Medical Issues

Sunrise Ft. Lauderdale Opening Soon

These are drawings of our new Gold Coast facility, currently in the last phase of construction.

We will be opening in late Spring at 2331 N.E. 53rd Street, Ft. Lauderdale.  (954-491-9700).

 

Exercise helps strengthen addiction treatment recovery — Addiction Treatment Magazine

Research suggests that adding exercise in with addiction treatment might be a good way to increase and strengthen the effects on the path to recovery. When addicts are trying to recover from their addiction, their body and mind crave the endorphins that cause that “high” feeling. According to a recent Huffington Post article, exercise causes endorphins to be released into the body along with endocannabinoids, which both produce a natural high and therefore can help the individual cope better in their recovery. Read More…

Excessive Drinking Cost The U.S. $223.5 Billion In 2006

CDC.gov

Excessive alcohol consumption is known to kill about 79,000 people in the United States each year, but a new study released by the CDC and The Lewin Group shows that it also has a huge impact on our wallets as well.

Why are the blood alcohol limits for drivers so low? I can function perfectly well after a few beers.

Q.  Why are the blood alcohol limits for drivers so low?  I can function perfectly well after a few beers.

A. Alcohol, aside from its addictive qualities, also has a psychological effect that modifies thinking and reasoning…. — The American Medical Association, in an official statement issued July 31st, 1964

We now know that having a drink of alcohol inhibits the executive functions of our brains.  The inhibiting mechanisms that control judgement, decision-making, and overall self-control are the first things affected by alcohol.  That’s why we experience that feeling of “freedom” when we’ve had that first drink: the feeling that we can relax, that we don’t have to hold the reins quite so tightly, that enables us to be a little more daring, take a few more risks, makes us more handsome, more beautiful and wittier (at least in our own mind), and that convinces us that we can drive just fine, thank you very much.

The abilities to drive skillfully, operate machinery, and carry out other dangerous activities that require judgement, decision-making and self-control are the very first things that we lose when we drink.  As you can see from the table below, other critical skills aren't far behind.  Combine that with the poor judgement that can make driving seem like a good idea, and we have a recipe for potential disaster.

Blood alcohol limits are set where they are because long experience and tens of thousands of blood tests on drivers involved in crashes and other driving escapades have shown that higher levels greatly increase the potential for trouble.  It’s that simple.  We may believe that we can drive better after a few drinks but, recall that good judgement is the first thing to go.  For a similar reason, the legal drinking age is held at 21, because younger drivers have not yet developed the judgement skills needed to drive with maximum safety, and certainly don’t need further impairment.  (The physical skills associated with driving have nothing at all to do with judgement and emotional stability.)

In the table below, “‘The second column lists behavioral areas by the first BAC at which 50% of the behavioral tests indicated impairment. That is, the point at which the majority of behavioral tests showed impairment. Note that, with the exceptions of simple reaction time and critical flicker fusion, all driving-related skills exhibited impairment by 0.070 g/dl in more than 50% of tests.” [The table was simplified for easier interpretation. The original can be found at the link shown.]

BAC AND IMPAIRMENT, BY BEHAVIORAL AREA

Source: http://www.nhtsa.gov/people/injury/research/pub/Hs809028/Discussion.htm#Major

BAC
(g/dl)
First BAC at Which 50% or More of Behavioral Tests 

Indicated Consistent Impairment

0.100 Simple Reaction Time, Critical Flicker Fusion
0.090-0.099
0.080-0.089
0.070-0.079
0.060-0.069 Cognitive Tasks, Psychomotor Skills, Choice Reaction Time
0.050-0.059 Tracking
0.040-0.049 Perception, Visual Functions
0.030-0.039 Vigilance
0.020-0.029
0.010-0.019 Drowsiness
0.001-0.009 Divided Attention

In the case of alcoholics and other addicts who use drugs that depress the central nervous system, the risks are multiplied exponentially.  We become impaired even beyond others who have had a few drinks.  The ability of most alcoholics to “maintain” and appear relatively sober to others and themselves is a specific, learned behavior that does not translate to driving and other skills.  We learn to function in spite of being impaired.

