Does TRICARE Cover Alcohol Rehab?

If you’re struggling with an alcohol use disorder, you can be confident that your TRICARE insurance will cover treatment that will help get your life back on track. TRICARE covers several different types and levels of treatment for TRICARE enrollees.

However, like any insurance, your TRICARE coverage may vary specific to your plan type and location. 

Understanding Your TRICARE Alcohol Treatment Coverage

TRICARE will likely help cover expenses if a medical provider says treatment is a medical necessity — basically if your addiction affects your ability to function in everyday life, or if your withdrawal symptoms are so severe that you require medical assistance.

Like all insurance providers, TRICARE must meet standards established by the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Keep in mind that some plans, and some forms of treatment, require prior authorization.

The TRICARE Network

In-network alcohol substance abuse treatment providers have negotiated with TRICARE to establish an agreement for fair and reasonable pricing. However, you may be required to pay a small out-of-pocket deductible or co-pay. 

Some TRICARE plans, including TRICARE Select, Young Adult Select, Reserve Select, Prime Remote, and Family Health, offer members an option to select an out-of-network provider. If you’re covered by one of these plans and opt for out-of-network treatment, you may need to file individual claims, and you will probably pay higher out-of-pocket expenses. 

TRICARE Covers Various Levels of Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Your TRICARE plan may cover inpatient treatment for an alcohol use disorder.

  • If you need emergency inpatient treatment, TRICARE will cover detox, stabilization, and medications to help manage withdrawal and any medical complications that may arise. No referral or pre-authorization is required for emergency treatment; still, if you’re admitted for continued treatment, you’ll need authorization, and somebody must inform your regional contractor within 72 hours of admission.
  • Treatment is considered non-emergency if you seek treatment on your own. TRICARE will cover detox and stabilization and may help cover treatment for depression, PTSD, or other co-occurring mental health issues. Prior authorization and referrals are required for all non-emergency inpatient treatment or residential rehab. Your regional contractor can provide specifics on authorization requirements.

You may have access to various levels of outpatient treatment, depending on your level of need. In most cases, authorization isn’t required for outpatient treatment, but you may need a referral before you get started. 

  • Standard outpatient treatment is often suitable for people with less severe addiction, and typically involves one visit to a treatment provider per week. 
  • Intensive outpatient (IOP) typically involves about six hours of treatment per week, which may be during the day, or evenings, nights, or weekends. 
  • Partial hospitalization (PHP), also known as day treatment, is the most intensive outpatient treatment. It involves attendance five to seven days per week, up to eight hours per day, but you’ll go home every night. Partial hospitalization works well for people who need a higher level of care (but not full-time), or have completed inpatient treatment.

Can I Use My VA Health Care Benefits With TRICARE?  

Yes, you can use VA health care benefits along with your TRICARE plan; your TRICARE coverage doesn’t affect your VA healthcare benefits. The VA has behavioral healthcare programs in VA facilities across the United States, and most are TRICARE network providers. 

However, veterans are the primary beneficiaries of VHA, and care at VA facilities is available to TRICARE enrollees on a space-available basis. Check with your regional contractor or the representative at your local VA healthcare facility for specifics on how VA benefits and TRICARE coverage work together. Also, note that requirements for pre-authorizations and referrals aren’t necessarily the same. 

Don’t Wait to Get Started

We are proud to accept TRICARE at 1st Step Behavioral Health. Our treatment professionals will discuss your options and work with you to ensure you receive the best treatment for your particular needs. We can verify your benefits package immediately, and we’ll let you know if any prior authorizations are needed. Please pick up the phone and give 1st Step a call at 855-425-4846 or contact us online

Mixing Antidepressants and Alcohol

Why Mixing Antidepressants and Alcohol is Never a Good Idea

Antidepressants are often prescribed by a licensed professional to help individuals struggling with depression or other mental illnesses. When used as directed and under the right circumstances, antidepressants can be extremely beneficial and help people live better lives. When abused or mixed with mind-altering substances however, they can be an extreme danger to both the mental and physical health of an individual. This is why mixing antidepressants and alcohol is a very dangerous idea.

How do Antidepressants Work?

There are dozens of antidepressants and they differ in some ways. But the general intention of all of them is to control the hormones and chemicals in the brain and body that are responsible for mood and behavior. 

In general, antidepressants rewire the different circuits of neurotransmitters in the brain to create more of the positive chemicals and less of the negative. Serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine are some of the neurotransmitters responsible for our moods and behaviors. 

The amount of each of these chemicals released in the brain determines how we feel. Those who are lacking in these chemicals, and the result is often depression, anxiety, or a combination of both. Antidepressants increase these neurotransmitters which help the body function at more optimal levels. 

Side Effects of Antidepressants

The downside of antidepressants is that they can come with a whole host of side effects, some more severe than others. Everyone will have different experiences and some may not feel anything at all. It should be known, however, that since antidepressants affect brain chemicals, they also affect motor control and function. For this reason, it’s crucial to take them as prescribed and to alert your doctor if you feel any unwanted symptoms. 

Some of the side effects of common antidepressants include:

  • nausea
  • insomnia
  • dry mouth
  • blurred vision
  • constipation
  • dizziness
  • agitation
  • irritability
  • anxiety
  • fatigue and drowsiness
  • increased appetite and weight gain
  • loss of sexual desire and other sexual problems

Beyond these common side effects, some may experience more serious side effects including: 

  • Hallucinations
  • Severe mood swings
  • Hostility or aggressiveness
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • Anxiety, agitation, or panic attacks
  • Other unusual changes in behavior
  • Any unusual bleeding or bruising
  • Chest pain, dizziness, or fainting
  • Engaging in unusual or dangerous activities

Alcohol’s Effect on the Body

Many people drink safely and socially and do not have an addiction to alcohol. When used in moderation, alcohol has a slightly sedative and mood-boosting effect on the body. However, too much alcohol or frequent intake of alcohol can take a toll a pretty big health toll on anyone.  

Since alcohol affects the motor control and nervous system of the body, it can have reactions with other mind-altering substances. It can also lower your inhibitions and cause you to try other drugs you wouldn’t normally take when in a sober state of mind.

In general, alcohol lowers your ability to focus, make decisions, and maintain control of your basic motor functions (walking, talking, quick movements, etc)

Alcohol is absorbed into the blood, stomach, liver, and kidneys. The liver and kidneys are meant to flush out any natural toxins that come through the body but aren’t equipped to handle large amounts in a short period of time. For this reason, binge drinking can lead to severe liver and kidney damage.

Although these are long term side effects, there are many common short term side effects that you may experience. Some of them include:

  • Dizziness
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision impairment
  • Lack of coordination
  • Extreme shifts in mood
  • Memory lapses
  • Slowed breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting

Drinking Alcohol While Taking Antidepressants 

Any mixture of substances can cause dangerous side effects, and it’s strongly advised not to drink alcohol while taking antidepressants. For starters, alcohol makes depression worse and, if you are prescribed antidepressants, this is the last thing you want. 

The combination is also likely to increase symptoms of dizziness, nausea, brain fog or feeling “out of it”, and lower your coordination control. This combination could lead to physical accidents such as falling or slipping.

Depending on what kind of antidepressant you take, you could be at risk for a dangerous reaction. When combined with certain types of alcoholic beverages, antidepressants called monoamine oxidase inhibitors can cause a spike in blood pressure. 

Other types of antidepressants, such as SSRIs or Tricyclics will have a more sedative effect when taken while drinking alcohol. You should check with your doctor to make sure you know what reactions your medications could cause. 

