Monday, October 19, 2015

Excessive alcohol use continues to be drain on American economy

Medical News Today

Excessive alcohol use continues to be a drain on the American economy, according to a study released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Excessive drinking cost the U.S. $249 billion in 2010, or $2.05 per drink, a significant increase from $223.5 billion, or $1.90 per drink, in 2006. Most of these costs were due to reduced workplace productivity, crime, and the cost of treating people for health problems caused by excessive drinking.
Binge drinking, defined as drinking five or more drinks on one occasion for men or four or more drinks on one occasion for women, was responsible for most of these costs (77 percent). Two of every 5 dollars of costs - over $100 billion - were paid by governments.
"The increase in the costs of excessive drinking from 2006 to 2010 is concerning, particularly given the severe economic recession that occurred during these years," said Robert Brewer, M.D., M.S.P.H., head of CDC's Alcohol Program and one of the study's authors. "Effective prevention strategies can reduce excessive drinking and related costs in states and communities, but they are under used."
Excessive alcohol consumption is responsible for an average of 88,000 deaths each year, including 1 in 10 deaths among working-age Americans ages 20-64.
Excessive alcohol use cost states and the District of Columbia a median of $3.5 billion in 2010, ranging from $488 million in North Dakota to $35 billion in California. Washington D.C. had the highest cost per person ($1,526, compared to the $807 national average), and New Mexico had the highest cost per drink ($2.77, compared to the $2.05 national average).
The 2010 cost estimates were based on changes in the occurrence of alcohol-related problems and the cost of paying for them since 2006. Even so, the researchers believe that the study underestimates the cost of excessive drinking because information on alcohol is often underreported or unavailable, and the study did not include other costs, such as pain and suffering due to alcohol-attributable harms.
The study, "2010 National and State Costs of Excessive Alcohol Consumption," is published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. For more information on alcohol and public health see:
Adapted by MNT from original media release

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

CC Sabathia Entering Rehab

by Gabriella Pinto-Coelho

While it is always sad to hear that anyone is heading to rehab, publicly announcing your decision is also a demonstration of bravery and vulnerability. It is hard enough to realize that you need help, let alone sharing it with the public. That is exactly what CC Sabathia of the New York Yankees did on Monday, October 5th.

CC released the following statement:

"Today I am checking myself into an alcohol rehabilitation center to receive the professional care and assistance needed to treat my disease.

I love baseball and I love my teammates like brothers, and I am also fully aware that I am leaving at a time when we should all be coming together for one last push toward the World Series. It hurts me deeply to do this now, but I owe it to myself and to my family to get myself right. I want to take control of my disease, and I want to be a better man, father, and player. I want to thank the New York Yankees organization for their encouragement and understanding. Their support gives me great strength and has allowed me to move forward with this decision with a clear mind.

As difficult as this decision is to share publicly, I don’t want to run and hide. But for now respect my family’s need for privacy as we work through this challenge together.

Being an adult means being accountable. Being a baseball player means that others look up to you. I want my kids -- and others who may have become fans of mine over the years -- to know that I am not too big of a man to ask for help. I want to hold my head up high, have a full heart and be the type of person again that I can be proud of. And that’s exactly what I am going to do. I am looking forward to being out on the field with my team next season playing the game that brings me so much happiness."

Regardless of your opinion of the Yankees, CC’s statement regarding his addiction and entrance into rehab is admirable. His decision to go public certainly helps the movement to destign tize addiction and recovery. Even more encouraging is the fact that the Yankees organization has expressed their total support for Mr. Sabathia, applauding his courage and promising to offer “everything in [their] power” to help in his recovery.

As more people go public with their addictions, we can hope that the stigma surrounding this disease will begin to dissipate so that we can truly bring this conversation out in the open. Addictions often develop and fester behind closed doors, so lifting the veil off part of the problem bodes well for our societal attitudes towards the disease and the available treatments leading to lasting recovery.

Friday, October 2, 2015

By Joan Shepherd, FNP

I was so inspired this week by my patients…(not their real names)

First, Lacey.

She is 23 years old, and since age 15, she lived in a blitzed out world of drinking. As of this month, she’s been clean for a year. I asked her what was different. She got really quiet and I started thinking I’d overstepped some bounds by asking her. 

Then, she looked at me and said, “Everything.”

She has watched her little niece grow this year, while during the first two years of her life was mostly a forgotten blur. She has conversations with her family now. She realizes she quite likes her family. She is enrolling in classes again. 

Life isn’t perfect, but she realizes there are solutions. Talking can help.

Then, Jimmy.

He has not used opiates for 2 months. I know that’s a really short time, but he came back for another 2 month naltrexone implant. 

He can’t believe how good it feels to not have to chase the drug; to wake up and wonder where the money will come from, who he’s going to take advantage of to get his dope. He admits things are a little boring but the way he interprets that is, “Now I have time to do everything I need to do. I am so grateful my family stuck with me.”

His family is taking him to counseling, taking him to meetings. They are kind of watching him like hawks and he is way OK with that for now.

And, Teddy.

I didn’t even recognize the handsome young man sitting in front of me. He’s gone from 125 pound to 140 and looks amazing. He’s working again, off heroin for 5 months. 

He is struggling a lot in his sobriety with the (his words) "horrible things he did to his friends and co-workers" while actively using. Working on the shame and the guilt. I read somewhere that guilt can be handy; it helps guide us toward the next right thing. 

Shame however, isn’t so useful. It tends to keep us stuck in thoughts that don’t do us any good.

This is but a small sampling of what I get to hear treating patients at TCI. These folks have all experienced the misery of addiction and are tasting the sweet fruits of recovery. Talk to most people in long term recovery and you will hear that it keeps getting better. 

It’s my privilege to be a little part of it.