Tag Archives: alcoholism

Tag Archives: alcoholism


alcohol abuse impacts more than the addicted

The negative psychological, biological, and physical effects of alcohol abuse are well documented. But the adverse effects of abusing alcohol don’t start and stop with the individual who’s doing the drinking.

On an annual basis in the U.S., over 20% of adults are negatively affected by someone else’s choice to drink. This translates to more than 50 million people, and a recent study called this trend, “a significant public health issue.”

The study from Rutgers University was backed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and analyzed information from nearly 9,000 subjects.

Over 15% of participants reported having a harmful experience as a result of another person’s drinking. In the study, “harm” was described as physical aggression, threats and/or harassment, financial or family problems, property damage, injuries related to driving and vandalism.

Threats or harassment were the most commonly reported type of harm overall. Additionally, men reported more instances of physical aggression, vandalism and damaged property, while women reported more monetary or family problems.

Female subjects were more likely to experience harm by a drinker within their household, while men had an increased risk of harm by drinkers from outside of their household.

Responsibility Over Privilege 

On the basis of these alarming findings, Dr. Timothy Naimi of the Boston Medical Center, stated, “The freedom to drink alcohol must be counter-balanced by the freedom from being afflicted by others’ drinking in ways manifested by homicide, alcohol-related sexual assault, car crashes, domestic abuse, lost household wages and child neglect.”

The study went on to find that overall, individuals younger than 25 were more likely to experience some form of harm due to someone else’s drunk actions. Significantly, almost half of the study’s participants reported being a heavy drinker as well as having been harmed by another person’s drinking.

Also of concern, it was revealed that casual drinkers have a two- to three-fold risk of experiencing driving-related harm or threats as compared to individuals who do not drink at all.

Recovery is possible—recover your unique, purposeful, sober life by reaching out to the dedicated experts at Cumberland Heights.

Addiction is a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal disease. For over 50 years we have carefully provided the highest quality of care for adults, adolescents and families who suffer from, or are affected by this devastating disease.

Our nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center is located on a peaceful, pastoral 177-acre campus on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. We provide a continuum of services through two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes.

At Cumberland Heights, we always put the patient first, and value the importance of family participation in the recovery process. Take the first step toward healing by calling us at (866) 899-5231 today.

How excessive drinking puts a risk on men’s health

Studies show that men are more likely than women to drink excessively, but what constitutes excessive drinking? According to the Centers for Disease Control, excessive alcohol use includes heavy drinking, binge drinking and alcohol use by pregnant women and people younger than the minimum legal drinking age.

Studies show that excessive drinking is linked to significant increases in short-term risks to safety and health. Additionally, men are statistically more likely than women to engage in greater risk-taking when drinking to excess, like speeding and not using a seatbelt while driving.

The statistics on male drinking are eye-opening. Research shows that over half of adult men surveyed (58%) have used alcohol in the prior month. Male drinkers are nearly twice as likely as their female counterparts to binge drink.

What Constitutes Binge-Drinking?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is defined as a process of alcohol use that brings the blood alcohol concentration level to 0.08% or more. This drinking pattern most often is associated with 5 or more drinks in one sitting for men, 4 or more drinks for women and for both genders occurs within a span of 2 hours.

Additionally, roughly one-fourth of adult males binge drink 5 times a month, on average consuming 8 drinks.

Of the vast majority of individuals who binge drink, 90% are not alcohol dependent or alcoholics. What this means is that nine out of ten individuals who drink to excess would not be expected to meet the clinical diagnostic criteria for severe alcohol use disorder.

Professionals consider a severe alcohol use disorder, which was previously referred to as alcohol dependence or alcoholism to be a chronic disease characterized by discrete signs and symptoms. These include the inability to curb or limit one’s drinking and the need to drink more and more in order to attain the same effect.

Other symptoms include an obsession with wanting to drink to the point that other thoughts and concerns are pushed to the side, as well as continuing to drink excessively in spite of professional or personal problems that result from drinking.

