Sunday, March 11, 2012

Shark Reader

Living Happily with Anxiety: Positive Thinking and Achieving Goals

When Alcohol and Anxiety Are a Dangerous Mix

When Alcohol and Anxiety Are a Dangerous Mix
By []Annabelle R Charbit

During the holidays most of us are thrown headfirst into social situations whether we like it or not. There's the work holiday party, friend's parties where everyone is trying to be more dynamic than the next person, and those memorable family gatherings where relatives think it's okay to squeeze your face just because they haven't seen you in a year. Some of it may make you nervous, and some may bore you half to death, and you'll probably get through it all with a smile on your face and a drink in your hand.

Why then do people say that anxiety sufferers should avoid alcohol lest their anxiety increase? That doesn't seem logical, when alcohol does such a great job of instantly calming your nerves as you pucker up and ask that hot guy in sales for a big, wet kiss?

Well it turns out that although alcohol, in the short term, reduces anxiety, in the long term, alcohol actually makes anxiety worse:

Here's what you can expect from alcohol...

Short term effects of alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant because it acts quickly to depress the central nervous system, giving a feeling of relaxation for a short period of time.
Alcohol increases the chemical inhibitory neurotransmitter Gamma-aminobutyric acid (or "GABA"), which has the effect of stopping the anxious feelings being produced.
Alcohol's chemical effect therefore makes it a fast acting "anxiolytic" - i.e. an anxiety reducer.

Long term effects of alcohol
Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are experienced as anxiety. This can fuel more alcohol intake, which results in a vicious cycle of anxiety and alcohol consumption. Patients with panic disorder who are alcohol dependent are unable to distinguish panic symptoms, with the exception of tremor, from alcohol withdrawal.

(Panic attacks and alcohol withdrawal: Can subjects differentiate the symptoms?)

Alcohol can impair the functions of hormone-releasing glands and their target tissues. Most significant is the effect of alcohol on blood sugar. Insulin and glucagon are the two main hormones that regulate blood sugar (glucose) from dietary sources, plus the body can also synthesize its own glucose if needed. However alcohol impairs the functions of these two hormones and also impairs the body's ability to synthesize glucose, all of which results in hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia causes dizziness, confusion, weakness, nervousness, shaking and numbness. Although the body can both store and synthesize glucose, the brain cannot, and depends entirely on glucose supplied by the blood, and even brief periods of low glucose levels (hypoglycemia) can cause brain damage and trigger anxiety.

(National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism No. 26 PH 352 October 1994)

GABA is the major inhibitory (i.e. calming) neurotransmitter system in the central nervous system. It has been shown that long-term exposure to alcohol reduces the levels and function of the GABA-benzodiazepine (or "GBzR") receptor in the central nervous system. In other words, long-term consumption actually reduces the anxiolytic function in the brain, making us less able to cope with anxiety in the long run.

(Reduced levels of the GABA-benzodiazepine receptor in alcohol dependency in the absence of grey matter atrophy)

Serotonin Depletion. Alcohol consumption over a long period of time leads to a depletion of serotonin in the brain. As serotonin is a 'happiness' hormone this can lead to depression, and depression is often linked to anxiety.

(The Role of Serotonin in Alcohol's Effects on the Brain)

Unless you are in a coma or are a sociopath, everyone has a certain degree of anxiety. Anxiety is normal, but anxiety disorders are not. Yet anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., afflicting 40 million adults. And alcohol is an easily accessible form of self-medication for your anxiety. But it could also end up becoming your only source of relief and your worst enemy.

So, as you toast the new year with that third (or tenth) glass of mulled wine, ask yourself, is this getting get me through another inane conversation with that woman in accounting who insists on showing me photos of her cats, or do I need this just to get through another terrifying day on earth?

Happy, healthy holidays, and safe drinking to everyone....

Annabelle R Charbit is a research scientist and a writer.

Currently she is working on her first novel, A Life Lived Ridiculously, about a girl with obsessive-compulsive disorder who makes the horrible mistake of falling in love with a con artist. More details can be found at


Article Source: [] When Alcohol and Anxiety Are a Dangerous Mix

Sunday, February 26, 2012

How to Decide Between Inpatient Drug Rehab and Outpatient Drug Rehab


Ben Brafman
Inpatient drug rehab versus outpatient drug rehab is usually one of the first questions addicted individuals and their loved ones come across when trying to decide the best treatment plan for them. Other than the obvious fact that one is residential and one is not, what are the real differences between the two? Is one better than the other? Does one cost more than the other? These are all important questions that need to be thoughtfully examined and answered, along with the most important question of all, which is which treatment facility will give my loved one the best chance at recovering from their addiction.

