Health Conditions

Living with Bipolar Disorder

bipolar disorder

I am a 31 year old high school teacher living with bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed at the age of 26, but symptoms were present earlier. It is often the case that bipolar disorder will not surface until late adolescence or early adulthood. Bipolar disorder was formerly known as Manic Depression, but I guess they think bipolar disorder will be less stereotyped.

Five years seems like a long time. I should be able to handle this disease by now, but I’m not. Sometimes the mood changes are rapid cycling, meaning they occur within 24 to 48 hour periods. However, sometimes I’ll be either up or down for months at a time. The up side is called manic and the down is depressive. People ask me sometimes, “Hey, are you going to be at the game next week?” and I won’t have an answer because I can’t tell you whether I will be functional. When I am down, I don’t even want to get out of bed. Paying bills or feeding the dogs becomes a huge task. Eating and showering occur out of necessity and I will go for weeks without going to the grocery store.

Understanding the Disease

Since my diagnosis, I have lost a lot of friends who wouldn’t take the time to understand my disease. When I am down, I disappear. The disease has made my life as a teacher more difficult as well. How do you explain to a room full of hormone-raging teenagers that you have bipolar disorder? Especially when that is an insult they use to call teachers they think are crazy. The stigma of the disease goes that far. Those kids, who may not even be able to spell bipolar disorder, know that it has a bad connotation.

Sometimes I have to miss days just because I can’t go to work. I am physically well, but I can’t go and I can’t explain why I won’t go. This is called mutism and is common among those with the disease. It is the inability to express one’s feelings not because one doesn’t want to, but because they can’t. I don’t call those my sick days; they are my mental health days. When I tell someone that, they really don’t understand the depth of that statement.

The Americans with Disabilities Act

The only thing on my side is the ADA. Those with bipolar disorder are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act. After working in the school system for eight years, I finally approached my principal because the disease was causing problems at work. The problems had gone so far that I was nearly fired or at least that’s what I thought because bipolar disorder often makes you very paranoid. It always seemed to me like someone was out to get me. Someone wanted to get me fired. It was all in my head. I see that now. Still, I can’t control it. My principal has been more supportive than I ever could have imagined. I am very thankful for him. My job is a huge trigger in my moods. A trigger is a noticeable event that causes the mood to change suddenly. Many of those with the disease are able to pinpoint their triggers after some time with the disease. I know two of my triggers: my job and money.

I have been on countless different pills of varying shapes, sizes, and colors since I was 22, even though the diagnosis was not until 26. No drug works completely, 100% of the time. I wish I could express that to those closest to me who ask, “Have you been taking your pills?” Can you imagine hearing that every time you are in a bad mood? I went off of my pills once and wanted to kill myself. I ended up in the hospital for several days with a doctor who swore I wasn’t bipolar, but never did tell me what was wrong with me. There are other psychological illnesses that mimic bipolar disorder; however with my family history I believe it to be true. Bipolar disorder is often genetic and my mother and grandfather both had bipolar disorder.

It is hard living with this disease and the stigma attached to it. I hate explaining why I take a handful of pills every night. I will never have children, which is something I want more than anything in the world, because I don’t want to pass on this curse. Bipolar disorder is for life. You don’t get well. You may be stable, but you are never well. It doesn’t just go away.

Health Conditions

Lithium Information Treatment and Side Effects: Help for Manic Depression High or Low Episodes and Bipolar Disorder

cure for depression

Lithium is helpful in evening out the lows (depression) and the highs (mania) of patients moods that are associated with bipolar disorder. It can also be used to treat patients with depression who do not suffer from bipolar disorder.

How Lithium Works

Lithium carbonate is a form of salt. It was approved for use in the U.S. in 1970. Lithium actually effects the flow of sodium through nerve and muscle cells located in the body. Sodium is what affects mania or excitation.

Blood levels on patients taking Lithium will need to be monitored. Studies indicate that patients respond best to Lithium when blood levels are between 0.6-1.2mmol/L. Blood samples will also indicate if a patient has too much Lithium in their system. This could result in side effects. Too little Lithium may not treat symptoms adequately.

What Lithium Treats

Lithium was developed to treat manic depression, bipolar disorder. It evens out the highs (mania) and lows (depression) in moods associated with bipolar disorder.

