counter advertisements work, and counter advertisements used against tobacco usage have proven effective. While the will exists to create and display the ads, the barrier is money, and all public service groups combined command nothing close to the advertising budget of even a single massive brewery. The National Alcohol Tax Coalition has the answer to that problem though, and they estimate that by raising the price of a single drink by only a dime, more than 4 billion dollars a year could be raised to fund effective and accurate public service alcohol counter advertising campaigns.

I don’t believe that prohibition is ever the answer, and I’m not even sure that companies selling a still legal product should be denied the right to market their wares; but due to the massive societal destruction wreaked by alcohol, I do believe that these alcohol promotions cannot be allowed to go unanswered. We need to make sure that kids and teens are getting a balanced and accurate picture of the realities of alcohol use.

Write to your State and Federal elected officials and demand that for every Bud ad, we get a grieving mother after a drunk driving fatality, and that for every beer beach party spot we also learn about the dangers of alcohol and brain damage.

There is no doubt that alcohol marketing campaigns work, and beer and spirits companies would unlikely invest billions of annual dollars in intensive print and TV campaigns if they didn’t reap dividends. These same companies can (as far as I’m concerned) argue until they’re blue in the face that they advertise solely for market share and brand awareness, and while this motivation undoubtedly exists; they also advertise heavily as a recruitment tool, and to convince every emerging generation of prospective consumers about just how cool, handsome, beautiful, athletic and sexy alcohol can make you.

I mean, just how much does a television commercial of bikini clad women and rippled torsoed men enjoying an (intoxicated?) beach volley ball game tell us about the taste of a drink?

Alcohol advertising leans heavily on subliminal implications that using alcohol makes life more fun, and those people that use it live somehow more charmed lives than those that don’t. And those subliminal messages do seem to hit home with the consumers that beer and liquor companies’ value most…teens soon to join the legal market, and very likely already consuming. High school students, who were heavily exposed to beer or liquor advertisements when polled about the attributes of people who used alcohol, responded that drinkers were more likely to be attractive, wealthy and successful than non drinkers…which is surely far removed from any kind of reality. High school kids also responded that viewing beer or liquor ads made them want to try drinking, and 77% of parents polled believed that alcohol advertising was significantly influential in their children’s lives.

So what’s the answer?

There are two fundamental answers to advertising that encourages the use of a dangerous and harmful (but legal) drug. The first is to greatly reduce or even ban the marketing of alcohol, and the second is to mandate or fund a heavy campaign of counter advertisements. An alcohol counter advertisement is a public service ad that counters the promotional nature of a marketing spot with sobering and accurate information the dangers of alcohol, the health risks of drinking, or the societal costs of alcohol abuse. The intent is to create a more balanced and accurate perception of the dangers versus the pleasures of using alcohol.

Experts agree that counter advertisements work, and counter advertisements used against tobacco usage have proven effective. While the will exists to create and display the ads, the barrier is money, and all public service groups combined command nothing close to the advertising budget of even a single massive brewery. The National Alcohol Tax Coalition has the answer to that problem though, and they estimate that by raising the price of a single drink by only a dime, more than 4 billion dollars a year could be raised to fund effective and accurate public service alcohol counter advertising campaigns.

I don’t believe that prohibition is ever the answer, and I’m not even sure that companies selling a still legal product should be denied the right to market their wares; but due to the massive societal destruction wreaked by alcohol, I do believe that these alcohol promotions cannot be allowed to go unanswered. We need to make sure that kids and teens are getting a balanced and accurate picture of the realities of alcohol use.

Write to your State and Federal elected officials and demand that for every Bud ad, we get a grieving mother after a drunk driving fatality, and that for every beer beach party spot we also learn about the dangers of alcohol and brain damage.

Alcoholism Is Causing Brain Damage Earlier Than Ever Before Realized

Long term heavy drinking may be doing even more damage to brain functions than previously realized.

Addictions professionals and medical personnel have long witnessed the cognitive deficits and even premature dementia induced by years of chronic and heavy drinking, and no one disputes the harm that alcohol does to the mind. Magnetic imaging and autopsy testing has also clearly shown evidence of significant cell death, brain shrinkage, and structural damage in the brains of people who had lived with years of heavy abuse; but new research out of Japan indicates that permanent brain damage may be occurring even in those people who have yet to exhibit any signs of diminished cognitive functioning, or show any physcial or structural changes in the brain.

