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Drug Addiction, Treatment and Rehab Posts

The Symptoms of Anxiety: Dealing With Serious Stress

Healthy anxiety should not interfere with relationships, careers and family settings. Anxiety should not prevent one from living one’s life in a way that is meaningful for that person. The feelings of anxiety can be very disruptive and confusing leading to even more serious problems. It is very important to remember that the symptoms and manifestations are very individual depending on the person.

Emotional Symptoms

The emotional symptoms are very intense and can become overwhelming if ignored. These symptoms include feelings of apprehension or dread, difficulty concentrating, feeling tense and jumpy, always anticipating the worst scenario in a situation, irritability due to tension, restlessness, a constant alertness for signs of danger, exaggerated startle response, and a feeling that one’s mind goes blank under pressure.

Physical Symptoms

As with all emotional disorders there are physical manifestations that make the sense of anxiety even worse. The physical symptoms can include sweating, stomach upset, dizziness, shortness of breath, tremors or twitches, muscle tension, intense headaches, insomnia and fatigue. Often time’s people suffering with severe anxiety report a sense that they are having a heart attack. These physical symptoms can be debilitating, as well as frightening. The symptoms can also interfere with work and/or family life.

If left untreated these expressions of intense anxiety can become a full blown anxiety disorder. A person with such a disorder will avoid everyday situations, may be afraid to leave their home and may find their life seriously disrupted. Ignoring the symptoms can lead to chronic anxiety or panic attacks in which a person deals with a sense of terror. During a panic attack, people report being unable to breathe or even to request help. Panic attacks help to heighten anxiety because many people report becoming anxious about having another attack because the attacks themselves are so unpleasant.

Treatment

Anxiety can be treated in couple of ways. Make time for oneself, being aware that the self is important in our hurried way of living too. Many people report daily meditation as being very helpful as it helps to relax a person and clear the mind. Exercise can also do a lot to relive tension and should become part of everyone’s daily routine. In addition, it is clearly important to develop a support group of friends and family that can listen to the parts of one’s life that are truly anxiety provoking.

If the practices listed above do not improve the situation then professional help can be very healing. Talk therapy, anti-anxiety medication and behavior therapy designed to change thinking and behavior can be very helpful. It is important to remember that these symptoms are very real and very overwhelming and if left untreated can lead to a serious anxiety disorder or suicide.

A Positive Attitude

Be aware that this is nothing to be ashamed of. Our society is one which places a lot of emphasis on success and achievement. In some high powered careers, leisure time is in fact looked down upon and the associated stress can easily get out of control. Get the help needed; take the time to care for the stress that is felt. In the long term, one will live a better more comfortable life.

The Facts About Child and Adolescent Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar is one of the main mental illnesses that I treated as a psychiatric nurse. It is largely characterised by swings in mood from mania to depression. In relatively recent years it has been discovered that it is not only adults who can suffer from it. Adolescents, and even children, can also suffer from this serious illness. Bipolar in children and adolescents is known as early onset bipolar and presents its own challenges. It has to be handled differently from the form of bipolar that adults suffer from, both in the way it is diagnosed, treated and managed.

The Difference Between Adult, and Adolescent and Child Bipolar Disorder

According to WebMD.com in their article ‘Bipolar in Teens’ bipolar can be diagnosed in children as young as 6 but is most commonly diagnosed between 14 and 16 years old. Adolescence is a time of raging hormones and mood swings, but bipolar is more than this. ‘About.com.bipolar disorder’ characterises this difference as the fact that the presence of the illness significantly impairs people’s functioning at school, home and with their peers. NIH.gov states in ‘Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens’ that early onset bipolar is more severe and the symptoms occur more often than in the adult form of the illness. It is also harder to diagnose as it is often mistaken for attention deficit disorder.

The Symptoms and Behaviours That Manifest in Early Onset Bipolar Disorder

WebMD.com: ‘Bipolar in Teens’ points out that sufferers experience very rapid changes in mood during one single day. Their feelings manifest themselves when ‘manic’ as excitability, very rapid speech, an over developed sense of self importance and a problem sleeping. Teenagers with bipolar will often wander around the house, looking for things to do during the night because of this. Both children and teenagers have a tendency to appear obsessed with talking about or exploring sex during their manic phase. During a sufferer’s low period he may present as moody, very down, move very slowly and may also complain of pains in the head, stomach and muscles. An obsession with death, including suicide is also not uncommon. According to ‘Rpsych.com:Bipolar(Manic Depression)’ these symptoms can manifest themselves as behaviours such as avoiding school, drug and alcohol abuse and self harming and, in some cases, running away from home.

