Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Steroid Use Threatens Young Athletes

July 18, 2008

So many young high school and college athletes look up to their favorite sports players for inspiration. The down side to this is that these young athletes also look up to these professional players for their actions, which many times are not so inspiring. According to a recent article, an increasing number of medical experts are becoming concerned with the effects of anabolic steroids on young athletes who abuse this drug for personal gain in their respective sports.

A report by the Office of National Drug Control Policy showed that in 2007 2.2% of 12th graders, or roughly 1 in 45 had admitted to using steroids for at least the duration of one traditional sports cycle, which lasts anywhere from 8 to 12 weeks. Although steroids have been designated a controlled substance within the United States, many athletes use the drug to increase muscle density and increase confidence. But with this extra boost comes a dangerous risk of damaging their overall health. Studies have shown that anabolic steroids can damage the heart and liver, stunt bone development, and cause extreme mood changes, weight gain and acne. Because steroids are related to testosterone, the use and then withdrawal of the substance can lead to severe depression episodes that may last for months at a time. In turn, this can have a greater effect on the number of suicidal thoughts and according to U.S. government studies; suicide is the third leading cause of death among youths between the ages of 15 and 24.

With numerous stories on the news displaying professional athletes being accused of using steroids, young up and coming students are being given a false view of the “perfect image” and are thus abusing steroids to try and meet the pressures to look athletically “perfect.”

The abuse of steroids can be just as dangerous as becoming addicted to more common substances such as alcohol and prescription drugs and for 17 and 18-year-old kids, the repercussions are life threatening and can be very difficult to quit.

They say the proof is in the pudding. I’ll let you be the judge of that:

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

Alcohol and Energy Drinks: A Dangerous Combination

July 14, 2008

College students are constantly looking for ways to pick themselves up from the all-night study sessions, the tedious homework assignments and the ever-popular college social life. In recent years, a growing trend among college students has been the emergence of energy drinks to help provide a stimulating boost for those long hours. Popular brands among students include Red Bull, Venom, and Adrenaline Rush. This trend has not only affected college students, but people around the world bringing with it yet another trend: mixing these popular energy boosters with alcohol at parties and bars.

By mixing energy drinks with alcoholic beverages, you are ultimately endangering your body two-fold. Most energy drinks contain an obscene amount of caffeine, which is meant to boost the immune system and send more energy to the body. According to the National Institute of Health, energy drinks can increase the heart rate and blood pressure of a person’s body, which can cause palpitations. By mixing these drinks with alcohol, people are thus increasing the chance for heart rhythm problems to occur. A misconception among students is that by combining the energy drink with alcohol, their bodies will be able to physically last for a longer period of time, allowing them to drink further into the night. In reality however, both alcohol and energy drinks cause dehydration in a person’s body and by mixing the two, the effects of dehydration become worse.

Steve Clarke, director of the College Alcohol Abuse Prevention Center says:

“Energy drinks have a lot of stimulants in them like ginseng and taurine, while alcohol is a depressant so by mixing the two you’re sending mixed messages to your nervous system which can cause cardiac related problems.”

According to the Core Institute, which is an organization that focuses primarily on college drinking habits, 159,000 of today’s college freshmen will drop of out of school after their first year because of alcohol or other drug related problems. A common phrase among many students is that after they graduate they will stop drinking and get his or her act together, but the reality is that engaging in heavy drinking all through college can have a traverse effect on becoming a full blown alcoholic later on in life.

Abusing alcohol in and of itself can be a very harmful action, but when bringing energy drinks into the mix, the danger of its effects are greatly intensified. College is meant to be the beginning to the rest of your life, so don’t let it be the end. If you or someone you know has a problem with substance abuse, get help now. It may just be the beginning you are looking for.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

Alcohol At Every Turn

June 27, 2008

All over the world alcohol abuse is incredibly popular amongst all different age groups. Because of this, alcohol seems to be everywhere you turn. Take for instance the genre of popular culture, i.e., the TV. It’s almost inevitable that while sitting down on a Friday night you will see a commercial that glorifies the use of alcohol. A perfect example would be the contest that Captain Morgan Rum has created. Now I may not be the best case study because I watch way more TV than I should, but I would have to say that I see that commercial at least once everyday, if not twice while I’m watching my shows. As a matter of fact, I’d have to say that the majority of commercials that grace my tube are those that relate to alcohol in some way. So what’s wrong with this picture?