Inpatient Drug Rehab

Inpatient drug rehab is always recommended for someone afflicted with an active addiction. While it does typically cost more than outpatient treatment, residential treatment provides that 24 hours a day supervision and structure that most individuals struggling to get off of drugs require. In addition to the supervision and structure, inpatient drug rehab provides that incredibly important change of environment and separation from the people and places you used to abuse drugs. The hardest thing about an addiction is being able to say no when faced with your vice. At the early stages of treatment and recovery, most people just cannot. It\'s simply too difficult as they don\'t have the tools to do so. Inpatient drug rehab provides you with a buffer, a safe zone of sorts where you don\'t have to worry about running into that situation. You\'re free to focus on yourself and get to the crux of your issues that prompted your drug use in the first place. Most programs last 30, 60, or 90 days depending on an individual\'s needs. Inpatient drug rehab can be a very beneficial lead in to outpatient drug rehab.

Outpatient Drug Rehab

Outpatient drug rehab is best for people who are a little bit further along in their recovery. It\'s wonderful for individuals who don\'t need all of the structure of residential treatment, but still do require a certain level of support and guidance to maintain their sobriety. Outpatient drug rehab can be an invaluable tool when learning how to re-assimilate back into your pre-treatment life where you live on your own and go to work. Newfound freedoms at night and possibly seeing people you used to use with at work can be very challenging for recovering addicts. Outpatient treatment focuses mostly on relapse prevention as well as coping skills to deal with those temptations or high-risk situations when they arise. Quality outpatient drug rehab should also place a decent amount of focus on addiction education because the more you know about the disease in general, the better you are equipped to handle it.
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About the Author
Ben Brafman, LMHC, CAP is the President and CEO of Destination Hope, a licensed dual diagnosis substance abuse treatment center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Ben has more than 20 years of experience in the addiction and mental health fields, which led him to develop a combination of innovative treatment protocols at Destination Hope. He has been published on various topics including dual diagnosis and chemical dependency, and gives back to the community by educating other addiction counselors at his Academy for Addiction Professionals.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


Fear, anxiety are controllable. Panic, worry, fright can be rid of. Knowing what are, how work, fear, anxiety, helps solve problems, control fear and anxiety.

Anxiety and fear causes crisis. One must understand fear and anxiety, how fear and anxiety work, to control anxiety, manage fear. Can be overcome anxiety and fear.

Managing fear, overcoming anxiety can be without expensive books, courses. Overcoming children\'s fears, anxieties, controlling, managing adult fear and anxiety is possible. Here is, whether in child or adult, how to control, manage, overcome fear and anxiety.

Fear and anxiety, being afraid and anxious, begin when we are, or feel, vulnerable. We experience uneasiness and concern which frightens, makes fearful. This causes timidity, and timidity gives rise to a state of alarm which sometimes involves such hesitation that shrinks us from dealing with a matter or situation that needs to be resolved. The pain and emotion, the tension and stress of fear and anxiety is accompanied by a feeling of helplessness which is negative thought which so affects the functioning of the nervous system in dealing with fear and anxiety.

Fright, fear, anxiety, can cause crises, neurosis; the dread, terror, horror of phobia is fear. Worrying, most worries, are fear; but, often, we can\'t cope with worry. Positive thinking helps but is not coping with fear, controlling fear, dealing with worry; to control fear, anxiety, we must know how fear and anxiety work.

Fear and anxiety effect automatically. Our autonomic nervous system regulates how body organs work. Chiefly a part of the autonomic nervous system, called \'sympathetic\', automatically interacts with our mind when we worry, experience anxiety, fear.

When fear is felt the mind signals a threat, danger, or emergency physically (e.g. a hand raised in anger) or psychologically (e.g. distrust); the sympathetic nervous system immediately comes into action to help protect or defend ourselves to our best possible advantage. Suddenly automatically we breath more oxygen which, with cyclic biochemical reactions, energises our \'electron transport chain\' and synthesises with other substances in our body, upon that fear signal. This synthesising upon that fear signal urgently turns on electrical impulses which fire from cell to cell at very high speeds communicating that fear to the control centre in the brain.