Early Intervention and Treatment of Adolescent Bipolar

Kidshealth.org tells us that early intervention and treatment is vital as, left untreated, high risk behaviours such as promiscuity, drug taking and even attempted suicide may occur. If the child is suicidal or totally out of control a stay in hospital may be necessary for the safety of the child. If the patient is manageable at home then the treatment options for bipolar are similar as for adults and include mood stabilisers such as Lithium and Lamictal. Antipsychotics such as olanzapine or risperidone and anti depressants are also used, but the dosages and combinations are different than those used for adult bipolar due to the growth and development of the child being treated. Talking treatments are vital in the treatment of early onset bipolar. ‘Rpsych.comBipolar(Manic Depression)’ tells us that these treatments include family therapy and interpersonal therapy. The therapies are all aimed at helping the child to cope with the mood swings and the problems that bipolar brings.

Helping Your Child Cope With Bipolar Disorder and how He can Help Himself

The teenage years are hard enough without having a serious mental illness to deal with as well. Kidshealth.com suggests that you let the school know so that they can be a little more understanding of possibly disruptive behaviour. The most important thing a parent can do is be open and understanding, as a strong supportive network is vital for anyone with bipolar. Parents can also help by ensuring that their child takes their medication. One of the unfortunate side effects of a lot of psychiatric medications is that they cause weight gain. This is something that teenage girls, especially, will have a big problem with. Ensuring regular exercise and a healthy diet will help this. One of the best things anyone with bipolar can do is join a support group; it can really help to talk to people who are going through the same thing. Taking away the feeling of isolation that a lot of adolescents feel, who are suffering, can prevent behaviours such as running away from home or turning to drugs.

Living with any mental illness is hard, but you don’t have to go it alone. sometimes it’s easier to talk to a stranger. Here are some numbers in the UK for when it all gets too much.

Thinking Through Anxiety & Global Conditions: Fears About the Economy, Terrorism, and the Future

At any given time wars are being waged somewhere on the planet. Yet, the majority of the earth’s people prefer peace. The fact that humans are still here—particularly in this thermonuclear age—demonstrates that history is on the side of those who spend their time and resources perpetuating kindness and optimism. With so many countries involved in the “war on terror” and witnessing regressing economies, it’s easy to see why families are anxious.

Al Qaeda and the Taliban are strengthening again

Radical groups that foster hate and depend on fear to achieve objectives often strengthen and weaken in a cyclical fashion. When confronted and consistently opposed, they lose momentum and ultimately rot on the vine. Don’t underestimate the power of human conviction—especially for good. Being guided by goodness and principle and acting in the best interest of the group (in this case the earth and its inhabitants) is the broader view that has historically been the path of wisdom and will no doubt be so in the future.

The Economy Will Collapse

Probably not. But even if it does, that takes one back to the resiliency of human beings. How do you think the economy became strong in the first place? Granted, there are spending habits and political matters to be addressed, but those are not the concern of this article. Amidst the news reports of financial doom and gloom is another story to tell. It is an epic. It is the saga of human beings finding a way to make great things happen. It is the testament to human creativity and ingenuity within the multigenerational transmission process.

The End Is Coming in 2020

Feel free to pack your bags and head for the airport, but you’re probably not going anywhere. People worry about the next four years–especially in the United States–but the passing of a month or a year or a century is unremarkable unless some import is imposed upon it. Many point to the Mayan calendar, Bible codes, or psychic readings. Regardless of one’s source of inspiration, it seems arrogant to assess dates for the end of all things. What, exactly, would that look like anyway? Since no one can actually demonstrate what the end will be, people are at a bit of a disadvantage as to the when and the how. Perhaps the best use of the time would be acting in the best interests of the group.

Thinking Through the Anxiety

Thinking is hard work. Thinking through anxiety is even harder. Recognizing the distinction between acute and chronic anxiety can be helpful. Acute anxiety is the by-product of what is: John’s fiancé just broke their engagement and he is distraught. Chronic anxiety is the result of what might be: Sally is preoccupied with the thought that a potential fiancé might break a future engagement; thus, she refuses to date. Chronic anxiety does not appear to be caused by anything in particular. It can usually be traced to a person’s response to disharmony within a given relationship system. What percentage of worldwide anxiety can be attributed to the question, “What if?”