Mixing Alcohol and Antidepressants: A Sign of Polysubstance Abuse

If drinking alcohol while taking antidepressants becomes a routine, you may be suffering from polysubstance abuse. While addiction is commonly referred to the dependence on one single substance, in cases of polysubstance abuse, individuals are addicted to the high they get from multiple substances. 

Abusing more than one substance is not only more dangerous and poses stronger health risks, but is also more complex to treat. If you find yourself mixing alcohol with antidepressants regularly, you may be suffering from a combination of alcoholism and pill addiction. Polysubstance abuse should be diagnosed by a medical professional and treated through an individualized program that addresses the mental and physical aspects of both addiction and alcoholism. 

When Alcohol Co-occurs with Depression

While some cases are that of polysubstance abuse, others are considered co-occuring conditions. In these cases, the individual is not mixing substances in order to get a desired high. Instead, they are using alcohol to cope with their depression. 

Alcohol will make any person’s depression worse. Not only will it cause their physical body to function at less than optimal levels, but their emotions will also be thrown off. Alcohol may seem to boost your mood at first, but that’s only in very small doses. Drinking too much alcohol strips your body of the necessary enzymes, hormones, and chemicals that keep our “good mood” signals flowing. 

Alcohol is also one of the most difficult substances to recover from. The reason being that detox can pose fatal side effects and should always be done under the supervision of a licensed professional. Some of the side effects of alcohol withdrawal include:

  • Fever
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Confusion
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heavy Sweating

If you’re using alcohol to cope with depression, the side effects of withdrawal could make your depression worse and trigger you to keep drinking. This is a dangerous spiral, so avoiding alcohol altogether while taking antidepressants is best. 

If you do become addicted to alcohol while trying to cope with depression, it’s important you seek professional help for both conditions and not just one. 

Who is at Risk For Alcohol and Antidepressant Use?

Those with family history: Anyone with a history of alcoholism is at higher risk for abusing alcohol themselves. In many cases, a co-occurring mental health history is present, making them more likely to abuse antidepressants as well. 

Those with depression: Anyone suffering from depression is at a greater risk of abusing both substances. Whether they are looking to cope with alcohol, are prescribed antidepressants and only intended to drink moderately, this combination often results in abuse for those with depression symptoms. 

Those who experiment with drugs: People who experiment with drugs often, whether for social or personal reasons, have a greater chance of mixing antidepressants with alcohol and experiencing their unwanted symptoms. 

Treatment For Alcohol and Antidepressant Use

Co-occurring alcohol abuse and depression call for special treatment at a professional facility. When polysubstance abuse is diagnosed, each substance needs to be addressed individually so that the body is properly detoxed and the emotional aspects of both are equally cared for. 

Doctors need to figure out which condition started first and how each one ties into the person’s life. Treating one substance abuse without understanding why the two co-occur will not result in true recovery.

Treatment Options

Once you find a professional treatment center, detox is always the first step. This is the most important step in drug rehab as the body needs to be completely flushed of any substances or toxins related to the substance. Without a successful detox, the body will still be functioning to some degree on the substance. Detox should be completed in a medical facility under the supervision of professionals, especially in the case of alcohol withdrawal. 

Seeking treatment at a professional rehabilitation center will offer the individual the benefit of all the services needed to recover in one place under the supervision of licensed professionals.  Since alcohol poses life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, it’s important to find a good program with experienced medical staff. Some of the services you can expect to receive in treatment for polysubstance abuse and co-occurring disorders include:

  • Medication
  • Behavioral counseling
  • Nutritional Counseling
  • Coping Skills Courses 
  • Acupuncture/ Yoga/ Meditation
  • Long-term follow-up to prevent relapse
  • Medical devices and applications used to treat withdrawal symptoms or deliver skills training
  • Evaluation and treatment for co-occurring mental health issues such as depression and anxiety

Talk therapy options such as Cognitive Behavioral or ACT (acceptance and commitment therapy) help individuals remap their thinking patterns and create healthy coping mechanisms to get through difficult life periods. for helping people overcome their habits and thinking patterns that lead to substance abuse. The ability to rewire the brain’s way of thinking and perceiving situations will offer powerful tools to cope with difficult situations and remain drug-free for good.

Additionally, adding holistic treatment options such as art therapy, acupuncture, yoga, and mediation will help address the individual as a whole. Treating the body and mind at the same time will help those suffering from alcohol abuse and depression understand how they can heal themselves without substances. 

Seeking Professional Help 

Asking for help isn’t easy, but if you suspect you are abusing alcohol, antidepressants, or both at the same time, finding a treatment center that’s right for you is crucial. The sooner you seek help, the sooner you start your journey to recovery. Give us a call here at 1st Step Behavioral Health to learn how we can assist you today.

Secondhand Drinking and its Harm to Others

Secondhand Drinking and its Harm to Others

Everyone has heard of secondhand smoking, but not many are as familiar with secondhand drinking. This particular terminology refers to the effects that one’s drinking has on others including (but not limited to) physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse, blackouts, unpredictable behavior, and driving under the influence. There are many dangers that secondhand drinking has on others, and it is imperative to examine the extent of its impact on so many. 

By The Numbers

As far as the number of those who have been impacted by secondhand drinking, it is estimated that nearly 75 million Americans have suffered. This includes parents, spouses, children, siblings, grandparents, friends, and partners. There are more people who have been victims of secondhand drinking than some may believe. The worst part about all of this is that it is rarely talked about. 

Concerning the world outside of the United States, there are many areas that have been impacted greatly by the effects of secondhand drinking. In Australia, 75% of all adults were impacted negatively by someone else’s drinking in the span of only a year. 

Secondhand Drinking and Toxic Stress 

Fight-or flight is what is referred to when someone is experiencing a great amount of distress and either instinctually fights through or runs away from conflict. Fight-or-flight is critical to one’s survival; when this sort of system is activated repeatedly, toxic stress happens.  The question remains though, what does this have to do with secondhand drinking?

Fear and anger are referred to as danger-producing emotions, and they trigger stress hormones that help people fight or run away. Most people know these hormones as adrenaline or cortisol. There is a great deal of stress that comes with a loved one being addicted. The way they act when they are drunk may trigger a fight-or-flight response from those who are secondhand drinking victims. This trigger has the potential to bleed into other areas of their lives, causing unwanted stress.

Secondhand Drinking: How Alcoholism Affects Others 

There are many monstrous dangers of alcoholism in the lives of others. If the loved one of an addict is suffering from secondhand drinking, they may be experiencing the following:

  • Strained family relationships
  • Financial difficulty
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Hopelessness
  • Trust issues
  • Anger
  • Irritability

It’s hard to discern as to whether or not someone can avoid secondhand drinking altogether, but there are actually ways to do so, as impossible and unpredictable as it may seem. Being able to identify alcoholism in even its earliest stages can help streamline the process of getting someone help, making their chances of a successful recovery more likely. 

What is Alcoholism?

It can be best described as an insurmountable desire to drink alcohol in excessive amounts. Alcoholism is an extremely dangerous form of substance abuse. When someone constantly takes one drink and cannot stop after that, they’re probably suffering from alcoholism. Most of the time, all alcoholics can think about is when they’ll get their next drink. This makes them want alcohol even more over time.

When substances are used, the pleasure center in the brain is triggered. Because of this, one’s desires and judgment become distorted. When this happens, over time, desires will become more and more difficult to satisfy. To Take it a step further, substance use becomes the top priority when cravings cannot be satisfied elsewhere. 

