Thursday, September 27, 2012

Sleep & Alcohol – Facts & Effects

On average, adults tend to sleep between 7 ½ & 8 hours per evening. While the exact functionality of sleep is unknown, most evidence points towards the idea that a lack of it can result in a variety of consequences, including breathing impairments, depression, and heart disease. In addiction, daytime exhaustion due to lack of rest is often attributed to impaired occupational and social function, memory deficits, and automobile accidents.

The consumption of alcohol has been seen to cause sleep disorders by way of disrupting the duration and sequence of the various sleep states and altering the amount of total sleep time.


Following the initial stimulation post consumption, alcohol ingested around bedtime may work to decrease the amount of time necessary to fall asleep. Due to its sedating effects, many individuals suffering from insomnia use alcohol as a way to ensure a quick and easy transition into dreamland. Unfortunately, studies show that the alcohol consumed within the last hour before sleep may actually serve in disrupting the end half of the sleep cycle. As such, those who utilize alcohol as a sleep tool may often experience fits of daytime sleepiness and fatigue.


Sleep disturbances that are attributed to alcoholism include frequent awakenings, a decrease in sleep quality, and a prolonged pre-sleep period. Hasty consumption reductions in alcoholics may result in alcohol withdrawal syndrome, including insomnia and fragmented sleeping patterns.


Aside from minor improvements following the initial withdrawal period, sleep patterns in recovering alcoholics run the risk of never returning to normal. Studies show even abstinent alcoholics to suffer from poor sleep quality, with increased sleep fragmentation and decreased SWS. Ipso facto; relapse in severe alcoholics may result in increased SWS and decrease sleep fragmentation. Though this improvement may work to promote relapse to a small extent; in time, sleep disruption will once again rear its ugly little head.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Living With An Alcoholic

Alcoholism is referred to as a “family disease” due to the fact that it affects both the alcoholic and everyone surrounding them. As such, it’s no wonder that living with an alcoholic can be both tiring and tumultuous. Family members will commonly find themselves as, it not more, involved with the disease as the alcoholic themselves. In this entry, we will discuss a few methods to help ease your alcoholism living situation.

1 – Above all… it’s important to fend for yourself. Make a commitment to yourself to do what is needed to keep your life in check. The better you are able to compose yourself, the better able you will be to help compose your loved one.

2 – Come to terms with the fact that your loved one’s alcoholism is of no fault of your own. Just as you would find it silly blaming others for your own behaviors, so is it to blame yourself of the actions of others. If there is any personal responsibility worth grasping, it is for your own well-being.

3 – Educate yourself regarding the specifics of alcoholism. Understanding the nature of the disease will help you to better deal with the affects associated with your loved one’s issues. Search and absorb literature to better understand the role you should be playing in the recovery process.

4 – Seek out professional help. Support services are always available to those who seek them. Get in touch with your local Alanon and Alateen organizations, and communicate your feelings, concerns and worry to them. When it comes to recovery, there’s no need to go it alone.

5 – Let go! Though it may be difficult, it’s imperative that you allow the disease to take its course. Make a commitment to stop picking up after the individual, and avoid reprimanding the individual for their behaviors. Taking a firm but nonjudgmental stance will serve in helping the alcoholic hit the bottom they need in order to change.

6 – Patience is a virtue. Though watching your loved one destroy themselves is no easy task, it’s important to avoid the temptation to intervene. Offer the individual aid, if and when they are ready to pursue a recovery. Otherwise, it’s time to focus on you. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Moderation Over Abstinence

According to the many independent researchers, there are four times as many problem drinkers as alcoholics in this country. Yet there are very few programs that specifically address the needs of beginning stage problem drinkers, while there are literally thousands of programs for the smaller population who are seriously alcohol dependent.

By the time people reach serious stages of alcohol dependency, changing drinking becomes more difficult, and treatment is usually costly. We believe that this situation needs to be remedied in the interest of public health and human kindness with early intervention and harm reduction programs. Moderation programs are less costly, shorter in duration, less intensive, and have higher success rates than traditional abstinence-only approaches.

Nine out of ten problem drinkers today actively and purposefully avoid traditional treatment approaches. This is because they know that most traditional programs will label them as "alcoholic", probably force attendance at 12 step and abstinence based meetings, and prescribe lifetime abstinence as the only acceptable change in drinking.

They may also have real concerns about how their participation in these programs will affect their jobs and ability to attain future medical and life insurance. Moderation is seen as a less threatening first step, and one that problem drinkers are more likely to attempt before their problems become nearly intractable.

Not surprisingly, approximately 30% of those who undergo moderation treatment, go on to abstinence-based programs.  This is consistent with research findings from professional moderation training programs. Traditional approaches that are based on the disease model of alcohol dependence and its reliance on the concept of powerlessness can be particularly counterproductive for women and minorities, who often already feel like victims and powerless.

Outcome studies indicate that professional programs which offer both moderation and abstinence have higher success rates than those that offer abstinence only.  Clients tend to self-select the behavior change options which will work best for them.
At Above It All Treatment and Recovery Center we design a treatment program specifically with your needs in mind.  From moderation to abstinence, we are here to start you on the road to recovery.  Contact us today to see how we can help you.