A Few Questions to Ask Yourself

Have you wanted more than once to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to quit drinking, but could not? Have you cut back on or completely ceased participation in activities that are pleasurable, important or significant to you in order to drink? Do you spend a considerable amount of time drinking or getting over the aftereffects of drinking? Lastly, have you continued to drink even though it is causing trouble with your family or friends?

It is estimated that approximately 5% of men and 3% of women will meet the diagnostic criteria for alcohol dependence within any prior 12 month period.

These eye-opening statistics lead to even more concerning scenarios that indicate the risk related behavior among male drinkers is greater and more injurious than among female drinkers.  For example, men are more likely to commit suicide versus women, and also more likely to have been consuming alcohol prior to committing suicide.

On a related note, between the genders, males consistently experience higher rates of hospitalization and death due to alcohol-related factors.

The concerning statistics related to male drinking don’t stop there, however. When it comes to fatal traffic crashes, male drivers are two times as likely as females to be intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.

Potential Harm to Others

Lastly, excessive alcohol use raises the rate of aggressive behavior among men, leading to an increased risk of physically harming another individual. The potential negative outcomes of excessive alcohol use among men don’t stop there- excessive alcohol use adversely affects the body and can lead to a whole host of negative conditions.

For example, excessive alcohol use is known to interfere with male hormone production as well as testicular function. The impairment of these crucial body functions can lead to infertility, impotence, and a decrease in male secondary sex characteristics including the absence of chest and facial hair.

The damages of excessive alcohol use often involve harm to others. For example, in cases of sexual assault, alcohol is a common factor. Abuse of alcohol also increases the chances of taking part in sexual behavior that puts men at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, sex with multiple partners and unprotected sex.

The fact is that binge drinking exacts a toll on society in ways you may not have considered. The cost of excessive drinking in the U.S. in 2010 was nearly $250 billion. All together this number represents the costs involved in criminal justice expenditures, workplace productivity losses and health care costs.

There is also a long list of medical issues that present themselves when men drink to excess. Studies show that excessive alcohol use increases the risk of colon cancer as well as cancers of the liver, throat, mouth and esophagus.

How Can You Determine if You Have a Drinking Problem?

Drinking has become a problem in your life if it interferes in your relationships, in the workplace, in social activities or in school. Excessive drinking affects your ability to think and feel properly, resulting in poor decision-making as well as unresolved emotional issues such as anger, sadness, etc.

If you think that you or someone in your family may have a drinking problem, do not hesitate to consult with a professional about your concerns.

Recovery is possible—recover your unique, purposeful, sober life by reaching out to the dedicated experts at Cumberland Heights.

Addiction is a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal disease. For over 50 years we have carefully provided the highest quality of care for adults, adolescents and families who suffer from, or are affected by this devastating disease.

Our nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center is located on a peaceful, pastoral 177-acre campus on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. We provide a continuum of services through two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes.

 At Cumberland Heights, we always put the patient first, and value the importance of family participation in the recovery process. Take the first step toward healing by calling us at (866) 899-5231 today.

How adolescent drinking causes troubles in adulthood

Experts know that drinking during the teen years can result in a plethora of short-term consequences, but a new study finds that negative long-term effects can also linger into adulthood.

According to researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, binge drinking during the teen years can lead to psychological problems later in life, and possible alcohol abuse in adulthood.

The researchers found that lasting brain changes occurred due to the effects on a protein necessary to form and maintain brain cell connections in the amygdala. The amygdala is key to mood regulation, including anxiety and fear.

Alarming Results

The study examined the amygdala tissue of deceased individuals who began drinking heavily before the age of 21, people who began drinking after the age of 21 and individuals without a history of alcohol abuse.

The findings were startling. Researchers found that those who began drinking prior to the age of 21 had irregularities in the brain not observed in the other two groups.

Study author Subhash Pandey explained that a crucial protein required for normal brain development, and for neural connections, had been altered due to the effects of alcohol abuse.

According to Pandey, “If levels are lowered due to alcohol exposure, then the brain will not develop normally, and we see that in these brain samples where there are abnormalities in another synaptic gene, ARC, possibly making abnormal connections between neurons.”