Due to the fact that substance use becomes the top priority, addiction has a destructive impact on family life. Most people who are addicted to substances neglect their loved ones and place their own needs above the needs of others. This is perhaps most transparent in the area of finances. 

There’s no question that substance use is expensive, but if someone is addicted, financial difficulties may intensify. To put into perspective as to just how destructive financial burdens can be, one of the leading causes of divorce is centered around monetary disagreements. This gives dependency a dangerous edge when it comes to the survival of some families’ stability. Addiction can destroy families, marriages, careers, and friendships. This is why recognizing alcoholism is imperative to one’s recovery journey. 

How to Tell If You Suffer from Alcoholism

Though it may be difficult to recognize the signs of alcoholism in someone due to blind spots and partial bias, asking the question is a good place to start. Once someone is willing to accept the truth and ask the right questions, the signs of alcoholism will be much easier to recognize. 

Signs of Alcoholism

Someone who suffers from alcoholism may display the following symptoms:

  • Consistent lying
  • Consistent drunkenness
  • Lack of interest in activities
  • Lack of self-control
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability

The fear of calling out a disease for what it is is difficult. This is because as soon as you do so, it makes you vulnerable and susceptible to discomfort. Fear is a dangerous enemy; it leads people towards anger and denial, which is the enemy of progress. For those who desire to guide a loved one towards sobriety, it is imperative to show them love, grace, and understanding. This is the most effective and efficient way to approach someone who suffers from substance use disorder. 

Why Do Others Turn to Alcoholism/Addiction?

Some reasons that someone may turn to addiction include the following:

  • Depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Anxiety
  • Peer pressure
  • Marital problems
  • Emotional abuse
  • Physical abuse
  • Self-confidence issues

It is immensely crucial to remember that alcoholism doesn’t just randomly show up; there are many reasons why people turn to alcoholism. It doesn’t just happen when someone randomly decides they want a drink. This is why it is so important to figure out what is causing the substance abuse, and not just nitpick at the symptoms in an ignorant manner. 

Substance Abuse Treatment Options

For those who are suffering from secondhand drinking, finding treatment for their loved ones who are suffering from alcoholism may be the best thing they can do for all parties involved. Luckily, there are many treatment options that provide those suffering the best opportunity available to recover successfully. 

Inpatient Treatment

Used for treating more severe cases of addiction, inpatient treatment is a residential program in which those who participate stay in a treatment facility for a prolonged amount of time. This rehab option allows patients weekly access to professionally licensed therapists and psychiatrists, as well as 24/7 access to professional medical personnel. As far as the length of this program is concerned, it could last anywhere from 28 days to six months. 

Outpatient Treatment

Lasting anywhere from 3 months to over a year, outpatient treatment programs allow patients anywhere between 10-12 hours of weekly access to professionally licensed therapists and psychiatrists. This treatment option is for those who only suffer from mild cases of addiction, or for those who need a stepping stone between addiction treatment and the outside world. 

Those who participate find themselves in a more convenient spot than those who participate in inpatient treatment programs. This is because of the fact that those who are involved in an outpatient treatment program are able to reside in the comfort of their own homes. This provides patients with only minimal disruption to their daily lives. 

Detox Treatment

Substance abuse withdrawal is a dangerous part of recovery; there are many who suffer from intensified withdrawal symptoms. Because of this, it is imperative that those who require detox treatment are recovering the right way. Oftentimes, those who are trying to detox on their own fail because they aren’t taking the correct precautions when it comes to coping. This is why medically assisted treatment (MAT) is vital to the success of many in rehab. MAT provides patients with treatment that allows them to recover with medicine that subsides withdrawal symptoms. This takes recovery from difficult to comfortable. 

There is Help for Those Who Need It

Though not many people are familiar with it, secondhand drinking is a real consequence of substance abuse. The effects that one’s drinking has on others including (but not limited to) physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse, blackouts, unpredictable behavior, and driving under the influence are astronomical; some don’t even realize just how their addiction is impacting the ones they love most. There are many dangers that secondhand drinking has on others, and it is imperative to get help for those who are causing it.

There are recovery options available for those who are suffering from substance abuse, no matter who they are or where they come from. At 1st step, our philosophy is to treat these individuals with the best care available in order that they might recover to their full potential. There is no cookie-cutter addiction treatment formula. Every individual that seeks help is unique and their treatment should reflect this. Whether they suffer from mild or severe addiction, they still need help that will give them the best chance of success. If you or a loved one are suffering from substance abuse, you can contact us here.

Signs of a Weekend Alcoholic

8 Signs of a Weekend Alcoholic

A weekend alcoholic is a person who typically only drinks on the weekends. However, their weekend drinking is easily characterized as binge drinking, or drinking heavily. 

What is an alcoholic? Do alcoholics have jobs? Do alcoholics drink from dawn to dusk? Most alcoholics do have jobs, and unlike the myth, they generally do not drink all day and all night long. 

An alcoholic may just start with one drink, and then eventually, it leads to more and more until it becomes out of control. Alcoholism has many variations, including weekend alcoholism. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we can help.

Drinking too much at the end of the week may stereotypically be seen as a release, but it is harmful to your body. You can experience trouble sleeping. During that little time, consuming a lot of alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning or, in some instances, a coma. Prolonged drinking can cause liver problems and other health problems.  

With weekend drinking, it is possible to become dependent or addicted. People who drink only on weekends may not find a reason to get the help they need, or they may even deny themselves help and self-care.

Approximately 1/10 of people in the US struggle with alcoholism. About 33% of people across America drink excessively. Many people wonder, when is it still casual and when is too much?

1. The Inability to Stop After One Drink

One sign you may be a weekend alcoholic is not being able to stop drinking after one drink. Your body starts to crave a second, third, and fourth drink. Some weekend alcoholics do not even realize how much they do drink in such a short period of time. If this is the case for you, it might be wise to take an assessment of your alcohol consumption at this time.

2. Justifying a Reward by Using Alcohol

Another way you may be a weekend alcoholic is by using alcohol as your reward system. We all have occasions to celebrate, whether it is a wedding or a promotion. One way to avoid weekend binge drinking is redirecting your reward to celebrate in a different way. This can include buying yourself something you wanted. Another way you can celebrate is to go to a show or even dinner. Taking a trip would be a big reward to celebrate a huge victory in your life.

3. The Guilt Compounds with Drinking

The feeling of guilt the day after is a sign you could be a weekend alcoholic. Knowing you set a goal to only drink one or two drinks, and then you end up drinking heavily the whole weekend, makes you ashamed. If you are disappointed in yourself for drinking too much, there are ways to combat this. It can be as simple as learning to enjoy your days off without alcoholic beverages.

4. Being Sober vs. Drinking: Do You Act Differently?

If drinking causes you to act differently than you would when you are sober, you may be a weekend alcoholic. If you say or do something you would not normally do, it might be a sign of a problem. If drinking helps you with your shy nature, this could be a sign of a problem. When alcohol helps with stress is another indication of a problem. If alcohol helps you in social situations and with anxiety, this might be an indication of a weekend alcoholic. It may also be an indication of a bigger issue you are trying to self-medicate. When dealing with stress and anxiety, let us here at 1st Step Behavioral Health help you get the help you need.

5. Risking Family and Friends

With weekend binge drinking, you may be risking your relationships. You may be avoiding friends or family due to your drinking. Close family and friends can realize there is a problem. At some point, your relationships will suffer, and you have to decide what is more important to you. Which will you choose your relationships or your weekend binge drinking?

