Tag: alcoholism treatment

A Social Worker Asked Why Gratitude Helps Alcoholics Stay Sober…What She Found is Amazing!

Active Gratitude = A Better Recovery

Dr. Amy Krentzman is an Assistant Professor of Social Work at the University of Minnesota. She’s also fascinated with addiction recovery – so much so that she’s dedicated her professional life to studying it.

gratitude in addiction recovery

Before Dr. Krentzman joined the University of Minnesota and was interviewed in places like BBC News, she received a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. While there, she became enamored with the idea of positive psychology.

She even went as far as running a study to figure out how and why gratitude, as a form of positive psychology, worked so well for recovering alcoholics. Her reasoning?

“Recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous has always involved gratitude…substance abuse counselors also report encouraging gratitude and positive social engagement for their clients. But no one has done the research to back up the belief that these kinds of practices work” (The Minnesota Post).

Learn what positive psychology is, what she found out, and why gratitude helps people in recovery thrive below!

What is Positive Psychology?

Without going into an incredibly detailed and scientific explanation of positive psychology, it’s basically the study of positive mental health rather than negative mental health.

In her interview with The Minnesota Post, Dr. Krentzman uses the example of how more traditional psychology – “a focus on pathology” – can help someone move from a negative mental state to a neutral one. She goes on to explain that once someone is in this neutral mental state, positive psychology can be used to move into an upbeat and healthy mental state.

Makes sense to me!

Although the term positive psychology dates back to the 1950s, its practical application began in 1998. This was when Martin Seligman became President of the American Psychological Association and started a widespread movement to focus on positive mental health.

It’s important to note that positive psychology isn’t limited to gratitude or recovery from substance abuse. It’s an entire field of study that spans multiple areas.

Dr. Krentzman settled on gratitude because of her own interest in recovery. She notes in her Minnesota Post interview that, “Gratitude is a frequent topic in recovery circles and appears as a theme in Alcoholics Anonymous literature.”

So began her pilot study to learn why and how gratitude works for alcoholics.

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Why Does Gratitude Help Those in Recovery?

While Dr. Krentzman was getting her doctorate at the University of Michigan, she conducted a pretty interesting experiment to learn about gratitude in early recovery.

She took a group of people in treatment for alcoholism and divided them into two groups – the gratitude group and the normal group. She had members of the gratitude group do something called “the three good things” for two weeks. She had the normal group answer six “unrelated open-ended questions.”

The three good things is a positive psychology exercise where participants think of, predictably, three good things that have happened to them that day. They then reflect on why these things happened.

women smiling

So, what did she find? Well, those in the gratitude group “felt more calm, serene, peaceful, and at ease…[they] were less irritated, angry or upset. They reported a significant decrease in negative mood” (Minnesota Post).

Members of the normal group didn’t report doing negatively as a result of not practicing gratitude, but they certainly didn’t experience any of the positive results the gratitude group did.

Thanks to her study, Dr. Krentzman believe that gratitude helps keep alcoholics sober because it reinforces their sobriety. In fact, members of her gratitude group reported that practicing active gratitude reminded them they were on the right path.

While the exact scientific and biological reasons that positive psychology and gratitude help alcoholics stay sober remains unknown, you can’t argue that something very good happens when people – alcoholic or otherwise – practice gratitude. That’s something we can all celebrate!

Did Science Just Cure Alcoholism?

Does This Gene Make You an Alcoholic?

Get ready for a lot of multisyllabic and confusing scientific words! All jokes aside, researchers from the Mayo Clinic have discovered new genetic markers that may signal a shift to new forms of alcoholism treatment.

Scientists from the Mayo Clinic recently published a study in the journal Translational Psychiatry. This groundbreaking paper links the allele (or alternate form of a gene) of the genetic variant rs2058878 to longer periods of sobriety for recovering alcoholics who are prescribed Campral.

Campral is a brand name of the popular alcohol and benzo treatment drug acamprosate.

is alcoholism genetic

Okay, that’s a lot to take it. I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around it and I’ve been researching this none stop for hours! Let’s see if we can break it down in simpler terms.

Is Alcoholism Genetic? Am I Doomed?

For the past couple of decades, it’s been an accepted fact that genetics plays a large role in determining if someone will be an alcoholic or not.

In fact, it’s now thought that someone’s genetic makeup is 50% responsible for whether they’ll end up in active alcoholism. The remaining 50% comes from environmental factors.

Alcoholism’s a delicate balance of nature vs. nurture. Following this logic, any treatment must also be a delicate balance of scientific solutions (medication, therapy, etc.) and environmental recovery (twelve-step fellowships, spirituality, etc.).

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Does Campral Work?

For decades now, Campral has been a tremendous aid in the fight against alcoholism. It’s been prescribed in the United States for just over ten years, while the U.K. has used it since the late 80’s.