Researchers out of Keio University compared recovering alcoholics showing no signs of cognitive deficits and with no apparent brain damage, and with an average period of abstinence of 40 months; with a population of never alcohol dependent people. Using brain imaging techniques, and observing blood flow during a mental matching task, the researchers found that key areas of the recovering alcoholic’s brains (including the pre frontal cortex) were receiving less blood during the task than in the brains of the "normal" group of study participants.

The concern is that people yet to show any obvious signs of mental decline, nor exhibit any forms of structural damage (and as such unaware of any neural problems) are in fact sustaining damage and a reduction in mental potential. Essentially, damage is occurring, but people drinking have yet to really notice the damage, and standard diagnostic testing will not spot any physical damage. These latent lesions, as the researchers call them are likely the first stage of alcohol induced brain damage, and since alcoholics don’t realize that they are occurring, they don’t induce people to get help for their drinking. These brain deficits cannot induce sobriety (because people are yet to be aware of the problem) and yet they are only getting worse with time and further abuse.

Heavy drinking is causing brain damage earlier than anyone had ever realized. If you’re drinking heavily, you need to consider treatment help to minimize any potential of neural damage and cognitive declines.

Long term heavy drinking may be doing even more damage to brain functions than previously realized.

Addictions professionals and medical personnel have long witnessed the cognitive deficits and even premature dementia induced by years of chronic and heavy drinking, and no one disputes the harm that alcohol does to the mind. Magnetic imaging and autopsy testing has also clearly shown evidence of significant cell death, brain shrinkage, and structural damage in the brains of people who had lived with years of heavy abuse; but new research out of Japan indicates that permanent brain damage may be occurring even in those people who have yet to exhibit any signs of diminished cognitive functioning, or show any physcial or structural changes in the brain.

Researchers out of Keio University compared recovering alcoholics showing no signs of cognitive deficits and with no apparent brain damage, and with an average period of abstinence of 40 months; with a population of never alcohol dependent people. Using brain imaging techniques, and observing blood flow during a mental matching task, the researchers found that key areas of the recovering alcoholic’s brains (including the pre frontal cortex) were receiving less blood during the task than in the brains of the "normal" group of study participants.

The concern is that people yet to show any obvious signs of mental decline, nor exhibit any forms of structural damage (and as such unaware of any neural problems) are in fact sustaining damage and a reduction in mental potential. Essentially, damage is occurring, but people drinking have yet to really notice the damage, and standard diagnostic testing will not spot any physical damage. These latent lesions, as the researchers call them are likely the first stage of alcohol induced brain damage, and since alcoholics don’t realize that they are occurring, they don’t induce people to get help for their drinking. These brain deficits cannot induce sobriety (because people are yet to be aware of the problem) and yet they are only getting worse with time and further abuse.

Heavy drinking is causing brain damage earlier than anyone had ever realized. If you’re drinking heavily, you need to consider treatment help to minimize any potential of neural damage and cognitive declines.

Teens experimenting with harder drugs are 3 times as likely to have suicidal thoughts

Teens that use drugs other than marijuana are three times as likely to have suicidal thoughts…and only about a third of teens at risk for suicide receive any preventative counseling.

Revealing statistics by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) show that although we know that the best way to lessen the prevalence of suicide is through early intervention and counseling, we are failing to intervene with the vast majority of at risk kids.

Additionally, we also know that those kids who use drugs other than marijuana are three times as likely (29% as versus 10% for non drug using kids) to have suicidal thoughts. Also disturbing is that the vast majority of kids who do eventually get preventative therapy for suicidal ideations receive this treatment only after an unsuccessful suicide attempt or voiced suicidal thoughts.

Although we aren’t doing a great job recognizing and intervening in the lives of at risk kids, nobody really has any concrete ideas or plans for doing better; and any attempts at bettering our track record of intervention surely have to begin in the home, and with the only people who have much real influence over at risk teens…their parents.