In our fear and anxiety, the brain instantly issues commands to the organs to take action. Our organs immediately divert and concentrate energies from other organs to those relevant to our fear and anxiety. The pupils of our eyes grow bigger to see better, the blood vessels expand to more and faster supply, to enable our muscles to react. In aid of that the body produces adrenaline to enhance alertness and our actions for \'flight\' or \'fight\', as our values dictate, and as we feel directed by our fear, anxiety.

Anxiety and fear are not cured by medication. Drugs only help coping with worry; only help cope with fear or anxiety. It is generally agreed by expert that if we know how to, we can better control fear, manage anxiety. Panic confuses and causes worry; but, except for phobias (when one must consult a doctor), it isn\'t complicated to manage fear, control anxiety.

Adult fear and anxiety is mostly due to problems; e.g., worry over debt, disapproval, separation, failure.

Children have no adult problems; child fear or anxiety is feeling inadequate about the frightening unknown.

Adults cope with both, whether it is fear or anxiety arising from adult problems or child fear and anxiety over inability to protect or defend as adults can.

In child fear control, managing child fear and anxiety it often suffices to ensure an 'I am protected' feeling for the child. A child\'s fear, e.g., of the dark is over anxiety that something may go wrong or be hurtful; e.g. a dim light helps ease that fear, anxiety, but the child needs assurance that you are nearby and can protect from or defend against what is causing the child\'s fear and anxiety. If fear of the unknown is, e.g., anxiety over a new environment, accompany the child until it is realised that there is nothing to fear.

In adults fear and anxiety does not go away because of their being fear and anxiety with good reason. Adult fear and anxiety involve not unreasonable worry but possible significant consequences. But an adult can control worry, even overcome fear, anxiety.

Coping with, overcoming fear and anxiety begins with realising that problems are solvable, consequences avoidable. This enables to cope with fear and anxiety.

Adults suffer fear and anxiety for two reasons. They do not know how to solve the problem; and, it never occurs to most to find out because panic causes confusion. Panic prevents rational thinking, they can not think how to, e.g., reason arguments, acceptably put a hurt right; they, e.g., forget or never find out that an offer to pay by instalments may not be lawfully refused. The problem seems unsolvable, panic becomes fear, anxiety; worry makes fear worse.

Anxiety and fear often result from failure to clearly identify the problem. That is the cause of panic, a problem\'s becoming worse, of the fear and anxiety.

Problem solving involves rational though, and that necessitates calmness. If angry, do \'count to ten\'.

Avoiding panic is avoiding fear and anxiety. If feeling panicky, take a deep breath: inhale, hold it to the count of three, exhale slowly; this is regarded as regulating oxygen intake and avoiding the above-mentioned body functions and chemical reactions which substitute to normal body and mind functions the limited, concentrated, emergency, urgent functioning. You will feel less urgency, less rushed, less panicky and less likely to suffer fear and anxiety.

Similarly easy it becomes then to replace the reduced likelihood of fear, anxiety with rational thought. One only needs to know how to do so.

One cannot apply rational thought to a problem if one is confused. The panic was due to not knowing what to do, confusion. One needs to clear one\'s head in order to think and substitute to avoided panic, and reduced fear and anxiety, rational thought.

One\'s bodily functions and mental functions interact. Adrenaline enhances what the brain signals. If it signals an emergency, it enhances urgency; if it signals calm though, then it enhances that. This is the basis of \'positive thinking\'. Such automatic biological, electrochemical, functioning of the nervous system enhances mental functions, confusion is rid of. Then can be clearly seen the problem and properly explored the ways of solving it without panic worsening it, causing fear and anxiety.

Then you can identify your fear. What is it that you fear, why? What part or parts of the problem is it that is causing you the worry, the anxiety, the fear? Think of what exactly it is you fear, are afraid of. \'Know your enemy\' to easier mange anxiety, overcome fear.

One can learn to control one\'s fear and, in the verses of Orhan Seyfi Ari in his Mystic Man (translated), one can enjoy the feeling that…

'Neither anxiety has he, nor fear,

The World\'s like a rubber ball under his feet rather,

The Sun in one hand, and the Moon in the other.'

Calmness helps solution, managing fear and anxiety.
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About the Author
The author\'s favourite site is: Teacher of Teachers