There is Hope 

In layman’s terms, the effect of alcohol abuse early in life raised the risk for psychological impairment later in life. This was due to adverse changes in the adolescent drinkers’ amygdala, which later was correlated to a higher risk of emotional problems.

For example, negative emotional states including anxiety, stress and irrational moods were suffered in greater numbers among the group of subjects who began drinking early, as compared to the other two study groups.

Recovery is possible—recover your unique, purposeful, sober life by reaching out to the dedicated experts at Cumberland Heights.

Addiction is a chronic, progressive and potentially fatal disease. For over 50 years we have carefully provided the highest quality of care for adults, adolescents and families who suffer from, or are affected by this devastating disease.

Our nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center is located on a peaceful, pastoral 177-acre campus on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. We provide a continuum of services through two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes.

At Cumberland Heights, we always put the patient first, and value the importance of family participation in the recovery process. Take the first step toward healing by calling us at (866) 899-5231 today.

Recovery Live Podcasts

Recovery Live Podcasts - Liz Stanislawski from Cumberland Heights sits down with a few key figures in recovery to discuss life and what sobriety means to them.

Recovery Live Podcasts

Liz Stanislawski from Cumberland Heights sits down with a several key figures in recovery to discuss life and what sobriety means to them.

Listen to podcasts on your Apple® iPhone, Apple iPad, Google Android®, Mac/PC, Alexa smart speaker – and even in your car. For free!

Episode 1:

Cumberland Heights - Recovery Live Podcast - Travis Meadows

Travis Meadows Podcast – God did for me what I couldn’t do for myself.

Liz talks candidly with “Nashville’s Favorite Underdog” Travis Meadows about losing his brother at a young age, cancer, addiction and his treatment journal that inspired an album. Even with so much success, writing songs for Eric Church, Brothers Osborne and Wynonna Judd, Meadows says his biggest triumph is making it this far in his sobriety journey.

Episode 2:

Cumberland Heights - Recovery Live Podcast - Addiction is about isolation. Recovery is about connection.

Jaime G Podcast – Addiction is about isolation. Recovery is about connection.

Liz sits down with Jaime Gibbons – Cumberland Heights’ Alumni Relations & Volunteer Coordinator – to talk about what 16 years of sobriety looks like and how engaging with friends in recovery kept Jaime clean. Also in this episode: relationships that make you sick, a spiritual awakening while free-falling 30 feet, and Jaime’s greatest triumph in recovery. Hint: It’s a person and he only stands about 2.5 feet tall.

Episode 3:

Cumberland Heights - Recovery Live Podcast - Addiction is about isolation. Recovery is about connection.

Alexis H Podcast – I’m 100% grateful I’m an addict.

When Alexis went to treatment the first time she decided she was going to prove everyone wrong and not take any suggestions. When that didn’t work the first or second time, she decided to finally take all of the suggestions her third time in treatment. Now sober for 4.5 years, she talks about how recovery got her through her parents divorce, allowed her to experience true joy for the first time and made it possible for her to help other women like her struggling.

Episode 4:

Cumberland Heights - Recovery Live Podcast - Life actually has meaning to me now

Alex H Podcast – Life actually has meaning to me now.

Spending his early 20s in the restaurant industry meant late nights, free booze and social night caps. But as Alex explains, things got out of hand quickly and he found himself at Cumberland Heights. Fortunately, now in recovery, he’s able to use his talents as a chef to serve others fighting similar demons.

Episode 5:

Cumberland Heights - Recovery Live Podcast - Sobriety doesn't make you happy. It removes the things that make you unhappy.

Todd M Podcast – Sobriety doesn’t make you happy. It removes the things that make you unhappy.

Imagine your drug-addicted lifestyle being broadcast on national television. It happened to Todd M. on the popular A&E show “Intervention.” The season 16 episode followed Todd as he smoked meth downed pills in his parent’s barn. The experience led him to Cumberland Heights where he now works with three years of sobriety under his belt. Hear how he felt watching that episode for the first time, and why the Californian decided to stick around Tennessee.