6. Risking Job Goals for Drinking

The fact that you risk your job advancement could be another indication that you are a weekend alcoholic. Weekend binge drinking can cause problems at work. An indication of weekend binging is calling in sick on Mondays. Whether you are calling in sick every once in a while, or every Monday, it will affect your job, and job performance. If you go in on Monday but feel horrible, this too will affect your job and job performance. 

7. When Drinking Consumes Your Thoughts

Let’s face it, everyone looks forward to the weekend. Drinking does not have to be a part of that. There is a problem when it consumes your thoughts. When you are looking forward to the weekend to drink can be another indication you are a weekend alcoholic. When the thought of drinking or getting to the weekend to drink consumes you, there is a possibility of a problem. 

8. To Maintain a Slight Buzz

When all weekend long, you slowly sip on alcoholic beverages to maintain a slight high is an indication of a weekend alcoholic. Many weekend alcoholics will continuously sip on alcoholic beverages to maintain their buzz. If you are looking at your weekends as an opportunity to drink from the time you wake-up, until bedtime, it is possible you are a weekend alcoholic.

Acceptance of Alcohol and Stereotypes of an Alcoholic

The acceptance of alcohol makes it easier for someone to become a weekend alcoholic. Since alcohol is so socially acceptable, it does take away the stigma of becoming an alcoholic. Alcohol is at every celebration, whether it is a new job or a wedding, alcohol is there to celebrate with you.

Stereotypes also make it harder to determine what is an alcoholic. They are not the bumbling idiots always falling, as seen on T.V. This stereotype makes it a lot harder to assess if someone is an alcoholic or not.

There are people who function quite well while drinking. They are called functioning alcoholics. A functioning alcoholic can hide their weekend binges. These people are good at pulling the wool over their loved one’s eyes and the people who are close to them. They can function at work, and their family lives are doing fine. There is still a reason to be concerned. 

A functioning alcoholic can, to their demise, can turn into a non-functioning alcoholic. This can happen gradually. At some point, the weekend alcoholic needs more and more alcohol to get the same pleasure as they did when they first started to drink.

A person who is a weekend alcoholic might be hard to detect. The person themselves may not even realize that they are a weekend alcoholic. They might reason with themselves thinking it is “self-deserved.” They feel like they have worked hard all week, and they deserve to drink. Another thought is, how can I be an alcoholic? I only drink on weekends? I deserve to let my hair down and have a drink. This thought process can impede a person from getting the necessary help they need.

How to Stop Weekend Drinking

Here are some simple ways to help end the weekend drinking binge:

  • One way to keep from binge drinking on the weekend is to stay busy. Some ideas are reading, playing video games, entertaining, or cooking for someone special.
  • Another way to break the chain of weekend alcoholism is to work over the weekend. Not only will working keep your mind off alcohol, but it will also score points with your boss.
  • Another good way to have a healthy weekend is to exercise. Exercising helps release endorphins, which helps you feel good. Some great exercising tips are walking, running, hiking trails, water or snow skiing, playing a sport, and going to the gym. Being active not only releases endorphins, but it will also keep your mind off alcohol.
  • A great way to keep up with health and kick the weekend binge drinking is by eating healthy and taking care of yourself. This may include taking the necessary vitamins to stay healthy.
  • Doing something that really gives you joy, like being outside or going to the beach, is another idea to stop weekend binging.
  • A great start to end weekend binge drinking is to avoid places that have alcohol.
  • Another great tip for kicking the weekend binge drinking is not to hang out with people who trigger you to drink. People who drink excessively may be a downfall to your success going alcohol-free. People who irritate you may make you want to drink.
  • If a loved one needs help abstaining from drinking and will not do it on their own, have an intervention. An intervention is a small gathering of people who love the person struggling with addiction. They help let the person know they are there for them.  
  • If you or a loved one needs help to quit drinking alcohol, getting professional help is always a good idea.

Get More Information

It is important for you to get all the facts on any disease involving alcohol. Knowledge is the first step towards recovery. Know your needs, and what types of programs are available for you. If you or a loved one is struggling with weekend binge drinking, contact us at 1st Step Behavioral Health. You will be glad you did.

College Binge Drinking

College Binge Drinking: Statistics and Treatment

Drinking in college is almost as common as changing your socks daily. For many, drinking in college is a rite of passage. Everyone has the story of the first time they drank too much in college or how they can’t drink certain liquors anymore because they got sick from drinking too much of it too many times. Thanks to how it is portrayed on TV and in movies and the so-called “party culture”, drinking in college has become a regular part of the entire college experience along with going to class and living in dorm rooms.

Unfortunately, binge drinking isn’t as innocent as it’s made out to be. Binge drinking can cause major health and safety problems and can even lead to alcohol addiction later in life. In this blog, we will take an in-depth look at college binge drinking as well as ways you can get help for alcohol addiction.

What Exactly Is “Binge Drinking”?

Binge drinking is defined as any type of excess drinking of alcohol over a short period of time. If a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is about a .08, they are legally considered to be drunk in most states. If that level was reached in under 2 hours, then binge drinking was the culprit. While it varies based on body composition, it takes the average male 5 drinks to reach a .08 BAC while it takes the average female 4 drinks to reach that same BAC. 

Over the years, binge drinking has become more and more common. According to a survey conducted by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, two out of every five college students binge drank at least once in the two weeks prior to the survey. That means that almost half of the college students in the United States has binge drank at least once in their college careers. While for the majority of those students’ binge drinking is just a way to have fun with friends, it can have very dangerous consequences that many don’t think about until it is too late.

What Are Some of the Consequences of Binge Drinking?

While most college students think that the worst thing that happens if they drink too much is they get sick and throw up or they wake up in the morning with a hangover, those are actually the least consequential results of a night of heavy drinking. Even if you are one of the few who never really drank in college or never binge drank, chances are you still felt the effects of binge drinking in some way. 

Here are some examples of some potentially severe consequences that can happen as a result of binge drinking:

Poor School Performance

Drinking too much can not only take an adverse effect on your body, but it can also negatively affect your academic performance. Students may choose to drink instead of studying, doing their homework, or even going to class. In addition, the effects of drinking too much, like a hangover, can not only have an adverse effect at the time but also can affect performance the next day or even several days down the line.

Roughly 25% of all college students have reported negative academic consequences as a result of drinking. Considering the cost of college and how important each class is towards graduating, performing poorly academically due to drinking can end up costing thousands of dollars and prolong the amount of time it takes to get through school.

Bodily Harm

Drinking tends to affect a person’s ability to make wise, calculated decisions. Drinking might hinder a person’s ability to think clearly or it might even make it tougher for the body to feel things, both physically and emotionally. As a result, bodily harm is unfortunately way too common amongst college students that drink heavily. In some cases, the injury will be minor like a cut or a scrape or even some bruising. Unfortunately, major injuries can occur as a result of too much drinking like concussions, broken bones, paralysis, or even death.

Each year, nearly 600,000 college students unintentionally injure themselves in some way as a result of binge drinking. Almost 2,000 students die from drinking-related injuries. For those suffering from depression or anxiety, excessive alcohol consumption can lead to suicidal thoughts or even acts of self-harm. Nearly 2% of college students have admitted to attempting to commit suicide due to heavy drinking.