A wake up call for parents

Parents who catch their kids using illicit drugs need to understand the accompanying risks associated with drug seeking behaviors, and recognize that almost 3 in 10 teens that are using drugs are at risk for suicide. Parents need to stay involved and vigilant in the lives and behaviors of teens prone to experimentation, and be ready to take appropriate action should teens exhibit drug seeking behaviors.

Don’t take a chance…get professional help!

Substance abuse is always best caught as early as possible, and in the early stages very low intensity therapy or treatment can have great effects. Another compelling reason for catching substance abuse at the earliest possible opportunity is to identify kids at risk for suicidal thoughts…and some professional involvement may be advisable when kids are experimenting with drugs other than marijuana. Although most kids experimenting with harder drugs do not have suicidal thoughts, enough do that early drug experimentation must be a call to preventative action and possibly professional intervention.

 

Teens that use drugs other than marijuana are three times as likely to have suicidal thoughts…and only about a third of teens at risk for suicide receive any preventative counseling.

Revealing statistics by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse (NHSDA) show that although we know that the best way to lessen the prevalence of suicide is through early intervention and counseling, we are failing to intervene with the vast majority of at risk kids.

Additionally, we also know that those kids who use drugs other than marijuana are three times as likely (29% as versus 10% for non drug using kids) to have suicidal thoughts. Also disturbing is that the vast majority of kids who do eventually get preventative therapy for suicidal ideations receive this treatment only after an unsuccessful suicide attempt or voiced suicidal thoughts.

Although we aren’t doing a great job recognizing and intervening in the lives of at risk kids, nobody really has any concrete ideas or plans for doing better; and any attempts at bettering our track record of intervention surely have to begin in the home, and with the only people who have much real influence over at risk teens…their parents.

A wake up call for parents

Parents who catch their kids using illicit drugs need to understand the accompanying risks associated with drug seeking behaviors, and recognize that almost 3 in 10 teens that are using drugs are at risk for suicide. Parents need to stay involved and vigilant in the lives and behaviors of teens prone to experimentation, and be ready to take appropriate action should teens exhibit drug seeking behaviors.

Don’t take a chance…get professional help!

Substance abuse is always best caught as early as possible, and in the early stages very low intensity therapy or treatment can have great effects. Another compelling reason for catching substance abuse at the earliest possible opportunity is to identify kids at risk for suicidal thoughts…and some professional involvement may be advisable when kids are experimenting with drugs other than marijuana. Although most kids experimenting with harder drugs do not have suicidal thoughts, enough do that early drug experimentation must be a call to preventative action and possibly professional intervention.

 

175 000 Americans avoid alcohol treatment each year because of the stigma of recovery

We as a society are really doing a terrible job helping people overcome alcohol abuse or alcoholism.

Recognized as a disease by the AMA, treatment coverage remains severely limited by most insurance providers, and the high costs of treatment deter hundreds of thousands of people a year, wanting treatment, but unable or unwilling to foot the bill. Even more disturbingly, an incredible number of people who recognize the need for treatment, and who are not unwilling to seek out and even pay for treatment, cite the fear of social repercussions and stigma as a major factor deterring them from initiating treatment.

Here is the breakdown

  • 18.6 million Americans have an alcohol abuse problem or dependency
  • A mere 8% of these people gets treatment each year
  • 4.5% of these people recognize a need for treatment, but for a number of reasons don’t get it…and of these 4.5% (which works out to well over 700 000 people)

24% say a major reason why they don’t get treatment is the fear of social stigma.

So about 175 000 Americans, who recognize that they have a problem and want help don’t get it out of a fear of social or professional repercussions. They would rather continue to be alcoholics, than get better and become labeled as recovering alcoholics…which is a dismal appraisal by hundreds of thousands on the true mood of tolerance within our country. No one would ever avoid chemotherapy for fear of being labeled a cancer survivor!!!

Although alcoholism is recognized as a disease, we continue to treat people afflicted with the condition as social pariahs, who could choose not to drink, but through a lack of willpower, loose morals or sheer self indulgence, just won’t stop drinking. That anyone would choose the heartbreak, ravaged health, and family pain of alcoholism belies belief, but through extension of popular logic, alcoholics must therefore choose these accompanying destructions.