Learn the danger of mixing anger and alcoholism

Previous research has shown that some of us have greater tendencies towards anger. Whether this has stemmed from genetics and upbringing, mental illness or simply the people we’ve spent time with over the years, anger can begin to flourish into our lives – and out of control – if we’re not careful. Anger in and of itself isn’t a bad emotion – but it’s how we utilize the anger that says a lot about the healthiness (or unhealthiness) of our relationship to it.

When alcohol is added to the mix, it often perpetuates those feelings of anger because they were already there underneath the surface – and in many cases, a person can display more aggression than they would sober, because their sense of judgment is now clouded by the alcohol. Dr. Robert O. Pihl, professor of psychology and psychiatry at McGill University, told Very Well Mind, a website that publishes information related to all things psychology, this year:

“Alcohol is involved in half of all murders, rapes and assaults. But the dynamics of this association are complicated, which is why any research that focuses on explaining this relationship is important for society in general.”

Those who find that they’re more irritable when drinking should carefully watch their drinking and behavioral patterns – if close attention isn’t paid, that person (and those around them) could be in harm’s way. Signs of alcoholism could also warrant a need for formal treatment, and the sooner that treatment is sought, the greater the chances that a person can learn healthy coping mechanisms – along with healthier ways to express anger – before it reaches this point.

If you’re ready to seek help for addiction, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today. It’s never too late to seek treatment – and in doing so, you’ll open your horizons for a healthier, happier life.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of two 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first. For more information, call 1-800-646-9998 today.

Connection between anxiety and alcoholismAnxiety is one of the most uncomfortable feelings to have because we’re essentially locked in this state of confusion – of not knowing what to do – but feeling as though we need to act immediately in order to solve whatever it is that we’re worried about. Like a deer frozen in headlights, our mind puts us in panic mode while throwing logic out of the window; it is for that very reason that many people turn to substances. In 2016, a young woman shared her story with anxiety and alcohol via Tonic, a website that provides entertainment and stories related to mind, body, healthcare and more. She stated,

“…For years I’ve struggled with an anxiety disorder that went largely undiagnosed and it manifested in the form of panic attacks…I wanted to be liked, included, and the same as everyone else…alcohol became the perfect device for soothing anxiety and turning off my mind.”

As it turns out, drinking to relieve stress and anxiety isn’t that uncommon; a 2017 study published in the journal Alcohol emphasized that alcohol can indeed reduce symptoms of stress-related disorders (such as anxiety) temporarily – but the problem comes when addiction is developed. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) states that 15 million adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder, and there are several signs that alcohol is being used to help reduce the symptoms of this condition:

  • Drinking four or more times in a week
  • Having 5 or more alcoholic drinks in a day
  • Not being able to stop drinking once a person has started
  • Needed a drink in the morning in order to get “going” for the day
  • Feeling guilty after drinking
  • Having a friend, coworker, family member or other relative express concern about a person’s drinking habits

Since alcohol is typically considered a socially acceptable activity in today’s society, this can make alcoholism much more difficult to detect. If you have a loved one who may be struggling with alcoholism, speak with a professional from Cumberland Heights today.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

a couple whose intimate relationship is impacted by alcoholism.One individual shared their story via DrugFreeWorld.org about their experience with alcoholism and how it affected their social relationships. Jamie stated,

This past year I have gone to work drunk, blacked out in clubs and bars and can’t remember getting home…I have destroyed two relationships because I hurt them so much through my drinking, but I put drinking first.”

As the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) states, alcoholism can bring about a number of issues within relationship-contexts:

  • Violence
  • Marital conflict
  • Infidelity
  • Jealousy
  • Economic insecurity
  • Divorce
  • Fetal alcohol effect

Previous studies have shown that intimate relationships can experience vicious cycles of fighting and arguing, especially if one spouse is lying to the other or if one spouse isn’t happy with the others’ alcohol abuse. These relationships aren’t the only ones affected, however; children, relatives, coworkers, friends and more can all be strained when alcoholism is involved.