Do global fears suggest a lack of togetherness or do they perhaps indicate an anxious togetherness where individual thinking and direction have been hijacked in favor of the herd mentality and reactionary strife? Think it through.

Treating Bipolar Disorder: How to Lessen the Effects of the Mental Illness

Bipolar disorder can seriously disrupt a person’s life which is why treatment of this illness is vital to maintaining a normal, structured life. Without treatment bipolar disorder can affect every area of a person’s daily life.

Treating Bipolar Disorder I and II with Medication

There are several medications available to help treat bipolar disorder. If one doesn’t seem to help, a patient’s physician may adjust the dose or prescribe a different medication; the success of a particular treatment varies among individuals. There are three main types of medication used to treat bipolar disorder: mood stabilizers, anti-seizure and antidepressants.

Mood stabilizers are the most commonly prescribed medications for this disorder. These medications will help stabilize and regulate moods so a person doesn’t experience bipolar episodes, experiencing powerful bouts of mania and depression.

To prevent mood swings in a bipolar patient, a doctor may prescribe anti-seizure medications. These are prescribed to people with bipolar II disorder who are deemed to have rapid-cycling bipolar disorder.

Antidepressants may not be effective in treating bipolar disorder. It was once common to prescribe these but it is now controversial because some believe they may actually trigger mania in bipolar patients.

Certain anti-psychotic medications may also help in treating this disorder. A certain drug, quetiapine (Seroquel) treats both manic and depressive episodes and has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

All medications have side effects so patients should provide the doctor a full list of current medication as well as any preexisting conditions. A woman who wants to get pregnant in the near future should tell her doctor so the medication with the least health risks can be prescribed.

Treating Bipolar Disorder I and II with Therapy

Therapy can be very helpful in treating bipolar disorder; therapy is often used in conjunction with medication. A common form of individual therapy is cognitive behavioral therapy. A person will learn stress management, what may trigger his/her episodes and replace unhealthy, negative beliefs and behaviors with positive, healthy ones.

Family therapy will help identify and reduce stress triggers within the family and can help improve communication. Group therapy is a forum to speak and listen to others in a similar situation who also have bipolar disorder or another form of mental illness.

ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy, involves passing electric currents through the brain to trigger a seizure. The seizure may cause changes in brain chemistry to improve mood. This therapy is mainly for people who suffer from episodes of severe depression with suicidal tendencies or haven’t seen improvement with other treatments.

Bipolar disorder is a lifelong illness and treatment may also need to be lifelong where prescription drug rehab Miami can be of help. There’s no surefire way to prevent bipolar disorder but getting treatment at the earliest sign will help a person. Without treatment a person may be prone to legal, financial and relationship problems, as well as, suicide, substance and drug abuse, isolation and poor work or school performance, so seeking treatment for bipolar disorder is essential.

Rewards of Quitting Smoking: Benefits of Smoking Cessation – Immediate and Long Lasting

It is known worldwide that smoking is one of the most dangerous habits. Once addicted, it is hard to let go of smoking even when one knows that it is killing the body from within. Most smokers drop the idea of smoking cessation for they believe that they have already harmed their bodies enough and quitting smoking will do no wonders for them. However, they could not be further than the truth.

Reap the Rewards of Quitting

Even if one has been smoking for a long time, kicking this dreadful habit is always a good idea. The body is put under a lot of strain with every puff of a cigarette. Now is always the best time to quit. The following are some of the benefits that come with smoking cessation:

  • Blood pressure and heart rate moves closer to normal within 20 minutes after quitting smoking.
  • The high carbon monoxide level in the body returns to normal 12 hours after quitting.
  • There is significant improvement in lung function as well as the circulation in about 15 days to 90 days’ time.
  • Within the time period of one to nine months, smoking cessation will result in improvement in the problem of cough and shortness of breath. The cilia present in the lungs start functioning normally and thereby clean the lungs better and decrease the risk of contracting external infections.
  • Within a year of kicking this habit, the risk associated with coronary heart disease reduces to almost half of that associated with a smoker.
  • Within five years of quitting, the risk of getting a stroke is equivalent to that of a non-smoker.
  • More significant benefits start showing after about ten years of quitting. There is a reduced risk of cancer of the bladder, pancreas, mouth, throat, cervix and the esophagus. The risk of getting lung cancer is equivalent to half of the risk associated with that of a smoker.
  • Fifteen years down the line, coronary heart disease ceases to be a major threat as the risk associated with it reduces to that of a non smoker.

The Instant Rewards

It is not that one has to wait for years to get the rewards of quit smoking. There are many and quite evident benefits which one will receive almost immediately. These benefits are as follows:

  • better smelling breath
  • teeth become whiter
  • disappearance of yellowish finger nails
  • enhanced sense of smell
  • no shortage of breath while doing physical activities

The body and clothes smell better. It is quite clear that giving up smoking is one of the biggest rewards one can give to his body. This change alone will bring significant health benefits which were being deprived due to smoking.

How to Tell if a Teen is Using Drugs and Alcohol: Warning Signs of Teenaged Drug Abuse Can Be Hard to Catch

According to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, Georgia, illicit drug use among teenagers is down. This is good news, but it’s not the only news. Alcohol use is up among the underage crowd, as is the abuse of prescription and over-the-counter medicines. Given these facts, it’s normal for a parent to be concerned about whether or not their teen is using or abusing drugs and alcohol.

Unfortunately, teenagers don’t wear signs around their necks telling parents the status of their drug use. And many parents are uncomfortable talking to their children about the subject. Drug abuse causes a personality and behavior shift in a teen. But lots of normal teen behavior is erratic, so it can be hard to know if moodiness is a result of adolescent hormonal surges or substance abuse.

Physical Signs that a Teenager May be Using Drugs

Finding drugs or drug paraphernalia in a teen’s room, car or backpack is a strong sign that he might be using. If confronted with physical evidence, many teens will deny the drugs are theirs and say they belong to a friend. This is almost never true.

Drugs and their ingestion methods come in many forms, but here are some things to watch for:

  • pills (oxycontin, xanax, vicodin, codeine, ecstasy)
  • powders (cocaine, heroin, meth)
  • leafy, sweet smelling herbs or rolled cigarettes (marijuana)
  • mushrooms (psychedelic mushrooms)
  • tiny tabs of paper (acid)
  • beer, wine or liquor bottles
  • water bongs
  • small pipes
  • lighters
  • spoons
  • needles

Home and School Signs that a Teen May be Using Drugs

Drug use is sometimes the culprit when a teenager suddenly starts bringing home lower grades or reports of incomplete assignments. Truancy often becomes an issue. A normally well-behaved child may suddenly begin getting detentions for behavior problems such as disrespect of teachers, classmates and property. He may also begin skipping practices or meetings for extracurricular commitments like sports, band or yearbook.

At home, he may withdraw from regular family activities, spend long amounts of time alone in his room and stop doing expected chores. Angry or violent outbursts can indicate a drug problem, as can a noticeable decline in personal hygiene. Some teenagers who are abusing drugs will take medications (both prescription and non prescription) found in the homes of their parents or other close relatives.

Emotional and Social Signs that a Teenager May Be Using Drugs

A teenager who is using illicit substance often changes his group of friends, seemingly overnight. He may speak poorly of old friends and criticize them for their choices or beliefs. He may also withdraw from groups that have always been important to him like church or Boy Scouts. Changes in his daily sleep or activity routines can also be a warning sign.

Other behaviors to watch out for include:

  • depression
  • sleeping more than usual
  • anxiety
  • paranoia
  • extreme weight gain or loss in a short period of time (three months)
  • blatant defiance or disobedience
  • erratic mood swings from high to low

In some cases, these behaviors are common in all teenagers, but if three or more of them are present, it is a good idea to consult a professional for further evaluation. It is also a good idea to learn how to talk to a teenager about drugs and alcohol. There are a number of options for help for a young person whose life is being affected by drug and alcohol abuse, to include treatment programs and 12 step recovery groups.

Relating Childhood Trauma and Chronic Distress to Drug Abuse

Ever wondered why people do drugs? Why you use a specific coping strategy to counter stress? How upsetting childhood trauma can be? It’s all interconnected.

People are a product of their genes and external influences from the environment. How a person chooses to manage stress, is dependent on personality traits and gene characteristics of that individual. The environment contributes significantly in shaping peoples response to stress.

Varying genes and exposure to different environments enable people to react in a different way when faced with stress i.e. people would perceive a stressful event differently, their neural circuitry would interpret it differently and their response along with adaptive reactions would also be different. So what regulates these differences?

Rajita Sinha in How does Stress Increase Risk of Drug Abuse and Relapse? is of the opinion that this dissimilarity in stress response amongst individuals can also be categorized in terms of:

  • childhood trauma
  • chronic distress

These two, of course, are not the only aspects that define an individuals stress response. Nonetheless, they do have a prominent impact on how a person deals with stress.

Stressful events or trauma during childhood such as seclusion, are known to induce a drug seeking behavior (Adler, Bendotti, Ghezzi, Samanin, & Valzelli, 1975). Similarly, increased levels of CRF have been associated with chronic distress (Arborelius, Owens, Plotsky, & Nemeroff, 1999), which in turn induce a drug seeking behavior.

Childhood Trauma and Drug Abuse

Instances of drug abuse in people with a traumatic background, is fairly common. Especially, people that have been traumatized physically during their childhood are prone to adapt a drug seeking behavior (Widom, Weiler, & Cottler, 1999).

Research regarding animal reaction to stress during its early phases of life, support a positive relation between stressful events and drug abuse. Such instances were found in rats (Kosten, Miserendino, & Kehoe, 2000) and rhesus monkeys (Higley, Hasert, Suomi, & Linnoila, 1991) when exposed to a stressful environment.

While there are varying categories of stressful events to which an individual might be exposed, during his/her childhood, isolation and social separation are prioritized during relevant studies. Here is what happens:

  1. An individual is socially isolated or perceives that he/she is isolated during childhood.
  2. This registers as a stressful event.
  3. This stressful event during childhood encourages drug seeking behavior and drug abuse.

In rats isolation during early life increases self-administration of cocaine and morphine (Adler, Bendotti, Ghezzi, Samanin, & Valzelli, 1975).

Chronic Distress and Drug Abuse

As vanity, pessimism and narcissism in college students, and the whole general populace increases along with pressures from an ever-evolving world that requires the youth to struggle more than their predecessors in order to adapt to the changing environment; distress is common.

The relation between stress and drug abuse is reasonable, evident and perhaps understandable to even those who are uninformed. If such a relation exists in association with a single stressful event, reasoning the relation between chronic stress and drug abuse is relatively elementary. Studies depict an increased usage of alcohol, nicotine and marijuana in subjects going through chronic distress. (Kandel, et al. 1997; King, Ghaziuddin, McGovern, Brand, Hill, & Naylor, 1996; Rao, Ryan, Dahl, Rao, Williamson, & Perel, 1999).

Moreover, chronic distress dysregulates the brain stress circuitry (Arborelius, et al. 1999). Neural connections and chemical interactions involved in the wake of a stressful event, as detailed in Understanding Stress and its Components, are disturbed by this continued distress and perhaps their involvement as a response to the event is altered overtime. These alterations contribute positively to enhance drug abuse in terms of increased sensitivity to drug use. Following is a list that connects chronic distress to drug abuse:

  1. An individual succumbs to chronic distress.
  2. Chronic distress upsets the brain stress circuitry involved.
  3. The individual seeks relief in drugs.
  4. This alteration apparently increases susceptibility to drug abuse.
  5. The individual increases his/her frequency of drug use.

The Connection

So why do people start abusing drugs? The answer is simple and dependent on various psychological and physiological happenings the individual experiences.

One aspect, the psychological aspect, is to take into account the mental state of the individual, the personality traits, grooming and effects of the surrounding environment. An individual brought-up in an environment supporting drugs or a stressed environment that pressurizes an individual to take drugs for relief (which may be due to a childhood trauma or social separation), fundamentally programs the individual to rely on such sources of relief from distress, with regards to future stressful events.

However, such an episode does not occur independent of physiological associations. As described earlier, the individuals brain stress circuitry is somewhat altered (Arborelius, et al. 1999) in connection with affective and cognitive modifications from the environment.

When people are faced with stress, they tend to employ a certain coping strategy to counter it. Those that have a poor coping capability, when faced with chronic distress or childhood trauma, are at an increased risk of drug abuse.

Thus, alteration in mental status and physiological changes in support of it, promote drug abuse in individuals who have experienced childhood trauma and/or chronic distress.

Alcohol-related death and crime prevention the Swedish way

Sweden’s government-controlled alcohol stores and strict regulations help save lives, lower crime and cut down on sick days, according to a recent study by Stockholm University.

Swedish System

The Scandinavian country, which is regarded as a shining beacon of socialism, only sells alcohol above 2.25% alcohol by volume in the 400 government-run Systembolaget stores. The exception is beer with alcohol content up to 3.5%, which is sold in grocery stores throughout the country.

Systembolaget’s opening hours certainly are restrictive for anyone in need of a late night booze run. Its doors are closed all day Sunday, only open until 3p.m. Saturdays, 7p.m. Thursdays and 6p.m. on Fridays and the rest of the week, according to the study conducted by Thor Norstrom et. al.

Expensive booze

The cost of drinking in bars in Sweden is notoriously high too, even for visitors from London. The average price for a beer in a Stockholm bar is almost $8 as I’ve found to my cost– forcing many weekend revelers to party before heading out for the night.

Study’s Findings

Norstrom et. al’s study projected two scenarios in which Systembolaget’s monopoly over retail alcohol sales was broken and replaced with systems more commonly seen throughout the rest of the industrialized world.

If Systembolaget was replaced with 800 government-licensed speciality alcohol shops, the study said that alcohol consumption would increase by 17%, resulting in an annual increase of 770 alcohol-related deaths, 8,500 assaults, 2,700 drink driving offenses, and 4.5 million additional sick days in the country of a little more than 9 million people.

Even more startling were the study’s projections if Sweden’s grocery stores were allowed to sell all alcohol. As has been the case in Great Britain, the study said that fierce competition among the large chains would lead to lower prices.

Anarchy in the U.K.

British-daily newspaper, the Independent, recently reported that alcohol-related hospital admissions in the U.K. have risen by 825 a day in five years to almost a million. Cut-price alcohol sold by grocery stores and drinks deals in bars have been blamed for much of the damage.

The Stockholm University study said that if Sweden went the same route, it would expect an additional 2,000 deaths, 20,000 assaults, 660 drink driving offenses and 11.1 million extra days of sick leave per year.

Advertising

The study also pointed out the Systembolaget doesn’t advertise, but it seems likely that private retailers would. It cites a previous study by Saffer and Dhaval that said advertising of beer, wine or spirits raised consumption by 5%.

You Decide

In Sweden’s case it seems that government intervention, more than education has helped limit alcohol-related problems that have blighted equivalent countries in recent years.

In times where government control of any area of life is being fought by the right in the United States, Swedes make little fuss about government-controlled alcohol. The system works, but is it an abuse of peoples’ freedoms or the government performing its duty to benefit the majority?

How to Stop Drinking Alcohol Cold Turkey: Get and Stay Sober Without Alcoholics Anonymous

When you make the decision to finally quit drinking alcohol cold turkey, you have made the monumental decision to choose your health and well-being over addiction. Excessive alcohol consumption is socially acceptable drug abuse, and the habit can wreak havoc on a person’s body, organs, mind, and relationships. If you have arrived at a place in your life when you are ready to quit, your will and resolve will make it possible for you to quit on your own.

Admit to Yourself That You Have a Drinking Problem

If your drinking interferes with your daily life, your work, or your relationships, you have a drinking problem. You owe it to yourself to admit this to yourself. Once you have admitted this truth, you are ready to quit drinking cold turkey.

Quit Drinking Now

Heavy drinkers often make excuses that they can’t quit now. Excuses include the fact that they can’t quit because it’s the holidays, or because they are going through a stressful period in their life. The truth is nothing puts a body and mind under more stress than drug and/or alcohol abuse. Make the decision to begin an alcohol-free life now. If you have alcohol in your home, dispose of it all immediately.

Get Rid of Toxic Relationships

If you have friends with whom you drink, you need to rid your life of these people. Unless they are willing to embark on the journey to quit drinking alcohol cold turkey with you, you will need to stop spending time with them. These people are toxic to your mind and spirit, and could cause you to start drinking alcohol again.

Set Up a Support System

Talk to family members and friends who you think will be supportive of your decision to stop drinking cold turkey. Discuss with them your decision, and ask that they help you make it through this difficult time by being with you and occupying your mind and time.

