Does Alcohol Make You Crazier?

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I have suffered from anxiety, depression and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) from the time I can remember. For better or worse, it’s part of who I am. I wasn’t always comfortable admitting I had all these “issues,” but, eventually, you just have to accept it and do your best with what God gave you. Over the years, I have learned various ways to “deal” with my mental health issues – mainly counseling, medication and getting sober (that was a big one).

However, that wasn’t always the case. Drinking was the main way I used to cope – with everything. If I was feeling anxious, I would drink; if I was feeling depressed, I would drink; if I was feeling obsessive, I would drink. And, on and on. It was a nasty little cycle I had going on. Of course, I always thought that drinking would make it better; that a few drinks would make it all go away. I would FINALLY feel relaxed! Ha!

The thing is, I never even realized that those drinks could actually be making my mental health issues worse. So, you can imagine my surprise when I came across the new health guide created by treatment center, Yellowbrick, that states the “Ten Mental Health Reasons Not to Drink Alcohol.”

It was like the first time I took one of those “are you an alcoholic?” quizzes. As I read down the list, I mentally made a check note by each one: interrupts normal sleep patterns (check), leads to rebound anxiety (check), contributes to increased impulsivity (check, check), interferes with prescribed medication (is that why my Prozac wasn’t working like it should’ve?).

Yellowbrick

I’m by no means telling “normal” people not to drink alcohol in moderation, but the reality is a huge percentage of our population suffers from anxiety and depression. If those people were more aware of the real effects drinking had on their mental health issues would that change their drinking patterns? Would they think twice about having that second, third or fourth drink? Maybe.

I’m a firm believer that knowledge is power and if we arm ourselves with the facts, we might be able to make different decisions in the future. Decisions that could potentially change the future of our health for the better.

This post was sponsored by Yellowbrick.

People Are Finally Talking

Keep Living

Ever since the tragic death of Philip Seymour Hoffman, the media has been saturated with stories and articles about the rise of heroin use and addiction. For better or worse, it takes someone of means and notoriety to get people talking about something that has been going on for awhile now. Being part of the recovery community, it’s something I see day in and day out. It’s nothing new and whether people want to believe it or not, it’s everywhere. It’s not just the junkie in the abandoned house that’s shooting up anymore – it’s the rich kid down the street, the housewife with the Range Rover and the businessman at the local coffee shop. If you think otherwise, you’re kidding yourself.

Ever since federal and state regulations made it harder for people to get their hands on prescription drugs, people have been turning to heroin because it has the same effect (it’s an opiate), it’s easy to get and it’s affordable.

Like all addiction, heroin addiction is an epidemic. And, just when you think it can’t touch you, it does.

Seeing the recent news on Justin Beiber’s run-ins with the law and substance abuse issues, it makes me wonder what’s next for him. Realistically, it’s only a matter of time before he goes from alcohol, pot and pills to harder stuff – if he already isn’t there. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, but the likelihood of it happening is pretty high considering the circumstances.

The thing is, our society does a really good job talking about addiction and substance abuse issues, yet we fail to talk about the solutions and treatment options. The media loves to report on the latest statistics, celebrity run-ins and even death, but how often do they follow that up with ways people can get help? They don’t, which is why when I was asked to promote Advanced Health and Education, an addiction treatment center in New Jersey, I didn’t hesitate.

As a premier New Jersey drug and alcohol treatment center, Advanced Health and Education “provides comprehensive and effective counseling services to adults and adolescents who are experiencing addiction to alcohol, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine or prescription drugs.” Rehab and treatment has almost become a joke among many, who view it as a luxury getaway, when in fact it saves lives.

Treatment centers like Advanced Health and Education not only offer people a reprieve from alcohol and drug addiction; they address emotional issues and teach people the skills to lead a fulfilling life without the crutch of alcohol and drugs. The only way we can stop the cycle is if we address the underlying issues that drive our addictions. Treatment centers can help do this and get us on the road to recovery.

Unfortunately, many people rule out treatment and rehab programs because of the cost, however, many insurance companies cover alcohol and drug treatment in their plans. Also, many treatment centers, like Advanced Health and Education, offer scholarships and financial aid. Look at it this way: think about the time and money you currently spend or spent on getting and using drugs and alcohol. I guarantee treatment is less and you’ll actually get something positive out of it.

As Hoffman’s good friend and fellow recovering addict, Aaron Sorkin notes when talking about Hoffman’s death: “He didn’t die because he was partying too hard or because he was depressed — he died because he was an addict.”

It was reported that Hoffman spent 10 days in rehab after relapsing on drugs after over 20 years sober. A typical rehab and treatment program lasts 30-60 days. Would Hoffman have lived if he would’ve stayed longer? I don’t know, but maybe.

Addiction is nothing to take lightly. If you or someone you know needs help, find a treatment center and go – it could be a matter of life or death.