Since alcohol lowers a person’s inhibitions and alters their judgment, not only is accidental injury more common when alcohol is involved, but so is assault. Close to 700,000 students are assaulted by someone who had been drinking prior to the assault taking place on a yearly basis. This can be a sexual assault or a physical assault. Nearly 100,000 are the victim of an alcohol-related sexual assault.

Sexual assault has become more and more common amongst college students. One person will notice that another person has been drinking a lot, in many cases too much, and take advantage of that person because they can not defend themselves due to their inebriation. Sexual assault not only has lasting emotional effects but physical ones as well. Sexual assault can lead to unwanted pregnancies, STDs, and physical injuries.

Committing a Crime

As we have mentioned in all the other examples so far, alcohol changes the way people think and act. While people know what is right and wrong and what is legal and illegal when they are sober, when they are drunk those thoughts may not creep into their mind when they are thinking of doing something. Common alcohol-related crimes that college students commit include vandalism, property damage, and driving under the influence. Sometimes, alcohol-related crimes can be very serious and lead to significant jail time. Those can include battery, kidnapping, and homicide.

Health Issues

For most people, the negative health effects associated with binge drinking do not appear immediately. For many people, they might start to develop health issues as a result of their college drinking much later in life. However, that is not always the case. In fact, every year more than 150,000 college students develop some type of alcohol-related health issue. Common alcohol-related health issues include liver damage, high blood pressure, and inflammation of the pancreas. In extreme cases, binge drinking can lead to major permanent health problems such as brain damage or even death. In addition, those who drink heavily in college are more likely to develop alcohol dependence or even addiction when they get older. 

Why Do College Students Binge Drink?

While everyone has a different reason for why they binge drink, for most people it’s a way to go out and have fun with friends or even meet new people. Thanks in part to the way our society has accepted the “party culture” of college and even portray it in a positive light in tv and movies, many people go to college expecting to drink and drink heavily.

Some students turn to alcohol as a way to combat their feelings of loneliness, depression, or even homesickness. For many students, college is the first time they are truly on their own and not constantly around their parents. As a result, they might turn to alcohol for a feeling of comfort, or to numb the emotional pain of being away from home. Other “popular” reasons for binge drinking include:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Insecurity
  • A desire to fit in
  • Relationship problems

What is the Connection Between Binge Drinking and Addiction?

While every person that drinks won’t automatically become addicted to alcohol, it can happen and happens more frequently then you might think. For many college students, they enjoy their time drinking. They might feel less stressed or not quite as lonely or even more well-accepted. For others, they might enjoy the feeling they get when drinking so much that they continue to chase it. Eventually, it could even get to a point where the student in question may feel like they can’t participate in social events normally, or feel normal during the day, without drinking alcohol. While the dependency might start and end with alcohol, studies have shown that people that find themselves suffering from alcohol dependency or addiction are more likely to get hooked on other substances such as prescription drugs or other types of illicit substances.

Getting Help for Binge Drinking

While binge drinking in college may seem harmless enough, it can have long-lasting consequences that affect not only you, but also those around you. If you or someone you know drinks too much and you think they might have a problem, the worst thing you can do is turn a blind eye to it. At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we know that drinking too much can have significant adverse effects on the health and well-being of both the drinker and those close with the drinker. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs including alcohol treatment.

wine moms

Is Wine Culture Normalizing Alcoholic Moms?

You’ve probably heard and seen the sayings on coffee mugs and tote bags.

  • “Mommy needs her juice.”
  • “I wine because my kids whine.”

Companies have created wine spouts that mothers can hide in their purses, and there are internet memes that show “wine mom starter packs.” These may seem like jokes to the general public, but alcoholic mothers are becoming more common due to the promotion of wine mom culture. We’ll break down wine moms, wine mom culture and the effects of alcoholic mothers on children.

What is Wine Mom Culture?

Although it’s a relatively new term, wine mom culture refers to the growing number of “wine moms” who encourage drinking to escape from the daily stresses of parenthood. It also encourages alcohol use for coping with these stresses through internet memes and household products. Not all women who are part of the wine mom culture are alcoholic mothers, but many do suffer from alcohol abuse and can become alcoholics. 

Wine mom culture exploded in the late 2000s with the rise of social media, which has allowed people with common interests to discuss them on a far-reaching online platform from the comfort of their homes. Early signs of the wine mom culture movement could be seen in 2009 with the formation of the 713,000-member strong Facebook group “Moms Who Need Wine.” Here, mothers share stories, articles, and memes on how raising children can be difficult and requires heavy drinking to cope. 

There are also hundreds of hashtags related to wine mom culture on Instagram, including #WineMom (58,700 posts), #MamaNeedsADrink (45,300 posts) and #MommyJuice (30,200 posts). Many of these posts show moms holding a glass and making jokes about how they need to unwind with some alcohol at the end of a long day.

“Wine has become normalized, expected and then reinforced by popular culture, social media, and advertising,” said Gabrielle Glaser, author of “Her Best Kept Secret: Why Women Drink — and How They Can Regain Control.”

Social media is not the only channel responsible for making wine mom culture as popular as it is today. Movies and TV shows such as “Poms,” “Bad Moms” and “Mom” have perpetuated it and made it a normal and acceptable part of society. As a result, the wine mom culture is virtually in line with binge drinking.

Wine Mom Culture and Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is already a dominant feature of American culture, as seen in the media and on college campuses around the country. The NIAAA defines binge drinking as four drinks for women and five drinks for men in about two hours.

Wine mom culture has become a form of binge drinking, and this coupled with the many social references to it has made it accepted throughout society. 

Consuming one or two glasses of wine each night isn’t considered dangerous. However, women who are consuming more than three to four glasses a day may not realize that this could pose a danger to themselves or the people around them. What may start as only hving a few glasses of wine a day could turn into a serious issue.

Why Alcoholic Mothers Drink

Drinking womanIn these cases, wine moms can find it helpful to drink and “take the day off.” Many moments in parenting can be considered blessngs, but other, more stressful times can cause moms (and dads) grief and stress. Why do mothers turn to alcohol in these moments?

According to Psychology Today, there are a few primary reasons why alcoholic mothers drink.

  • Instant gratification and stress relief: Alcohol can provide an immediate reward for mothers who are struggling to raise children at home.
  • Lack of support: If alcoholic mothers can’t find a babysitter or affordable daycare when needed, they may feel the need to drink.
  • Not enough “me time”: Moms may not find time for self-care while they’re looking after their children.
  • Rebellion: Drinking is an exciting experience for many. Once a woman reaches motherhood, she has to take on more responsibilities, leaving less time for being spontaneous and irresponsible.
  • Mental health issues: Mothers who suffer from depression or anxiety are at an even higher risk of becoming alcoholics. They may drink wine to self-medicate and temporarily ease their pain.

Mothers who drink frequently can develop many physical and psychological problems, which in turn can affect their spouses and children.

In 2019, Harmony Hobbs, a mom of three from Louisiana, realized that she was becoming an alcoholic mother. She ran a blog called “Modern Mommy Madness,” which had many followers and discussed the hardships of parenting. After becoming a stay-at-home mom, she started out drinking about two glasses of wine per day, but at her peak, that number increased to a bottle and a half of wine per day. When she would get angry, she would take her emotions out on her children and her husband, Robbie.

While filming a YouTube series with Hobbs called “The Mom Cave,” friend Audrey Hayworth noticed that Hobbs was drinking more than she was during filming, and she let her know. Afterward, Hobbs realized that her wine drinking was getting out of hand. In a subsequent video with Hayworth, she announced her addiction to their thousands of followers, and she then made her blog into one about her recovery from alcoholism. 

