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Addiction Articles

When Good Friends Have Bad Habits

Sunday, April 6th, 2014

When Good Friends Have Bad Habits“Here’s to good friends,” the old beer commercial begins, as glasses are raised and smiles are exchanged all around.

Indeed, good friends are something to toast. Having a close social network, studies have found, can help you ward off everything from depression to colds. You’ll even live longer.

Why? We are programmed to thrive in groups. It’s in our genes. Stress levels are lower when we have friends to provide support, and that leads to better heart health and fewer immune problems. Researchers also theorize that friends discourage us from unhealthy choices, such as smoking and excessive drinking.

Smart Kids, Big Problems

Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014

Smart Kids, Big ProblemsAs parents, we all hope to win the genetic lottery and produce a child with good looks, a pleasant disposition and the smarts to succeed. While intelligence is indeed a blessing, it comes with a few caveats. Despite having brains and talent, some of the smartest kids face serious problems, leaving their parents wondering, “What happened? He/she had so much potential.”

As it turns out, it may be because they have natural intelligence and talent that the brightest kids sometimes struggle more than the average child. If you’ve been blessed with a brainy child, here are a few issues that might require extra attention:

#1 Drug Use

Research shows that children with a high IQ may be more likely to experiment with illegal drugs later in life than less intellectually gifted kids. While intelligence isn’t generally considered a risk factor for addiction in the same way as family history or mental illness, the study uncovered some striking associations. For example, boys who had high IQ scores at age 5 were about 50 percent more likely than boys with a low IQ to have used amphetamines, ecstasy and other illegal drugs at age 30. Brainy 5-year-old girls were more than twice as likely to have used marijuana and cocaine as those with low IQ scores at age 30.

7 Honest Reasons Why Addicts Lie

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

7 Honest Reasons Why Addicts LieAddicts tell lies more often than they tell the truth. “I’m not hurting anyone.” “I can stop any time.” Deception becomes so second nature, addicts will lie even when it’s just as easy to tell the truth. Many don’t even realize they’re fibbing or that other people see through the façade. Living a double life is exhausting, so why do addicts lie?

#1 To Preserve Their Addiction

An addict will do whatever is necessary to maintain their addiction. If they acknowledged the seriousness of the problem or the harm they’re causing themselves and others, they would be hard-pressed to continue this way of life. Their logic, whether conscious or unconscious, is: I need drugs, and I need lies to keep people off my back so I can continue using drugs. Thus, lying becomes a matter of self-preservation. Anything, or anyone, that is going to hinder their drug habit has no place in the addict’s life.

Will Addiction Be the Downfall of Your Family Business?

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

family businessThe odds are stacked against family businesses. Most new enterprises don’t survive longer than five years. Only 33 percent of family businesses are passed down to a second generation, and only 12 percent survive to the third generation. While many factors play into a business’ success, including the efficacy of management, insufficient planning and lack of funds, there’s another significant yet often overlooked threat that is crippling more than half of family businesses: addiction.

A System Plagued by Denial

Addiction is a widespread problem that, if recognized at all, is often perceived as a “personal problem” that will resolve itself. But when addiction strikes the family business, it’s everyone’s business.

In a study of nearly 100 family businesses, over half (54 percent) said they had in the past or were currently working through some type of addiction within the business’ leadership team. This figure far exceeds the addiction rate among the general population and doesn’t account for those whose problematic use of drugs and alcohol falls short of addiction.

Addiction Swap: Substance Abuse and Workaholism

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013

workaholic sleeping under deskA lot of people still have a fairly simplistic view of addiction: go to rehab, maybe battle with a relapse or two and then go on with life as usual. But this disease is cunning and persistent. Even those who successfully eliminate drugs and alcohol from their lives may find themselves trying to diet away the 30 pounds they gained during rehab or losing days of their lives to online shopping or gambling.

Among CEOs, doctors, lawyers and other professionals, we often see addictive patterns surface at work. Some end up in treatment because their Type A personalities and obsession with professional perfection have literally driven them to drink or abuse drugs. One study found that people who worked at least 50 hours a week were 1.2 to 1.5 times more likely to develop alcohol-related problems than people who worked less.

Others find that they recover from an addiction to drugs only to overload themselves with work, often to avoid dealing with the same issues that drove them to abuse drugs. Now, in addition to a problem with workaholism, they are at increased risk of drug relapse.

Financing Addiction: 5 Ways To Stop Enabling And Become Part Of The Solution

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

financing addictionCaring about someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol is emotionally draining. It can also be a tremendous drain on the family finances. Whether the addict is a struggling youth or a distinguished professional, there may be little left of the family bank accounts, investments, even the home by the time they get help.

The advice for loved ones can be confusing: Support but don’t enable. Let go but stay close. Here are a few concrete ways to become part of the solution:

#1 Make an Honest Assessment.

Sometimes it’s hard to tell: Are you helping a loved one in crisis or enabling their addiction? Enablers:

• Comply with the addict’s requests for money, favors or things just to keep the peace

• Assume drug use is just a phase that will get better on its own

• Take on the addict’s responsibilities as their own

• Rescue the addict from difficult situations

• Give not only second but third, fourth and fifth chances

• Engage in destructive behaviors alongside the addict despite knowing the addict has a problem

• Do things for the addict that they should do for themselves, such as paying bills or fulfilling job or family responsibilities

Even though enablers act out of love and concern, their attempts to protect the addict prevent them from experiencing the full consequences of their actions, thereby prolonging the addiction. In contrast, true supporters allow the addict to experience the natural consequences of their actions and encourage them to accept help.

