Most of us know “DUI” stands for “driving under the influence.” But the acronym has another meaning, one with consequences that rival the damage done when one gets behind the wheel impaired. Although dating under the influence doesn’t cause motor vehicle accidents, it certainly can run your personal life off the road.
Everyone wants to be sociable, to be seen as easy to get along with and be around, and to fit in. Unfortunately, in today’s society, that all too often means drinking alcoholic beverages — and drinking as much as peers do. Though it has become the norm and not the exception, social drinking has hidden costs, not the least of which is that it can lead to addiction.
If you are questioning your drinking, wondering if you’re an alcoholic and thinking of cutting back or getting help, let your children be your inspiration. The children of alcoholics grow up to face a number of emotional, social and psychological issues. Don’t think that the damage is done and that you may as well keep drinking. If you can stop now and get the professional help you need, you will be giving your children back a healthy and involved parent. And you will be teaching them an important lesson about strength and perseverance.
New findings from a team of American researchers indicate that some young adults abandon heavy drinking when they grow older and have to make the role adjustments associated with getting married.
More and more people are getting drunk on hand sanitizer, using the cleaning product as a cheap source of alcohol. The tactic is especially popular among prison inmates, alcoholics and teens. While the trend might seem absurd at first, the alcohol content of hand sanitizer is pretty high, and, of course, drinking it carries all the same risks as the consumption of any other form of alcohol.
Most Americans want a ban on powdered alcohol. That’s the finding of the first formal, nationally representative poll by an entity other than the manufacturer of Palcohol, a brand of powdered alcohol.
The University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health surveyed almost 2,000 adults nationwide in May 2015, two months after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of powdered alcohol. The findings were published June 15 in Science Daily. Of the respondents:
- 60 percent support a total ban of powdered alcohol in their state.
- 84 percent want online sales of powdered alcohol prohibited.
- 90 percent fear underage people, or those younger than 21, will misuse the product.
- 85 percent are concerned that the legalization of powdered alcohol will increase underage use of alcohol.
- 81 percent worry that powdered alcohol will prove easy for underage people to acquire.
These high levels of public concern about the health risks of powdered alcohol for children square with the results of an ongoing poll by Addiction.com: So far approximately 73 percent of respondents have said Palcohol shouldn’t be allowed to be sold.
Manufacturer Touts Palcohol’s Benefits, Addresses Safety Concerns
Palcohol’s creator dismisses such worries, saying powdered alcohol should be taxed and regulated just like its liquid counterpart and that it’s actually safer than liquid alcohol. Mark Phillips, who founded Lipsmark, the Arizona-based manufacturer of Palcohol, says he developed powdered alcohol for those who need to pack light, such as backpackers and recreationally active people like himself. The Lipsmark CEO claims that even medical personnel traveling to the developing world have expressed interest in Palcohol.
“Medical personnel have inquired about using Palcohol as an antiseptic, which would be lighter than a liquid antiseptic — which would make it beneficial to use when going to remote locations where medical supplies need to be lugged in,” Phillips told Elements Behavioral Health (EBH).
In an official statement on the Palcohol website, Phillips expresses concern about proposed bans of powdered alcohol at the state and federal levels. (Already at least six states have banned Palcohol, and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is leading a legislative charge to ban Palcohol nationwide.)
…it concerns me that there is a proposed ban of powdered alcohol in other states and on the federal level denying millions of responsible adults and hundreds of businesses a chance to use this legal, safe and revolutionary new product that has applications in medicine, energy, hospitality, the military, manufacturing, etc. as well as reducing the carbon footprint by being so much lighter to ship than liquid alcohol.
Phillips chalks up the latest findings by the University of Michigan poll to a lack of education about powdered alcohol. Citing the results of a poll that his company conducted, which reportedly shows 80 percent of drinkers want to buy Palcohol, Phillips told EBH that “when people don’t know about Palcohol and the many benefits or solutions it offers, they have a negative feeling toward it.”
“Once they understand the product,” he continued, “most change their mind … I would suspect that very, very few of the people polled in the Michigan study have been to Palcohol.com, the only place where one can find the truth about Palcohol. So the fact that 40 percent of the people polled don’t want it banned knowing nothing about it is very encouraging to us.”