Hobbs later found a “sober curious” movement, which included many alcoholic mothers recovering from their addiction and rejected the wine mom culture. Through this supportive community, Hobbs found the resolve and strength to stay sober. Since quitting drinking, Hobbs has found that she feels better each day and that she has found herself again.

Alcoholic Mothers and Children

Children of alcoholic parents also suffer. Studies show that children who have one or more alcoholic parents are twice as likely to suffer from substance abuse themselves. According to a 2012 study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than 10 percent of children in the U.S. live with a parent with alcohol problems.

If children see that their mothers are using wine as a way to cope with stress, they may turn to this as they grow up as well. Children of alcoholic mothers may also have to take on the role of parent: If a mom is unable to shop for groceries after binge drinking, a child may have to take over that responsibility. When more of these added responsibilities pile up, they can cause stress for a child and lead them to practice destructive behaviors to cope as they get older.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 12 percent of women report binge drinking three times a month, averaging on five drinks per binge. Some harmful physical effects of drinking on alcoholic mothers include liver failure, heart disease, brain damage and, later in life, cancer. When a mother develops physical issues related to alcoholism, it can be hard on her children and the rest of her family.

How Can Alcoholic Mothers Cope With Stress Without Drinking?

These can include:

  • Reading a book
  • Taking a long bath
  • Volunteering
  • Exercising
  • Scheduling a date night

If you’re a mom who is burnt out, it may seem easiest to turn to wine to relieve stress. However, there are several activities you can do that don’t involve drinking alcohol that will ultimately benefit you and your family in the long term. 

Another healthy way to cope with the stress of parenting that doesn’t involve drinking is journaling or documenting your progress on social media. Moms who are active on social media may find that following inspirational accounts can help them on their journey to recovery. For as many wine mom accounts that are on Instagram, there are almost as many that promote sober parenting: Michelle Smith of @recoveryisthenewblack_, Celeste Yvonne of @theultimatemomchallenge and Harmony Hobbs of @modernmommymadness. 

Changing mindsets can also be helpful. If “wine moms” slowly look more at the blessings of being a parent more than the stressors, they can look at their lives differently and see how wonderful being a parent can be. Once moms realize that having children is something to treasure rather than “getting in the way” of their lives, their motivation to stay sober for their families and themselves can increase.

Creating a daily routine that is regular and stable can be beneficial to you and your family as well. When you have predictability and stability in your life, alcoholic mothers are less likely to relapse and stray away from daily tasks.

There is no shame in asking for help and support, either. Spouses, significant others, parents, and friends can offer guidance and step in if alcoholic mothers need a hand with childcare.

Get Help Today

If you are a mother who is struggling with alcoholism or alcohol abuse, you don’t have to go through it alone. Our team of professionals can lead you on the right path. If you’re looking for ways to curb your wine-drinking habit, 1st Step is here to help. To learn more about our comprehensive treatment for alcoholism, call 855-425-4846.


What About Your Needs? How Family Members of Alcoholics Can Find Support

If you are the loved one of an alcoholic, you know these are not easy shoes to wear. Over 14 million Americans suffer from alcohol abuse or alcoholism. That is one is 13 adults who have issues related to alcohol. 

Not only are these astounding numbers of people who are alcoholics. it also means huge numbers of people who love and care for them are facing the challenges of their alcoholism.  

If you are a loved one of an alcoholic, you need to know some important things you should do. Take a look at these ideas in dealing with the struggles you faced because your loved one is an alcoholic.

Address and Discuss the Problem

The first step is addressing the problem. Find a time to talk with your loved one about their alcohol use. This should not be a time when they have already been drinking. Make every attempt to avoid being confrontational, but instead, try to raise the concern over their alcohol use. 

Ask them to address their problem. See if they are willing to recognize they have an issue. They have to be willing to do something or get the help you can’t do that for them 

At the same time, don’t ignore the problem in front of you. If you have been dealing with someone’s alcohol abuse you know they might resist the discussion to get help. Keep trying by showing your love and concern, reiterating your desire for them to get help.

Even they don’t want to get help. Get it for yourself through treatment or support. 

Don’t Enable the Alcoholics Bad Habits

Resist acting as an enabler to your loved one’s bad habits or addiction. It is understandable to feel embarrassed by their actions.

Do not lie for them or cover up their actions as this only supports them continuing. If you want them to see the consequences of their actions, you cannot be the one covering those up. 

Of course, do not buy alcohol for them. Don’t let them convince you it’s okay for them to have a drink or to celebrate with alcohol. 

You cannot fix their behavior. So it’s important to continue to ask them to seek help. 

Set Boundaries

You may not be able to stop the alcoholic in your life from drinking. You can make clear what you will tolerate by establishing boundaries and sticking to them no matter how hard it becomes. 

These boundaries can be as simple as refusing to tell lies for them when they are abusing alcohol. It might mean you need to take steps to protect your finances so the addicted person doesn’t affect your financial future. 

Of course, you must protect yourself if the alcoholic if abusive. You need to take action to protect yourself if you are at risk of any type of abuse.

Educate Yourself About Addiction

This is so important in the process of recovery for everyone involved. You need to learn about the real truths of addiction. Do research. Seek out trustworthy sources to teach about the impacts of alcohol on the addicted and their loved ones. 

Education is power. The more you understand about the realities of addiction to alcohol the better you can handle the ups and downs of recovery. It also helps you to overcome many of the stigmas that can be attached to alcoholism. 

If you have a strong understanding of addiction, you can also better work to advocate on behalf of your loved one. 

Find Support

Living with someone who has an addiction can create real and long term stressors in your life. It can create dysfunction in the family dynamic. 

While every experience is different, finding others who have walked in your shoes can be huge in helping you face the struggles of addiction. 

It can lift a weight to talk with someone who understands the weight of addiction. Having an understanding and nonjudgemental ears to listen is so helpful.

Many professional alcohol programs also offer support groups for families to talk to each other as part of their overall program services. 

Seek Therapy for Yourself and Your Family

In addition to finding others who share your experiences, seek out the help of a professional therapist. The dynamics of dealing with their addiction can be overwhelming. In addition to worrying about them, you might worry about children.

A therapist for yourself or a family therapist can help everyone navigate the muddy waters of living with an alcoholic. They can see the situation objectively and offer you advice to cope with the real emotions and struggles you face. 

Therapists can help you address stress, guilt, anger, distrust, and frustration you feel. They can help you with strategies to address the problems you are facing while living with someone struggling with addiction.

Manage Your Expectations

If you have been able to get your loved one to seek help, a big weight is probably lifted from your shoulders. You might even feel like now everything will be okay. Remember recovery is a process. 

It is important that you manage your own expectations about how the recovery will go. It is not a situation where a switch is flipped and suddenly everything is better. Treatment for addiction takes real work and can be riddled with ups and downs. 

Be realistic and understand the process. It is not fair to the person in recovery to put unrealistic expectations on them. It also isn’t fair to you. Mistakes or bumps on the recovery road may happen. 

If you try to prepare yourself for the possibility it will be easier to understand. Focus on what you can to support not only your loved one but yourself too. 

Take Care of Yourself

Living with an alcoholic can be overwhelming and fraught with stressful situations. You might want to focus so much on them that you forget you need self-care too.  It’s the truth when people say you cannot take care of someone else if you aren’t healthy too. 

Make sure you are eating healthy, getting exercise and getting enough sleep. While it is easy to solely focus on this problem, do things for yourself too. 