#2 Help Yourself.

Offering “help” that truly helps isn’t always second nature. For many families, it requires communicating and interacting in a way that is different from their norm. Enablers can learn to take care of themselves while offering healthy support by attending support groups for loved ones of addicts, such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. If an addicted loved one is in rehab, family members may be invited to participate in a family program or family counseling. It’s also advisable to seek individual counseling to address the many ways in which the addict’s behavior has changed your life …

7 Behaviors You Can Change Now to Avoid Developing an Addiction

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013

Your grandfather was an alcoholic. You were emotionally mistreated as a child. And your dysfunctional family continues to complicate your life on a daily basis. With this many risk factors, the odds of avoiding addiction certainly aren’t the most favorable. While you can’t control your genes, your past or the family you come from, getting hooked on drugs is not inevitable. Here are a few simple behaviors you can change now to help avoid a lifetime battle with addiction:

#1 Experimenting with Drugs

The only surefire way to avoid drug or alcohol addiction is to refrain from experimenting in the first place. However, as we know from the failed War on Drugs, this “just say no” approach simply doesn’t work. People are curious, bored and in pain, and have always looked to drugs and alcohol to feel better.

Still, understanding your personal risk factors can help you make an educated decision. Do you have a family history of drug or alcohol problems? Have you struggled with depression, anxiety or other mental health issues? If you’re at high risk for addiction, don’t take the chance – invest your energies in finding healthier ways to feel good.

4 Benefits of Helping an Addict into Treatment

Thursday, November 15th, 2012

Helping someone into treatment for addiction is a gift that yields a lifetime of returns for the individual struggling with chemical dependency, but its benefits extend much further than that. Loved ones, typically driven by unselfish motives to help turn the addict’s life around, also stand to benefit in very personal ways:

Improved Quality of Life

Living with an addict is traumatic and life-altering in ways only affected loved ones can fully understand. Everyone in direct contact gets swallowed up by the addiction. Once a respite from the outside world, the home becomes a battlefield where trust and honesty are replaced with worry, resentment and a constant state of alert. Rates of domestic violence and mental illness go up. Daily life becomes unworkable.

Treatment improves quality of life not only for the addict, but also for the people who live with and care for them. In a study from the Central Institute of Mental Health (CIMH) in Mannheim, Germany, loved ones reported significant improvements in quality of life scores (from 60.6 to 68 on a 100-point scale) after the addict completed inpatient or outpatient treatment. These changes impacted not only their social relationships and living environment but also their own mental and physical health.

Five Potential Addictions We Sometimes Overlook

Monday, November 5th, 2012

coffee addictionWhen most people contemplate addiction, they think about cigarettes, alcohol, and illicit drugs like crystal methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin. And certainly those substances are highly addictive—they are incredibly difficult to quit once a person is hooked, and prolonged use/abuse typically results in any number of negative life consequences. But these obvious potential addictions are far from the only possible problem areas.

Though addiction has traditionally been viewed purely in terms of substances, the American Society of Addiction Medicine now embraces a much broader definition that encompasses not only drug and alcohol abuse, but process (behavioral) addictions. Of course, everything we ingest is a substance of some sort, and everything we do is a behavior of some sort, so just about anything can become an addiction. Below is a short list of things many of us eat, drink, or do on a regular basis that can and sometimes do turn into addictions.

1) Guzzling Caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant that occurs naturally in coffee, tea, and yerba mate plants. It is also added to numerous consumer products, including a wide variety of sodas, some candies, and most “energy” drinks. Regular caffeine users, even those who take in as little as 100 milligrams per day—the amount in half a cup of coffee—can develop physical dependency and experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, irritability, nausea, and fatigue when they don’t get their fix. While some people may think they just like coffee or other caffeinated products, many actually consume caffeine to stave off withdrawal symptoms (morning lethargy, mid-afternoon headache, etc). For the most part, the consequences of caffeine addiction are mild, though some people do experience anxiety or rapid heartbeat when caffeine is consumed to excess, and others may miss work or social engagements while dealing with symptoms of withdrawal.

2) Snacking on Junk Food

Here’s a scary thought: Brain imaging shows that high-sugar, high-fat foods activate the same regions of the brain as heroin, opium, and morphine. In other words, processed sugar and fat (along with processed wheat and salt) stimulate the rewards center of the brain, causing many …

Men vs. Women: Does Gender Matter in Addiction Recovery?

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Not so long ago, addiction was seen as a “man’s problem.” In recent years, addiction research has broadened its focus to include the differential impact addiction has in the lives of both men and women. We know more than ever about the biological and psychosocial factors that affect how men and women experience addiction.

So in the battle of the sexes, who “wins” in addiction recovery? At first glance, men may appear to have the upper hand as women tend to progress more quickly into chemical dependency and face serious consequences faster than men. However, women are less likely to struggle with addiction than men and fare just as well in treatment. In the end, it’s a draw. Neither sex is better or worse off; they simply experience addiction and recovery in different ways.


Who Wins: Women

Drug and alcohol addiction are more prevalent among men than women. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, men are twice as likely as women to meet the criteria for drug addiction in their lifetime (though rates of prescription drug abuse are about equal). The disparity appears to be even greater for alcohol abuse, with men struggling at three times the rate of women.


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