A 2016 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships found that after assessing 181 couples where one had an alcohol use disorder (AUD), relationship satisfaction was shown to decline longitudinally. Another study assessed some of the relational issues that couples face when alcoholism is involved, and these were the five main themes discovered:

  • Emotional distancing
  • Increased conflict/arguments between partners
  • Regret/remorse for actions while intoxicated
  • Partners reaching out to friends/family members for support around partner’s problematic drinking, and
  • Unbalanced support or care between partners in the relationship

Even when a partner enters recovery, it’s difficult for many couples to get back on track with their relationship between so much damage has been done. In these instances, couples therapy is needed. A licensed therapist can work with couples to help them understand the nature of addiction and how it has impacted their relationship, which often serves as the basis for recovery groundwork. From then on, tools can be developed to help partners better understand and work with one another.

If you or a loved one have been struggling with alcoholism, it’s time to seek help. Don’t wait any longer to restore your mind, body and spirit.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

College students: a culture of drinking and drug useCollege students have long been the center of drinking advertisements and commercials, which doesn’t happen by chance. For many years now, colleges have upheld a “drinking culture” that has made it nearly expected for young adults to binge drink as an act on their “freedom” and independence. While it all seems like fun and games, this culture of drinking has sparked a lot of issues in terms of substance abuse and the development of alcoholism later (and even earlier) on. In an interview on WBUR Radio where students talk about college drinking culture, Madeleine D’Angelo, a 21-year-old senior at Boston College in Maryland, stated,

“… [Blacking out is] part of our language. It’s very common to have someone say, ‘Oh, I can’t even remember what happened last night, I blacked out.’”

Sure, drinking is the norm for college students – but what are the statistics on this?

The Dangers of College Drinking Culture: Facts and Statistics

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that about 1,825 college students between the ages of 18-24 die each year from alcohol-related injuries, including vehicle accidents. About 696,000 students are assaulted each year by another student who has been drinking and 97,000 students report alcohol-related sexual assault. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence sought to assess just how prevalent the connection between college drinking culture and issues such as sexual assault was related – of 704 survey responses from males and females in college, researchers discovered that victimization was associated with heavier drinking, along with other factors.

About 20% of college students meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder (AUD), yet a very small percentage of these actually seek help for it. If it’s seen as “normal” to drink heavily while in college, it makes sense that many college students aren’t seeing anything wrong with it; what they don’t realize, however, is that peer pressure and experimentation can lead to some dangerous consequences.

Social Work Today previously highlighted the tragic story of a young woman in college who was involved in a tragic accident related to drinking and driving. Emergency room visits are only a lucky outcome for many, compared to the large number of college students who die each year from alcohol-related incidents. Some other direct consequences of alcohol abuse for college students include:

  • Poor academic performance through skipping class and difficulty concentrating
  • Dropouts
  • Injuries
  • Criminal activities
  • Health issues such as liver damage, high blood pressure, inflammation of the pancreas and more

With all of these harmful effects that clearly aren’t taken as seriously as they should be in college settings, what can be done to help our young adults seek help?

Interventions for College Students

NIH Medline Plus suggests that parents talk to their college children early on in the semester that they attend school, so they can successfully adapt to campus life. Parents can also inquire about campus policies regarding alcohol, in addition to following up with their children frequently to ensure their safety.

Ultimately, it’s about changing the drinking culture in colleges by informing students of the real-life consequences that can result from binge drinking. The more support we can provide, the more likely they are to monitor their use or at least consider seeking help if it’s needed.

Many young adults in college fail to achieve major milestones once addiction has entered their lives, which makes recovery that much more important. 12-Step programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) have been evidenced to help many people build their sense of spirituality – a major component that many college students are beginning to face – along with tools and strategies for combating negative thought patterns, triggers, cravings and more. Along with peer-led support groups, such as 12-Step programs, young adults can find the following to be very beneficial for their recovery:

  • Gender specific treatment to meet their needs
  • Experienced healthcare teams who are familiar with addiction and recovery
  • Engagement in a caring yet challenging community as to better equip them with developing a strong recovery identity
  • Close communication with their educational institution, so they can continue reaching towards their academic goals while in recovery
  • Comprehensive education on the disease of addiction and how it affects the mind, body and spirit
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Family therapy, to help rebalance the family system and promote peace at home