Find out the things that bring you joy, whether it’s watching a movie, going out with friends, painting, and make time for it. You have to give yourself permission to be healthy even if someone you love might not be there yet. 

Support for Family Members of Alcoholics

Living with someone who struggles with alcohol can have a real impact on you and your family.  It can overwhelming and scary. It can also be frustrating. You might even find at times you are angry and you don’t know how to manage it. 

The loved ones of alcoholics need help too. We want to help you help your loved one.

Learn more about addiction on our blog or contact us today for help in addressing the problem your faces with alcohol.


bi-polar disorder and alcoholism

Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism: Understanding this Common Occurrence

Alcohol abuse, also commonly referred to as alcoholism, is no stranger to most communities. In fact, every year, countless individuals become aware of an alcohol use disorder in their lives or in the lives of someone they love.

It’s always difficult to come to terms with the truth about an addiction problem. And it’s often very challenging to figure out what to do about the issue. It can be even more difficult when alcoholism is paired with another health concern, such as bipolar disorder.

Those who suffer from the co-occurring disorders of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and bipolar disorder often struggle to overcome either or both issues. This is mainly due to the way these disorders affect one another.

In many cases, bipolar disorder and alcoholism combine to create a really big problem in the lives of those affected by these disorders. Sometimes, alcohol use can worsen the effects of bipolar disorder and vice versa.

This is why treatment is so important. If you or someone in your life is struggling with an AUD and bipolar disorder, it’s time to truly understand the seriousness of this occurrence and learn what you can do to help turn things around for the better.

Defining Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism

First of all, it’s important to begin by understanding these two disorders. What exactly does it mean to have bipolar disorder and how does it affect those who are living with it?

Well, bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder that causes people to become psychologically unstable. It’s a mood disorder that affects the way people think, feel, and behave. Often, the effects can be very drastic and intense.

Many individuals who suffer from bipolar disorder experience moments of extreme depression in addition to intense states of euphoria. Often, individuals deal with major shifts in emotions and moods. This can cause people to behave and act differently than normal.

Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is a problem that many people deal with. It is an uncontrollable use of alcohol. Since this substance is legal, it’s fairly easy to access. So, sadly, many people become dependent on alcohol and may eventually abuse is and develop an alcohol addiction problem.

When Alcohol Use and Bipolar Disorders Co-Occur

Perhaps, you’re wondering how or why people end up living with bipolar disorder and alcoholism. Well, the truth of the matter is that these co-occurring disorders affect people as a result of various factors.

In other words, the reason behind this occurrence varies from case to case. But, for many people, bipolar disorder leads to the development of alcohol use disorder. Those who suffer from the effects of bipolar disorder often struggle with deep depression because of their mental health disorder.

Sadly, it’s common for people who feel depressed to seek comfort in substance use. Some may turn to drugs. Maybe they begin using medications and prescriptions that are meant to help them overcome depression. But, after using the substance for a while, they may have grown dependent on and addicted to that drug.

This can also happen in cases where people turn to alcohol in order to cope with the negative effects of bipolar disorder. Some individuals seek comfort in drinking. But, the relief they feel is only temporary and leaves when the effects of alcohol wear off.

In order to escape from the unpleasant impact of bipolar disorder, including depression, uncontrollable thoughts, irritability, agitation, and low self-esteem, many individuals use alcohol. But, again, the stress-relieving effects that people get when they drink wears off after a while.

When reality returns, the desire to escape also comes back. As a result, some people may resort back to alcohol use. This can turn into a problem with excessive drinking. Eventually, these alcohol use habits can become extremely problematic.

Alcohol use disorder is dangerous for more reason than one. This addiction problem affects individuals’ lives on multiple levels. And the effects can be intensified when the alcohol use problem co-occurs with bipolar disorder.

How Bipolar Disorder and Alcohol Use Affect People

When a person suffers from bipolar disorder, he or she may experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Irritability
  • Agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Poor judgment
  • Appetite loss
  • Manic episodes
  • Racing thoughts
  • Euphoric episodes
  • Excessive worry
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Loss of energy
  • Memory problems
  • Lack of concentration
  • Excessive or lack of sleep
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Suicidal ideation and thoughts of death

The intense changes in mood and emotions can cause people to feel very overwhelmed. It’s difficult to understand and work through the effects of bipolar disorder. So, it goes without saying that people who suffer from this disorder often struggle to lead regular and normal lives.

Bipolar disorder can impact people’s day-to-day lives. In many cases, people who are suffering from this mental health disorder have trouble focusing in school, keeping up with family responsibilities, establishing and maintaining meaningful relationships, and holding jobs.

All of these things can contribute to the development of alcohol abuse. And, if a person becomes addicted to alcohol, he or she may begin to experience even more difficulties in maintaining a normal schedule.

Alcoholism can cause people to feel:

  • Depressed
  • A lack of energy
  • Less motivated
  • Alone and isolated
  • Distanced from loved ones

No doubt, as these effects combine with the symptoms of bipolar disorder, individuals may struggle to manage their lives and may experience a downward spiral.

Unfortunately, this is has been the case in many people’s lives. But, thankfully, there is hope for those who are dealing with these co-occurring disorders!

Finding Hope and Help at 1st Step Behavioral Health

If you’ve been struggling with alcoholism and bipolar disorder, then you know just how difficult it can be to overcome these problems. Fortunately, though, a professional dual diagnosis treatment program can help you to find freedom and peace once and for all!

Here at 1st Step Behavioral Health, we work to help people to find the freedom they truly deserve. You don’t need to continue struggling with alcohol abuse and the effects of bipolar disorder. Let us help you! Just call us today to get started on the journey to recovery.

alcohol and suicide

Sobering Stats: What Is the Connection Between Alcohol and Suicide?

Nearly 8 million adults struggle with co-occurring disorders: mental health issues and substance abuse. 

If someone you love has an addiction to alcohol, you may not yet realize that an underlying (and possibly undiagnosed) mental health disorder may be making their addiction much worse. 

In fact, it may even be driving them to commit suicide. Devastatingly, people who have an addiction to alcohol are 121% more likely to take their own lives. 

But you can do something to stop it — and it starts by getting informed. 

In this post, we’ll tell you more about co-occurring disorders, and the connection between alcohol and suicide.

We’ll also help you to understand how to recognize the signs and stages of suicidal behavior. Finally, we’ll let you know where you can get help for the alcoholic you love. 

Understanding Co-Occurring Disorders

To better understand the devastating link between alcohol and suicide, you first need to know about co-occurring disorders. 

Sometimes referred to as “dual disorders and dual diagnosis,” this is when people experience both an addiction to alcohol and a mental health disorder at the same time. These two challenges often “trigger” one another and feed into each other. 

A person is depressed, so they drink to deal with the symptoms of their depression. A person drinks, and then they become incredibly depressed by their alcoholism. 

Often, this quickly becomes a kind of vicious cycle. 

Genetics, Addiction, and Mental Health Issues

One of the most popular questions surrounding co-occurring disorders (and of course, addiction in general) is whether or not some people are genetically predisposed to addiction or if it’s simply a product of the environment they grew up in. 

The most honest answer is that we don’t yet fully understand the genetics behind addiction, but the vast majority of addiction specialists believe that addiction is a combination of genetics and environmental circumstances. 

This is also the case with mental health. 

The environment in which a person with mental health issues lives can make them more likely to develop symptoms. It may make their symptoms more intense than others with the same mental illness that were raised in a more supportive, more stable, or even healthier atmosphere. 