The problem is that popular culture now a days has helped to desensitize the way that people view alcohol. These commercials do their best to inform the viewers that alcohol can be harmful and that it’s important to be responsible while drinking. However, the scenarios that are shown on the TV are portrayed to be fun situations. So in essence, the makers of the alcoholic product are contradicting themselves in order to make a profit. Underage drinking is still a large problem in our society, and by making these commercials readily available on mainstream television we only add more fuel to the fire. I mean, let’s be realistic. Are teenagers going to playback in their heads the warning about being responsible, or the amount of fun the actors are having as a result of the alcohol?

So what are parents doing to stop the excessive drinking of younger teens? Here in this question lies yet another problem. When my cousin started college, she wanted to have a party, which most college students want to do. My aunt and uncle knew very well that if she went to a college party with her friends that the amount of alcohol would be overflowing, and the situation could get very dangerous. In an attempt to remedy this, they offered she have the party at their house and they would provide the alcohol. I think by doing this they were hoping to control the amount of alcohol served, and also monitor the overall situation. And the truth is, many parents have this same mentality. They think that if their children drink at home, and not out in bars it will keep them away from harm, which couldn’t be more wrong. Again, this scenario shows the effects of alcohol have desensitized even parents.

Substance abuse is a growing epidemic in our country and alcohol is right up there at the top of the list of misused drugs. I have to wonder who’s to blame. Yes, it’s true we all have our own free will, but when ads, commercials, films, and music all portray alcohol to be a fun activity, can we really just say no? If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol, there is help. All you have to do is take it.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

4 Tips For an Alcohol Free Summer

June 25, 2008

For people who are recovering from alcohol or drug addictions it can be difficult to find activities that don’t include these substances. This problem often arises during the summer months due to vacations and holidays. So what can family members do to help those who are struggling with the addiction? Here are some tips to help people experience a fun and exhilarating summer without any alcohol.

1.) Manage Expectations

What’s the 4th of July holiday without a party in which you and your friends and family get together for a Barbecue? If you are planning on having a party for this holiday, or for any get-together over the summer, make it clear up front to the guests that there will be no alcohol available. By casually informing your guests that you don’t plan on serving alcohol, they will not come with any prior expectations about drinking and they won’t be leaving disappointed in a huff.

2.) Early Events

I don’t know why, but for some reason, nighttime parties and alcohol have always gone together. In order to avoid the temptation of an evening cocktail party try throwing your parties earlier during the day. Especially during the summer, daytime events focus on the amazing weather and outdoor activities for people to get involved in. So the next time your friends want to go to an evening party and invite you along, don’t be afraid to suggest an afternoon picnic instead. You may find throwing that Frisbee around could be more fun that expected.

3.) Invite the Kids

Another summer party suggestion if you want to have some fun without all the alcohol is to suggest your friends bring along the entire family. For many adults the presence of children discourages acts of heavy drinking and by inviting the entire family to join in on the fun, you are sending a polite message that alcohol is not wanted. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Even with children present it is possible for adults to have a great time playing card games, or even a friendly game of basketball.

4.) Edit the Guest List

After leaving an alcohol recovery center, it is important for people to readjust their everyday lives to fit a new lifestyle. This may mean leaving out certain friends for a dinner party. If you have friends who love to drink and become the center of attention, it may be best to leave them out of these dinner parties in which there will be no alcohol. It’s not that you are saying you don’t like them, it’s just important you put your health before their enjoyment. So don’t be afraid to cut your guest list by a few people.

These are just a few things individuals and families who have recovering alcoholics in their homes can do to still have a fun and enjoyable summer. Although recovery may be difficult, it doesn’t have to cut you off from the rest of the world. So go out and enjoy your summer of healthy living!

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

Drinking May Damage More Than The Liver

June 23, 2008

According to the American Medical Association abusing alcohol brings with it many health related issues including hypertension, gastro-intestinal bleeding and notably the most known problem, cirrhosis of the liver. But for both men and women, alcohol can also bring on problems with the heart and arteries, as reported by MSNBC. Heavy drinking, which is defined in the article as more than 21 drinks a week for men, and 14 a week for women, can cause high blood pressure, and stiff arteries in men and enlarged hearts in women. These problems then can spiral into more deadly problems such as strokes or heart attacks.

Dr. Azra Mahmud of St. James Hospital believes that the higher risk for heart problems caused by drinking is for women.

“Basically, women are not able to cope with high alcohol consumption. It is going directly to the heart and damaging it.”

The study observed 200 men and women, whose average age was 46, and split them into three different groups; nondrinkers, moderate drinkers, and heavy drinkers. The reason behind the study was to determine whether or not alcohol causes structural changes in the hearts and arteries of people who are already at risk for high blood pressure. The results showed that for heavy drinkers, alcohol accelerates the effects of high blood pressure in men, and brings a very toxic effect to the heart tissue of women.