There are countries where you can be put in jail for having car keys in your pocket if you’ve been drinking.  Our more reasonable DUI laws can be clearly shown to be not only for you own good but for that of everyone on the road.

Addiction Facts: Annual Cost of Addiction in US

The total cost of alcohol problems is $175.9 billion a year (compared to $114.2 billion for other drug problems and $137 billion for smoking).

This was more than 16 years ago, folks!

Economic costs of substance abuse, 1995. Dorothy P. Rice. Proceedings of the Association of American Physicians 111(2): 119-125. 1999.

Study stirs debate over transplants for alcoholics

CHICAGO (AP) – Some gravely ill alcoholics who need a liver transplant shouldn't have to prove they can stay sober for six months to get one, doctors say in a study that could intensify the debate over whether those who destroy their organs by drinking deserve new ones.  http://apnews.myway.com/article/20111109/D9QTGNI00.html

Questions From Newcomers: Is it possible to have a healthy life right after detox?

The smart-aleck answer to the question “Is it possible to have a healthy life right after detox” is “What…are you kidding?”  However, the straight answer is “What do you mean by ‘healthy?’”

When it comes to recovery, we speak of at least two kinds of health: physical, and emotional.  Some folks would add spiritual health (which has nothing to do with religion) to that list.  We need to remember that our bodies and minds were subject to the effects of chemicals more-or-less continuously for months — in most cases, for years.  Major changes took place due to the effects of drugs on our brains, as well as their effects on other body systems, especially in the case of alcohol.  It would be unreasonable to expect these changes to reverse and return to normal overnight.  Just as it took years to create the problems, so may it take months to recover from them.  The good news is that it rarely takes anywhere near as long for repairs as it took to do the damage, and improvements begin to show up relatively soon if we’re patient.

Our physical health depends on what condition we were when we came to detox (young, older, fit, couch potato, etc.), what residual effects we may experience from the drugs (post-acute withdrawal), and what other health problems we brought with us.  Many, if not most, addicts suffer from a variety of problems that can range from cirrhosis of the liver and/or viral hepatitis to diabetes, malnutrition, or general poor physical conditioning — often several issues of varying severity that need to be addressed.  Even those of us who styled ourselves athletes during our addiction may find that the reorganization of our internal chemistry leaves us with less get up and go than we figured, or that the drugs were covering up some condition that is revealed by a physical exam when we’re sober.  These things aren’t inevitable, but the possibility of some problems should be anticipated.

Mentally and emotionally, most of us addicts (alcohol is a drug, and alcoholics are addicts) find that for the first few weeks and months we run the gamut of emotions, from manic highs — where we believe recovery is the most wonderful thing that could happen to anyone — to bouts of depression and the thought “If this is all there is, I might as well use.”

But there is good news!  For one thing, though we may feel lousy, physically and emotionally, these things slowly improve if we stay clean and sober and work on a program of recovery.  Furthermore, we have the assurance that, even though it may seem as though it’s happening at a snail’s pace, people who remain abstinent and take care of themselves otherwise always improve eventually.  For us addicts, accustomed to feeling good in a matter of minutes whenever we feel like it, these periods may seem endless.  But they are not, and periods of feeling good eventually occur, increasing in frequency and quality as the repairs take place and we get back into the swing of living.

As time passes, we begin not only to feel better, but to think about getting back to what we perceive as our normal lives.  We want to clean up some of the messes we made, right some of the wrongs, find jobs, begin to save a little money, and try to earn the respect and trust of others.  These improvements are immensely aided by the support and help of other recovering people.  Put succinctly, people who go to meetings and develop a support system, learning to follow directions and do the next healthy thing, tend to recover if they persevere.  Those who don’t rarely remain clean and sober for long.

So the answer is that it is possible to live a healthier life immediately after detox.  A healthy life may be further down the road, but it is attainable.  Millions of people have gotten through the first weeks and months of abstinence, and achieved lasting sobriety.  The secrets are, first, to want it more than anything else, and second to stick with it and — as they say — wait for the miracle.