What’s important here is that you recognize that you neither caused their addiction to alcohol and depression, nor can you control either one of these things. 

That being said, someone that has some form of mental illness is much more likely to develop an addiction of some kind over the course of their life.

In fact, people with mental illnesses of any kind — whether depression, anxiety, or even more severe issues like bipolar disorder — have close to a 50% chance of falling prey to addiction. 

Now, let’s talk about how you can recognize the signs of depression and suicidal ideation in the alcoholic you love. 

The Most Common Signs of Suicidal Behavior 

There are countless reasons why there are so many different types of suicide on the rise today.

But especially among alcoholics and other addicts, suicide can often feel like the only option for escape and relief from both their addiction to alcohol and their mental illness. 

Focusing on the reasons for suicide is actually much less important than knowing the signs and stages of suicidal behavior to look out for. These actions make themselves known in both words and action. 

They may say things like, “No one would care if I died,” or “I wish I was dead,” or “You’d all be so much better off without me, I’m a burden.” If they make threats to kill themselves, regardless of whether or not you think they’re being “dramatic,” you need to take them seriously. 

There are also behavioral clues to watch out for. 

The addict may withdraw and isolate themselves. They may start trying to get their personal and financial affairs in order. They may research suicide methods online, and they may even stop taking their medication. 

They may also stop eating, shopping for food and other necessities, and stop taking care of themselves. 

What to Do If an Alcoholic Is a Suicide Risk

If you suspect that the alcoholic in your life is planning on taking their own life, you need to contact the police immediately.

You should also get in touch with any other friends or family members who can sit with them, encourage them to get help, or simply need to know so they can reach out. 

It may be in the alcoholic’s best interest to be involuntarily committed to a mental health stabilization center so that they are unable to harm themselves. Once they’re in a more stable place, you can speak to them about getting help for their addiction and their mental health issues. 

Alcohol and Suicide: Getting Help and Wrapping Up

We know that taking a hard look at the very real link between alcohol and suicide is incredibly jarring and frightening. 

If any of the information in this post sounds familiar, you need to be proactive and start taking the next steps immediately. 

We can help you with that. 

Get in touch with us to learn more about the addiction treatment services we have to offer. We’re also experienced in diagnosing and treating mental health issues. With the supportive and safe atmosphere of treatment, your loved one can focus on getting better. 

Plus, you’ll rest much easier knowing that they’re not in a place where they can harm themselves. 

Healing is possible, and so is happiness and an addiction-free life. 

Together, let’s help the person you love start living one. 


moderation meaning

Alcohol Moderation: Meaning and Myth

Many alcoholics believe that they can moderate their drinking, but is moderation a possibility?

Is moderation meaning the ability of control to people that are not educated on the subject?

There are many myths in the alcohol industry that entice alcoholics to continue drinking, and even encourage minors to take up drinking.

What is Moderation Meaning Today?

Moderation, in the matter of alcohol, is to monitor how much you are drinking and ensure that you are not going overboard.

Moderation is essential for self-control, and you can find yourself in dangerous situations without it.

Every person’s tolerance is different, and it is hard to say what people should drink, but how much alcohol is too much?

Keep in mind that by drinking too much, you will start to build a tolerance to alcohol and will need more in order to become intoxicated.

How to Moderate

There are some general guidelines that everyone should follow when drinking alcohol, which can be helpful to those that would like to know about how many drinks in a bottle of wine they can consume.

According to The American Heart Association and The Department of Agriculture and Department of Health & Human Services:

  • Women should not have more than 1 drink per day.
  • Men should not have more than 2 drinks per day.

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s guidelines are a bit different:

  • Women should not have more than 3 drinks per day.
  • Women should not exceed 7 per week.
  • Men should not have more than 4 drinks per day. 
  • Men should not exceed 14 per week.

Consumption guidelines differ by country.

It should also be noted that the exact quantity of a “drink” will be different for all beverages.

Some standard portions for alcohol are as follows:

  • Beer: 12 ounces
  • Malt Liquor: 8 ounces
  • Wine: 5 ounces
  • 80-Proof liquor: 1.5 ounces

Consequences of Alcohol

Alcohol affects you in various ways. They can be avoided with moderation or by simply not drinking at all.

Long-term alcoholism also has many effects. Things like damage to the body and the mind inevitable with long-term use. 

Your digestive system can suffer from alcohol, and alcohol can even affect your mental health.

A major consequence of alcohol is becoming a functioning alcoholic.

A functioning alcoholic maintains a normal appearance in everyday life but suffers from alcoholism.

Fuctioning alcoholism has many signs. Signs such as using alcohol to cope with problems, denial, and dependency are just some of them.

Common Myths

  • The occasional drinker will swear that they know what their tolerance is

There are many factors that contribute to tolerance such as alcohol content, body weight, gender, and how much you’ve eaten that day.

One cannot truly know their tolerance because it is constantly changing.

  • Most drinkers think that they are in control of their decisions when intoxicated, can become sober at will, and can drive while drunk, but this simply is not true. 

Alcohol impairs your judgment and rationality, making it impossible to be in complete control.

Alcohol can also cause your vision to blur, and your motor skills will suffer from impairment.

It is also impossible to become sober at will because the alcohol will remain in your body for several hours.

  • Some women think that it’s acceptable to drink the same amount of alcohol as their boyfriend, or any male for that matter.

Men are generally larger and have more water in their bodies than women do. Women retain a higher blood-alcohol concentration from a drink than a man would.

  • Many people talk about alcohol causing cancer being a myth.

There has been evidence that consuming more alcohol increases the risk of causing various types of cancer such as head and neck cancer, breast cancer, and liver cancer.

Alcohol also impairs the body’s ability to break down essential nutrients that are useful to combat cancer such as vitamin A, vitamin C, and vitamin D.

How Can I Better Myself?

Not seeking help is a problem that many high-functioning alcoholics suffer from, and there are many things that people who suffer from alcoholism can do in order to better themselves.

  • Acknowledge that you have a problem.

A major problem that most addicts suffer from is refusing to accept the fact that they have a problem or an addiction.

Acknowledgment is important for both the alcoholic and the people that you are confiding in.

By acknowledging the problem, you allow people to help you, and you can enable yourself to receive treatment that you otherwise would not receive if you were claiming to not have a problem.

  • Talk to family and/or friends.

Talking to someone that is close to you is, for many people, a lot easier than talking to a stranger in a doctor’s office.

Loved ones are people that you trust, and they would be more than willing to help you with your problems.

  • Find the root cause of your problem.

Rather than using alcohol to cope with your problems, discover with loved one’s ways that you can eliminate the problems.

In many cases, alcoholics over-think about the things that they are trying to run from, thus resulting in the use of alcohol to forget about them.

  •  Seek a therapist.

While talking to family and friends is great for your mental health, therapists are trained to assist people with any issues.

A therapist will help you to find the reason for your alcoholism and will help you to find options that you can do to help yourself.

  • Eliminate alcohol from your life.

The best thing that you can do to fight alcoholism is to stop drinking alcohol.

Replace alcohol with water and healthy foods, which will make your body feel better, resulting in giving you a better mood.

  • Become an active person.

It is usually hard for addicts to quit the things that they are addicted to, but one of the best ways to quit something is by remaining active.

Filling up your time with activities such as sports or hobbies will help you to keep your mind off of things while also being productive!

Start Treatment by Contacting Us

At 1st Step Behavioral Health, we provide professionals that can help you with any of your problems and can help you with the moderation meaning. Contact us on our website. You can also contact us by phone at (866) 319-6126.