Putting Poll Findings in Context
On the heels of the release of the University of Michigan’s findings, EBH contacted the director of the poll, Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, for his comments on the results. Dr. Davis, who is also the deputy director of the University of Michigan’s Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, issued the following disclaimer:
The important part of our National Poll on Children’s Health is that our work provides a way to bring the public’s views into the national policy dialogue through a nationally representative sample of adults. In other words: our findings are not the opinions of our team; instead, our results indicate that it is the public that favors a ban on powdered alcohol and restrictions on advertising and online sales.
Meanwhile, the problem of underage alcohol abuse continues to pose significant health risks. Alcohol remains the most widely abused substance among people between the ages of 12 and 21. Every year, roughly 5,000 young people under the age of 21 will die as a result of underage drinking. These deaths occur as the result of vehicular accidents, homicides, suicides, and other drinking-related injuries, such as falls, burns, and drowning. And other reports show that alcohol abuse remains one of the top 10 health concerns for kids. The problem remains despite a sharp downward decline in underage drinking, according to the latest report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
By Kristina Robb-Dover
Follow Kristina on Twitter at @saintplussinner
If you’re concerned that you have a substance abuse problem, consider taking two short questionnaires included in Substance Abuse and Older People, a comprehensive 2015 book covering the age-related issues of substance abuse, from diagnosis to treatment.
You’ve probably tried to quit drinking or using other substances at some point in the past. You may have been able to stop drinking or to give up using drugs for short periods of time, but for some reason you always end up going back to your old ways. You may even try to tell yourself that you can quit any time you want to but that you just don’t really want to.
If you’re concerned about the risk of fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (FASDs), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have a useful page listing answers to common questions about alcohol consumption and pregnancy. Finding out about FASDs and the general rules for alcohol consumption during pregnancy helps you avoid any unintended negative effects on your baby and can provide the encouragement you need to get your drinking under control.
People who achieve abstinence during alcohol treatment are substantially more likely to relapse back into excessive drinking when they have significant physical pain, according to recent findings from a group of American researchers.
As a rule, people affected by diagnosable alcohol abuse and/or alcoholism consume alcohol in amounts that exceed public health recommendations for moderate drinking. Many individuals with serious alcohol problems successfully achieve abstinence while enrolled in a treatment program. In a study published in April 2015 in the journal Addiction, researchers from two American universities explored the impact that physical pain has on the odds that any given person will relapse back into a pattern of excessive drinking during or after alcohol treatment.
A new study has found that raising alcohol taxes in Illinois was associated with a decrease in drunk-driving deaths and suggests that raising taxes around the country could save thousands of lives per year.
Two new studies have found that the shape of your beer glass and the presence or absence of markings affect how quickly you drink alcohol. The findings have important consequences when considering binge drinking—effectively defined as consuming enough alcohol to put you over the limit for driving (a blood-alcohol content of 0.08 percent)—and its numerous health risks and impacts on society. Could we reduce the level of excessive drinking in society by altering the shape and design of the glasses we serve alcohol in? The new studies suggest that, surprisingly, the answer could be yes.
Heavy drinking in functional adults often begins as a way to relax. You need that glass of wine at the end of a long day to unwind, right? The next thing you know it’s two, then three glasses before you can finally feel like yourself again. You start drinking so much that you’re not sleeping well and you wake up with a hangover, but you still need it every night. You know that you’re not an alcoholic, but you might be starting to think you have a problem. And if you think that you are the only one who is a slave to your habit, you’re wrong. Your children see everything you do and are affected by every choice you make. Here are some important signs to look for that should convince you that your kids need you to cut back:
New findings from a team of American researchers indicate that an alcohol consumer’s socioeconomic status has a significant influence on the genetic factors that help determine the amount of alcohol he or she drinks.
Are 12-step programs really effective against alcoholism? Dr. Lance Dodes, a psychiatrist who specializes in treatment for substance abuse, claims most emphatically that they are not. His critique appeared in written form in 2014, in a book he co-authored with his son, freelance writer Zachary Dodes, called The Sober Truth: Debunking the Bad Science Behind 12-Step Programs and the Rehab Industry. A review of the book in The New York Times by Dr. Richard A. Friedman, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College, called it “deeply flawed.”