In numerous double blind studies, Campral has been shown to produce more days of abstinence than either placebos or no medication at all. It’s worth noting, though, that the average length of abstinence is between forty-five and fifty days. This is a far cry from the multiple years of abstinence that define long-term sobriety.

So, how does Campral work? Well, scientists aren’t exactly sure. They believe it works on the same neural pathways as alcohol or benzo’s. Campral isn’t suitable for those with impaired kidneys, as it’s primarily removed via the kidneys. Kidney damage, unfortunately, is a common side effect of alcoholism.

Unsure if you’re an alcoholic? Find out here

The New Gene that “Solves” Alcoholism

When combined with Campral, the allele of the genetic variant rs2058878 (located in the GRIN2B gene) leads to longer periods of sobriety. Okay, but what exactly does that mean?

is alcoholism hereditary

Well, it means that those who suffer from alcoholism and posses an alternative form of the genetic variant rs2058878 and are treated with Campral are likely to have longer periods of sobriety than those who don’t meet this criteria.

Those are a lot of hoops to jump through! Even if someone desperately wants to get sober and seeks treatment, they may not have the necessary genetics to benefit from this new information.

So, does the allele of the genetic variant rs2058878 cure alcoholism? Nope, it doesn’t. What this new discovery does mean is that science continues to make strides in the fight against substance abuse.

Who knows what discoveries will occur over the next decade.

Liked this article? Learn more surprising facts about alcoholism

Suprising True Facts and Statistics about Alcohol Addiction

Written By: Fiona Stockard

Alcohol Addiction Facts and Statistics

Alcohol is the most abused drug on the planet! This leads to a world of misunderstanding when it comes to the effects of alcoholism. Find some true alcohol addiction facts and statistics below.

alcohol addiction facts

Alcohol Addiction Facts

Here are seven alcohol addiction facts –

• Nearly fourteen million Americans, or one in thirteen, abuse alcohol or are alcoholics.

• Close to twenty million Americans engage in binge and heavy drinking.

• Binge drinking is defined as: having five or more drinks in one sitting (for men), and having four or more drinks in one sitting (for women).

• Heavy drinking is defined as: having fifteen or more drinks per week (for men), and having eight or more drinks per week (for women).

• Alcoholism doesn’t have a single cause. It’s a complex mixture of genetic, psychological, and environmental factors.

• There’s also no test that indicates alcoholism. Medical professionals diagnose on a case-by-case basis. They do this by using medical and family histories, and bio-psychosocial examinations.

• Alcohol abuse is a risk factor for many types of cancer, including: breast, esophagus, larynx, liver, mouth, and pharynx.

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Alcohol Addiction Statistics

Here are eight alcohol addiction statistics –

• In 2006 alone, alcohol abuse cost the United States 223.5 billion dollars.

• In 2012, 24% percent of adults reported engaging in binge drinking during the past month. 7.1% reported engaging in heavy drinking during the past month.

• Also in 2012, almost one and a half million adults received treatment for alcohol abuse. This breaks down to one million men and 416,000 women.

• Nearly 90,000 people die from alcohol related causes each year. This makes alcoholism the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States.

•8% of all emergency room visits are related to alcohol use.

•33% of all suicides and suicide attempts are related to alcohol misuse.

• Approximately 17% of men and 8% of women will be dependent on alcohol at some point during their lifetime.

• Up to 40% of all hospital beds in the U.S. are used to treat alcohol related health conditions (this excludes hospital beds used for maternity or intensive care purposes).

Did science just discover a cure for alcoholism?

What Do These Alcohol Addiction Facts and Statistics Mean For You?

alcohol addiction statistics

These facts and statistics mean a few different things. First, they clearly show the scope of alcoholism in the United States. We have a huge problem! There are a ton of reasons for this, but that’s a whole other article.

These facts and statistics show that alcoholism has a devastating effect on people’s lives. A lot of people drink, and because of this drinking, a lot of people suffer major complications. These run the gambit from medical complications, to addiction issues, to car crashes, to lost money, to death.

Finally, these facts and statistics show that something needs to be done! Alcoholism has been a vice of men and women since we were living in caves. This isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Simply put, we need more treatment centers, and for everyone to have access to these treatment centers, to combat the popularity of alcohol.

Alcoholism is a progressive and deadly disease, therefore successful treatment must be just as progressive and specialized. Fortunately, Lighthouse Recovery Institute takes this idea to heart.

We offer Gender-Specific Addiction Treatment, so our patients can focus on what’s important while in treatment and begin living healthy and successful lives.

Call Lighthouse today at 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE or 1-(561)-381-0015 to learn more about the importance of gender-specific substance abuse treatment.

Lighthouse Recovery Institute: Guiding You to a Brighter Tomorrow

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