Don’t Wait – Seek Help Now

If you’re a college student who may be noticing signs of alcoholism or a related disorder, speak with someone from Cumberland Heights today. The sooner you seek help, the greater the possibility of reversing or minimizing some of the damages that alcohol may have caused to your body. You have an entire life ahead of you, with so many roads and possibilities to take. Make the choice to place your happiness and health as a top priority today – you won’t regret it.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

Living life sober of alcoholThe path to sobriety is a long, winding road, but so many people find immense healing and transformation along the way.

If you’re just beginning your journey or are contemplating it, you’re not alone in feeling apprehensive.

Recovery means change and change can be scary – but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t improve your life in ways you never thought possible.

Holly Glenn Whitaker, the founder of HipSobriety.com, a website that shares her personal story with addiction and eating disorders, explained some of the most inevitable changes those in recovery are likely to experience via Self.com.

These are noted:

  1. Friends will change.
  2. Social situations will change as sobriety is placed as a higher priority.
  3. You will learn more about your true self – and your real personality that is no longer masked by substances.
  4. Questions may come your way about why you don’t drink or use other substances and you’ll become more confident in responding with however you feel is appropriate.
  5. Intimacy will take on an entirely new meaning.
  6. Certain friends or potential love interests may no longer be interested in the “sober” you – and that’s okay because they weren’t meant to be in your life anyways.

Not only will your social circumstances change, but you’ll witness some amazing changes in your mind, body and spirit, too. A 2017 study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment sought to explore how abstinence affected those in addiction recovery. Participants who successfully quit substance abuse for one year showed greater life satisfaction, executive functioning and less psychological distress compared to groups who did not practice sobriety.

We have to stop fearing change. This type of fear is what holds us back from living a life that will benefit us in so many ways; if you’re ready to start your journey to recovery today, speak with someone from Cumberland Heights. The time is now.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland River in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

PTSD and Alcoholism: A Common Co-Occurring Disorder

When we’re faced with a traumatic event, stress kicks in – and there’s no doubt that as our fear response becomes more present than ever, our entire system can be affected – even long after the event has occurred. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a serious condition that impacts around 13 million people in the United States each year. Characterized by nightmares, paranoia, anxiety, depression, anger and more, PTSD can be debilitating. For those who don’t seek help, the stress and exhaustion can eventually catch up – and with seemingly little ways to turn, substance abuse often becomes a coping mechanism.

Alcohol has been widely promoted in our society as a way to have fun, relax and forget about stressors. The term, “self-medication”, is used when a person is trying to manage their emotional upsets by drinking or using drugs – alcohol, for instance, can mask some of the painful symptoms of PTSD by causing a person to become more relaxed. Even though it may feel like a few drinks helps lessen that anxiety or other symptom, however, it’s only temporary – and the symptoms of PTSD will reappear. In other cases, alcohol can worsen the symptoms – which makes it all the more difficult to manage.

Last year, researchers conducted a study regarding PTSD and alcoholism that was published in The Journal of Psychiatry and Neurological Sciences. They wanted to know how anxiety, depression and PTSD symptoms as a whole were associated to alcoholism, and they found that while anxiety and depression severity did have an impact on alcohol-related issues, PTSD symptoms were the most significant predictor. These types of co-morbidity (also known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders) can be even more debilitating for a person, as they now must deal with the symptoms of PTSD and fulfill the never-ending demands of addiction.

Despite the fact that PTSD and alcoholism is a common occurrence, there is so much help available – making recovery more possible than ever before. It’s a hard reality to face, but the symptoms of PTSD won’t go away unless you work through the pain you’re experiencing and find a ground for healing. After a traumatic event, grief and sadness should be felt – but after some time has gone by, it’s important to move forward and find strength again.  Resilience is crucial to build after a devastating event, because you still deserve to have a happy, healthy, fulfilling life.

Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-campus, we are made up of 2 twelve-step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.


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