Take Up New Relaxing Hobbies and Habits

A relaxed body creates a relaxed mind. Take up new hobbies that will help you relax your body and mind. Gentle exercises, like walking, Pilates, and yoga can be very beneficial while you quit drinking alcohol cold turkey. Start meditating daily, in order to clear your mind and help you resolve to maintain your new alcohol-free life. Relaxing, healthy hobbies like gardening, painting, or sculpting can help occupy your mind.

Additional Resources for Information on Staying Sober

This article should not be considered medical advice. Consult a physician before you stop drinking alcohol cold turkey, as your dependence may be psychological and physical.

Also, research the subject of how to quit drinking alcohol cold turkey without AA more in depth by checking out the following resources and sites:

  • How to Quit Drinking Without AA is a book by Jerry Dorsman (an addictions counselor and recovering alcoholic)
  • The Cult Called AA – by Paul Roasberry

The First Prohibition of Alcohol: Religious Temperance and Nativism Ban Drinking

Most Americans know that the prohibition of alcohol was a historic aberration from the 1920s and 1930s. Americans know much less about the prohibition era of the 1850s when thirteen states passed “dry” laws.

Religious Temperance

The crusaders of the 1840s and 1850s wanted government to take the lead in enforcing their religious agenda. They also organized themselves into large national organizations like the American Temperance Society. That the various temperance societies were able to become as large and powerful as they did is a testament to the passion of their rank-and-file membership. By 1836, the American Temperance Society claimed 1.5 million members, 10 percent of the country’s total population. The Society campaigned hard, telling employers that alcohol made workers less productive and telling women that alcohol made their husbands less reliable.

Technology Forwards the Prohibitionist Cause

Simultaneously, cities improved their drinking water, making it safer and better tasting. Previously, urban water sources were polluted and unhealthy. In New York, for example, many people drank spirits because the local water supply was so foul. Then New York began bringing water in from Croton, forty miles away, via a newly constructed aqueduct. A combination of the religious zeal and technological improvements helped the “cold water warriors” make headway. By 1845, Americans drank only about one quarter the amount of alcohol as 15 years earlier. Nevertheless, there was no sign that the state governments were preparing to impose and enforce prohibition.

Nativism as a Political Force

In the late 1840s, world events gave evangelical prohibitionists the answer to their literal prayers. A failed revolution in Germany and the Potato Famine in Ireland brought immigrants from those two countries to America. Both groups were known for their drinking habits. With the influx of hard drinking immigrants, the prohibitionists had what twenty-first century political analysts would have called “an issue.” Temperance became a patriotic issue. Germans and Irish were viewed as foreign and un-American. They lived in ethnic communities, celebrated different holidays, and flew their native flags.

The reactionary response came in the form of the American Party, or the Know-Nothings. The Know-Nothings were a political party whose platform was based completely on nativism, the mistrust of foreigners. They latched onto prohibition as a way to show the cultural differences between immigrants and natives and also as a way to shut down the Irish tavern and German biergartens, which had become key to incipient immigrant politics. The Know-Nothings’ apogee came in 1855, when they had six Governors elected.

The First Prohibition

The combination of well-organized religious enthusiasm and nativism was enough to gain what the prohibitionists sought. Maine was the first state to enact prohibition, in 1851. Finally, the people who worked so hard to stop the evils of drinking in America had a victory.

From 1852 to 1855, 12 more states passed prohibition laws. Not coincidentally, this time period matched precisely with the time in which the Know-Nothings enjoyed their rapid rise. In every state where the Know-Nothings gained a measure of power, a prohibition law was passed. The Know-Nothings and their nativist, prohibitionist message seemed to be gathering momentum, but events overcame them. We know that there was very little in the way of education of what alcoholism was or how to treat it. Certainly there was no “cure” for it as some people claim pills like Antabuse and others are.

The Civil War and the End of Prohibition

The idea of a unified, culturally monolithic America could not survive the Civil War. The Northern armies were reliant on immigrants to achieve the numerical superiority necessary to win the war, and once the Irish became comrades in arms it was difficult to demonize them. Moreover, the army followed in the tradition of American armies, and drank to excess. This helped revive the drinking culture, and lead to the repeal of prohibition in all but three New England states. Even there, it was largely ignored by the drinking masses. The Civil War ended the first era of prohibition in American history.