Lithium is also prescribed for patients with depression, who have never experienced a manic episode. When prescribed for depression, Lithium is often added to an additional antidepressant.

Certain schizophrenia patients have been treated with Lithium. These patients experience changes in thinking at the same time as a mood change and it resembles either depression or mania.

Lithium Administration and Dosage

Lithium is available in either tablets or capsules. This medication is generally taken 2 or 3 times a day due to upset stomach occuring. Physicians will determine the correct daily dosage.

Lithium should be taken with food to help avoid stomach upset. It should never be taken with caffeine products, such as coffee, sodas, or tea. Caffeine can decrease Lithium levels in a patient’s body.

Side Effects of Lithium

Common side effects experienced while taking Lithium can include loss of appetite, nausea, stomach upset, mild tremor of the hands, weakness, lack of coordiation, itching skin, or thinning or drying of hair.

If a patient experiences signs of an allergic reaction to Lithium, medical help should be sought immediately. Signs of an allergic reaction can include hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of the lips, tongue, face, or throat.

Patients should stop taking Lithium and consult their physician immediately if they experience any of the following side effects: extreme thirst, frequent or less urination, fever, eye or vision problems, feelings of restlessness or confusion, weakness, pain, discoloration of fingers or toes, cold feeling, slow heart rate, fainting, light-headedness, hallucinations, seizure, muscle stiffness, sweating, or fast or uneven heartrate.

Important Information Regarding Lithium

Bipolar disorder, manic depression and schizophrenia all require long-term treatment. Physicians will determine the length of time for treatment with Lithium.

Pregnant women taking Lithium during the first three months have an associated risk of their baby having a heart valve defect. Babies exposed to Lithium during that time frame have a 1 in 2,000 chance of developing a heart valve defect.

Lithium, when used as prescribed, has helped patients control their condition. Lithium should be continued even when patients are feeling well. Patients need to avoid excessive amounts of caffeinated beverages. Never start a low salt diet while on Lithium without first discussing this with a healthcare provider. Low sodium blood levels can lead to Lithium toxicity.

Health Conditions

Life on a Pendulum: Bipolarism: Manic Depression, Cancer of the Soul

manic depression

No, it’s not just a bad day. It’s not even just a horrible day. It’s another one of those days when you pick up a razor and slash a diary of just how bad you feel into your flesh.

Seeing is believing:

…and the opposite is true; those who do not suffer from this mental illness cannot even begin to imagine the terrifying heights to which you can fly; the almost supernatural endurance sustained during a manic period. You can survive on two or three hours a sleep a day, for weeks on end. It’s as though a whirling dervish has possessed your very being and there is no stopping the mad reel. Even more frightening is the knowledge that you are going to crash, sooner or later. There is no avoiding that finale.

You never hit bottom. There is no bottom, just endless sinking into nothingness; a fall through the basement floor of despair. It is not uncommon for a depressive to simply stop living in any meaningful way. She does not get up, she does not wash her hair, she does not cook or clean or even talk. It can go on for months, there is only the keening; a high-pitched wail turning into a scream. If you call, she won’t answer the phone. If you go to her house, she locks the door and hides.

Is it real?

Doctors have been studying this issue for many years, and though they believe it is a true mental disorder, they have been hard-pressed to find physical evidence to prove it. Recently, they have turned to Brain Imaging to find anomalies in the way the brains of manic-depressives work. By studying the neurotransmitters (messengers between brain cells) they are beginning to see differences in the functioning of manic-depressives when compared to a normally-functioning brain. There is some proof that bipolarism is partly genetic in nature, as it tends to run in families. But researchers believe it is more of an interaction between many genes as opposed to a single gene acting on its own, along with environmental causes which may include emotional trauma. Since it is a relatively new field of research, there is hope that soon a link will be found between the genetic make-up of manic-depressives and and inherited genes.

Diagnosis is difficult, due to the fact that many of the symptoms mimic those of other mental illnesses. One of the methods used to determine whether the patient is bipolar is to rule out other psychological disorders. It is also hindered by the fact that many doctors either do not believe it is an actual illness, or do not recognize the symptoms.

Signs and symptoms of manic-depression

Often beginning in childhood, this disorder begins with what is termed ‘hypo-mania’. This consists of rapid and exaggerated mood swings, irritability and impulsive behavior. If left untreated it tends to worsen over time, developing into full-blown manic-depression. There are different degrees of bipolarism. