An overwhelming number of people use social media on a daily basis all over the world. It has tremendous reach and impact and what circulates there finds its imprints in the lives of almost everyone. Alcohol-related content has among the highest circulation/readership on the internet. Given its vast implications, you find such content to be almost ubiquitous online. This ranges from proper advertisements of liquor to individuals posting selfies while consuming alcohol to influencers/bloggers advertently or inadvertently promoting lifestyles where alcohol is prevalent.
From the outset, all such content appears to be harmless, and continuous exposure also plays a role in our desensitization towards it. However, research has shown that posting alcohol-related content on social media is associated with high rates of alcohol consumption, cravings, and alcohol addiction. More studies are suggesting that these messages may be powerful enough to influence a person’s drinking habits. A recent study found that people who were shown Facebook ads promoting beer were more likely to indulge in an alcoholic beverage than those who viewed bottled water ads. Another study showed that alcohol-related messaging on social media primed people to think about alcohol which can influence them to drink. Another major concern is that of underage drinking. It is entirely possible that social media messages may promote underage drinking.
Direct alcohol advertising on social media is on the rise. Many major liquor companies have increased their digital marketing budget by more than 50 percent every year over the past several years. These ads are getting more creative and as a result, more effective. They are using contests, giveaways, and games to gain new followers and sell more alcohol. Researchers are finding out that such kind of content posted by alcohol companies on social media tends to normalize daily alcohol use and binge drinking. Furthermore, these social media ads are also increasingly targeting women, which is inducing a noticeable cultural shift that includes heavier and more frequent drinking among women. Studies show that heavy drinking among women is up 40 percent in the past 20 years. There is a significantly higher number of women are presenting to ER due to alcohol poisoning.
But it’s not just the ads. Social media users do a lot of alcohol promotion themselves as well. People on social media organize happy hours and parties online, and they share multimedia posts on various social media platforms. These online activities have a significant peer pressure effect on others. As we know that teens and young adults are the heaviest users of social media, and are especially susceptible to this pressure. In a recent study, it was found that brand allegiance increased the odds of being an underage drinker significantly and it was also associated with more frequent and heavier alcohol consumption.
All of this calls for more regulation on social media advertisement. It also calls for a more responsible online behavior on everybody’s part – as an individual and as a social community. Whether it is as someone posting content or consuming it as a user, there is a role we can all play to mitigate this problem.
Late nights partying at the club – is ok, every now and again. Going to the occasional dinner gathering or holiday event, where alcohol is overconsumed, perfectly fine. Binging daily or making it a continuous habit, not so cool. This type of dangerous behavior could possibly turn deadly. Alcohol is cunning, baffling and powerful and it is out to destroy. It does not discriminate, care what your socioeconomic status is, the size of your family or chosen profession.
Let’s define what alcohol dependence VS alcohol abuse is:
Being dependent on an alcoholic drink, both psychologically and physically. According to the DSM – 5, in 2013, it was reclassified as alcoholism
Once you take the first drink, you cannot stop. You are unable to put your drink down and you are powerless over the magical liquid. You are drinking to get drunk, every single day.
Alcoholism has you telling yourself you will quit soon, but you are unable to. For example, you mark days off on the calendar of when you will give up, the day arrives, and you cannot fathom life without a drink.
Your family and close friends notice your behavior is erratic and your life is unmanageable.
Individuals who regularly are dependent on alcohol have consciously chose to pattern themselves in disengaging full responsibility in all areas of their lives.
Often, we will see dependents significantly increase the amount of alcohol they purchase and drink, they will drink for extended periods of time and behaviors are unpredictable.
Alcoholism: the disease that makes you too selfish to see the havoc you created and care about the people you shattered. – quotesgram.com
Alcohol abuse is commonly referred to as consuming way too much, too frequently. You are off to the races, but you can stop after ten, even if you do not pass out. You probably bask in the euphoria of drinking 4-5, nightly, most days of the week.
Alcohol is probably the easiest substance to abuse because the potential is there. It’s legal, and it’s available. – Lance Penny, QuoteHD.com
Alcohol not only destroys us, it hurts people we lovingly care about, in the grueling process. Sometimes an intervention is necessary when an alcoholic has hit rock bottom. Our team at Pacific Bay Recovery standby to assist you and your family.
Trained, compassionate and successful healthcare experts want to guide you on your path to recovery. You are welcome to visit our website for additional information and to ask questions https://www.pacificbayrecovery.com/.
We encourage you to seek treatment with the help of caring specialists. Our facility is different than any other rehab center because you are not just a number with us. Each person that checks in to our treatment center is designed a special protocol, tailored to your individual recovery needs!
Remember, one day at a time and do not quit five minutes before your miracle. We want you to live a life of optimal wellness but that means you will face difficult challenges and you must learn to never give up!
It isn’t what you plan, but sometimes, drinking causes you to cross the line from the occasional use or social use to problematic everyday drinking. This leads to alcoholism or alcohol abuse, which is related to genetics, social environment, and psychological issues. Certain ethnic groups are more at risk for alcohol abuse than others, such as Native Alaskans and Native American Indians. Alcoholism tends to run in families, too, and heavy drinkers suffer from numerous mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression.
Do I have a Drinking Problem?
Drinking is more acceptable in many cultures and the effects of alcohol use vary from person to person. When social drinking becomes problem drinking, then the alcohol is in control. You may suffer from alcohol abuse if you:
Lie to others or hide your drinking habits.
Feel ashamed or guilty regarding your drinking.
Need to drink for the purpose of relaxation.
Experience “blackouts” after drinking.
Have family members or friends who are concerned about your drinking.
Drink to excess on a regular basis.
Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse
Substance abuse physicians and counselors do not consider alcohol abuse to be the same as alcohol dependence, which is essentially alcoholism. Alcohol abusers do have the ability to limit their drinking, whereas alcoholics do not. However, excessive use of alcohol is dangerous and self-destructive either way. The common signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse include:
Continuing to drink regardless of problems in relationships, work, or other.
Repetitively neglecting responsibilities due to the drinking.
Using alcohol while driving or operating heavy machinery.
Having repeated legal problems due to the drinking.
Drinking to relax or reduce stress.
When Alcohol Abuse turns into Alcoholism
Not all people who use or abuse alcohol develop full-blown alcoholism. However, frequent abuse of this substance is a major risk factor for alcoholism. Certain losses or tragedies often trigger binge drinking or other substance use issues. When a person becomes reliant on alcohol in order to function or feel physically well, then he or she is considered an alcoholic.
One of the first warning signs of alcoholism is tolerance. This is when you can drink considerable amounts without getting drunk or feeling “buzzed.” Tolerance is when a person requires more and more alcohol in order to feel the same effects. Another warning sign is withdrawal. This is when someone has certain symptoms when alcohol has not been in his or her system for a while, such as tremors, anxiety, or mood swings. In severe cases, withdrawal from alcohol causes hallucinations, seizures, nausea, vomiting, fever, and confusion.
Denial of Drinking Problems
Denial is the biggest obstacle when considering rehabilitation (rehab) for alcohol abuse or dependence. For many alcoholics, the desire to drink is so strong that it causes problems with rational thinking and the consequences are ignored. Denial also leads to serious problems with relationships, work, social life, and finances. A person who is dependent on alcohol will deny this by:
Downplaying the amount he or she drinks.
Avoiding accepting consequences that are related to drinking.
Complaining that friends and family members exaggerate regarding the problem.
Blaming the drinking on other people or things.
Illicit Drug Abuse
Illicit drug use and abuse often lead to severe consequences, as in jail time or a prison sentence. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), 70 percent of prison entrants report using substances in the year prior to incarceration. Men are more likely than women to have used drugs before entering prison, also. Among young people aged 18 to 44, around 73 percent have used an illicit drug during the previous 12 months.
Illicit drug use and addiction is one of the worse types of addict problems. Illicit drugs are illegal to make, use, and/or sell, and include cocaine, methamphetamines, heroin, and various hallucinogens. Also, most of these substances are highly addictive and carry serious health consequences and risks, even when consumed in small or infrequent doses. While it begins as experimentation, illicit drug users often find themselves dealing with the mental and physical effects of the drug and withdrawal from the substance. A person can become addicted easily and endanger the safety and health of others. Researchers have found that addiction is a brain disease, which is characterized by chronic relapses and abnormalities in certain brain pathways.
Categories of Illicit Drugs
Illicit drug effects are dependent upon the substance. The main categories are opioids, stimulants, sedatives, and hallucinogens. These drugs are categorized based on their effects. These include:
Opioids – Painkillers and heroin that alter chemicals in the brain responsible for mood regulation, slow down the central nervous system, and decrease breathing effort.
Stimulants – Methamphetamines, and cocaine lead to increased heart rate, excessive brain activity, and a state of hyperactivity.
Sedatives – Drugs such as Xanax and Valium are sedatives, and these cause a slowing down effect, drowsiness, and confusion.
Hallucinogens – LSD, mushrooms, and marijuana can alter the perception of time, space, and reality.
The Signs of Illicit Drug Addiction
There are certain behaviors that indicate an addiction to an illicit drug. These include:
Aggressive behavior, violence, and/or mood swings
Unusual or sudden change of energy level
Preoccupation with obtaining and using a certain drug
Isolation from family and friends
Chronic mental and physical health problems
Inability to attend work or social activities
Legal consequences, such as loss of job or an arrest
Behavior that violates values and/or morals for the purpose of getting a drug
Inpatient rehab program – This is best for individuals who suffer from severe illicit drug addiction. Doctors, therapists, and counselors monitor the addict to provide safety and a healthy environment for recovery.
Outpatient rehab program – These facilities work for the addict who wishes to maintain his or her job or for those who have families. The person attends group activities and classes at the facility but returns to home and daily activities.
12-Step program – NA and AA are both good 12-step programs that offer support to people with addictions. These programs use the 12-step concept in order to help a person manage obsessions and compulsions of addiction.
Psychotherapy – Drug addiction often coexists with emotional and or mental health issues. This can lead to self-destructive patterns without appropriate psychotherapy.
Numerous pharmacological agents have been proved effective for treating alcohol addiction and enhancing recovery. The common class of drugs used to manage withdrawal symptoms during alcohol detoxification is Benzodiazepines andbarbiturates. Benzodiazepines such as Diazepam, Chlordiazepoxide, Lorazepam, and Oxazepam are the most commonly used drugs. Among some skepticism and debate, Lithium has also been shown to have therapeutic benefits for the treatment of alcohol addiction. However, some medical experts believe that Lithium is effective only for alcoholics suffering from manic depression and bipolar disorder. It is generally thought that Lithium treatment may work only in those with a dual diagnosis.
One of the naturally occurring chemical elements, Lithium is useful in medicine as a mood stabilizer prepared in pharmacology by combining lithium salt with an orotic acid. Lithium orotate is said to be a drug-form with the fewest side effects. Other combinations of the drug are Lithium carbonate, Lithium citrate made by compounding lithium with carbon and oxygen.
Mechanism of Action of Lithium
Lithium works through the central nervous system by regulating the levels of neurotransmitters such as norepinephrine and serotonin. Decreased activity of norepinephrine and increased serotonin levels help in reducing the stress response and increasing mental well-being. Though lithium is referred to as a psycho-active drug, it does not produce euphoric highs in its users. The therapeutic actions of lithium to start acting on the drug addict may take as long as a month.
Lithium for Alcoholism
A number of research studies analysing the potential beneficial effects of lithium in alcoholic-recovery and rehabilitation have not provided conclusive evidence. Lithium is a successful pharmacological agent for treating depression symptoms. Since depression is a strongly associated symptom in chronic alcoholism, Lithium is expected to improve the recovery and prognosis in alcoholics. However, systematic clinical studies have failed to prove lithium’s effectiveness in neither depressed nor non-depressed alcohol-addicts.
Nonetheless, alcoholics suffering from bipolar disorder have been shown to benefit from lithium-assisted detoxification and therapy. So, lithium may really be indispensable for patients with a dual diagnosis (Alcohol Use Disorder and Bipolar disorder); but further research and large-scale clinical trials are required to determine the exact drug efficacy in such medical cases.
Lithium and Suicide Prevention
Lithium is especially useful in treating depression in individuals harboring suicidal thoughts. An interesting data analytics-study in Japan has demonstrated that cities with high Lithium concentrations in their water supply had lower suicide rates. This highlights a strong link between addiction and suicide, where lithium-assisted therapy could hold numerous benefits.
Potential Side Effects of Lithium
The side effects of lithium include potential kidney damage, hypothyroidism, and weight gain; it may also cause nystagmus (involuntary eye-twitching). Furthermore, Lithium exposure during pregnancy has been associated with the occurrence of developmental defects in the fetus. To ensure safety during lithium-treatment, it is advisable to regularly perform blood and urine tests to continually monitor for kidney damage or other side effects. The levels of lithium in the body can also be influenced by changes in diet or dehydration. Finally, if the patient gets exposed to alcohol abuse when on lithium-treatment, an increase in the severity of side-effects may occur, preventing the drug from working properly.