And I wish I could say that those alcoholics that make the decision to avoid treatment out of fear of social repercussions are crazy or paranoid…but I don’t believe that, and although I don’t believe that any price is worthy of the continuing destruction of active alcoholism, there most undoubtedly is a stigma attached to alcohol recovery, and people will pay a social cost for getting treatment.

Never overt, the subtle repercussions’ endure for years after successful abstinence. Whether it’s being continually passed over for deserved promotion, never being invited to coach little league or enduring the chilly civility of neighbors, the costs are not imagined. As a recovering alcoholic, and someone who has participated in treatment and has always been open about my disease; I have felt the discrimination of the ignorant and the uninformed. I never regret having sought treatment, but neither am I naïve any longer about the true attitudes of too many in our country.

Alcoholism is a disease!!!

We need people to understand this, and understand that by continuing this subtle discrimination of recovering alcoholics they propagate the condition. Alcoholism inflicts a heavy price on society and all of us are affected, and by perpetuating myths and stereotypes we all make the problem worse. We contribute to more DUIs, more family abuse and more early deaths. Any time anyone discriminates against or belittles a recovering alcoholic or the disease in general, there may be a still drinking alcoholic within earshot, realizing the price they’ll pay for conceding to treatment. Out of compassion, and out of self interest, all in this country should make it clear through our actions and our words, that we do accept alcoholism as a disease, and that we respect those that can beat it.

We as a society are really doing a terrible job helping people overcome alcohol abuse or alcoholism.

Recognized as a disease by the AMA, treatment coverage remains severely limited by most insurance providers, and the high costs of treatment deter hundreds of thousands of people a year, wanting treatment, but unable or unwilling to foot the bill. Even more disturbingly, an incredible number of people who recognize the need for treatment, and who are not unwilling to seek out and even pay for treatment, cite the fear of social repercussions and stigma as a major factor deterring them from initiating treatment.

Here is the breakdown

  • 18.6 million Americans have an alcohol abuse problem or dependency
  • A mere 8% of these people gets treatment each year
  • 4.5% of these people recognize a need for treatment, but for a number of reasons don’t get it…and of these 4.5% (which works out to well over 700 000 people)

24% say a major reason why they don’t get treatment is the fear of social stigma.

So about 175 000 Americans, who recognize that they have a problem and want help don’t get it out of a fear of social or professional repercussions. They would rather continue to be alcoholics, than get better and become labeled as recovering alcoholics…which is a dismal appraisal by hundreds of thousands on the true mood of tolerance within our country. No one would ever avoid chemotherapy for fear of being labeled a cancer survivor!!!

Although alcoholism is recognized as a disease, we continue to treat people afflicted with the condition as social pariahs, who could choose not to drink, but through a lack of willpower, loose morals or sheer self indulgence, just won’t stop drinking. That anyone would choose the heartbreak, ravaged health, and family pain of alcoholism belies belief, but through extension of popular logic, alcoholics must therefore choose these accompanying destructions.

And I wish I could say that those alcoholics that make the decision to avoid treatment out of fear of social repercussions are crazy or paranoid…but I don’t believe that, and although I don’t believe that any price is worthy of the continuing destruction of active alcoholism, there most undoubtedly is a stigma attached to alcohol recovery, and people will pay a social cost for getting treatment.

Never overt, the subtle repercussions’ endure for years after successful abstinence. Whether it’s being continually passed over for deserved promotion, never being invited to coach little league or enduring the chilly civility of neighbors, the costs are not imagined. As a recovering alcoholic, and someone who has participated in treatment and has always been open about my disease; I have felt the discrimination of the ignorant and the uninformed. I never regret having sought treatment, but neither am I naïve any longer about the true attitudes of too many in our country.

Alcoholism is a disease!!!

We need people to understand this, and understand that by continuing this subtle discrimination of recovering alcoholics they propagate the condition. Alcoholism inflicts a heavy price on society and all of us are affected, and by perpetuating myths and stereotypes we all make the problem worse. We contribute to more DUIs, more family abuse and more early deaths. Any time anyone discriminates against or belittles a recovering alcoholic or the disease in general, there may be a still drinking alcoholic within earshot, realizing the price they’ll pay for conceding to treatment. Out of compassion, and out of self interest, all in this country should make it clear through our actions and our words, that we do accept alcoholism as a disease, and that we respect those that can beat it.