It is important to realize that heart disease is the number one killer around the world. By using addictive substances such as alcohol to increase that risk, people are endangering their lives by a much higher percentage. For people who have a drinking problem, an alcohol and drug recovery center may be an option to explore, especially now, knowing that this option could save your life in more ways than one.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

Depression and Pot a Bad Combo for Teens

June 20, 2008

According to a White House report teens who are depressed and who indulge in marijuana are creating an even more dangerous environment for themselves. When mixed with depression it is suggested that marijuana can cause dependence, mental illness or even suicidal thoughts. The report released by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy states that a teenager who has shown depressive tendencies is two times more likely to have used marijuana than teens that have no history of depression.

“Marijuana is a more consequential substance of abuse than our culture has treated it in the last 20 years,”

Says John Walters, director of the White House office.

“This is not just youthful experimentation that they’ll get over as we used to think in the past.”

Studies have also found that marijuana can lead to a great deal of serious problems including mental disorders. In fact, the risk of developing mental disorders has been said to be increased by 40% when the teen regularly smokes marijuana. The report also showed that teens that turn to pot when feeling depressed are twice as likely (8 percent vs. 3 percent) to become addicted to the substance. A misconception among many teens is that marijuana use is not as harmful as other drugs, but in reality, it can have a drastically negative impact on your emotional, physical, and biological being.

The good news is that teens may be starting to realize this. The study reported that marijuana use among teens has decreased 25 percent since 2001, which is an encouraging number. Here’s hoping that through parental monitoring and the spread of information about the consequences of the drug, that number continues to fall.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

A Prescription for Danger

June 18, 2008

College students may be walking into a CVS pharmacy drug free, but they certainly aren’t leaving empty handed. In a recent study conducted by Reuters, prescription drugs have become one of the most abused substances by college students. As a matter of fact, one-fifth of these students admitted to having bought prescription painkillers to get themselves high. The survey was comprised of 3,639 U.S. college students whose average age was just under 20 years old. A main factor in the increased use of these drugs is, of course, the easy nature of obtaining them, but another is a large misconception that prescription drugs are not as dangerous as other common street drugs such as cocaine, or heroin. In reality, the stimulants and opioids released by prescription drugs are similar if not just as dangerous as those found in street substances.

A report conducted by the University of Michigan research team showed that although the use of illicit drugs has decreased over the past decade, the use of prescription medications has done just the opposite. In the past year alone, fifteen percent of 12th grade students admitted to having abused prescription drugs. One theory that can be used to describe the rise in prescription abuse is that college aged students have much more freedom than that of high school students. Although many college dorms have a policy that illegal drugs can’t be used on the premises, there is often no policing done to make sure the students abide by the rule. Which makes it much easier for students to get together and abuse any type of harmful substance.

The increase in prescription drug abuse is an ongoing problem in the U.S. especially amongst teens entering college, and hopefully by using information studies and outreach programs, students will be able to realize the harmful effects that can come from using these types of drugs and they can seek out help.

For more information about drug and alcohol recovery, please visit The Right Step today!

A New Way to Kick Cocaine Addiction

June 16, 2008

According to an article posted on MSNBC.com cocaine addicts may soon have an easier way to kick their habit. At the moment, two Baylor College of Medicine researchers are working on creating the very first vaccine whose main responsibility will be to help users stop craving the use of the drug. Dr. Tom Kosten, a psychiatry professor who is assisting with the study says:

“For people who have a desire to stop using, the vaccine should be very useful. At some point, most users will give in to temptation and relapse, but those for whom the vaccine is effective won’t get high and will lose interest.”

The study, which is still in the midst of clinical trials brings hope to addicts who truly have a desire to stop their habit. Right now, the main prevention for cocaine addiction includes rehab and a 12-step relapse prevention program, so this drug comes at the right time. After all, any advancement is worth it in order to find a solution. With most medications, there is of course a chance that the vaccine will not work for everyone, but researchers are hopeful for it’s progress. The vaccine’s main job will be to motivate the immune system to attack products of the real drug when it’s taken. The body’s immune system is not built to recognize drug particles as they are too small, and the main ingredient in this vaccine will help the body to recognize the cocaine and will then trigger the brain to release antibodies to attack it.

Currently, the vaccine is awaiting approval from the Food and Drug Administration to begin institutional trials, but if this goes through, it will be a remarkable breakthrough for the world of cocaine addiction.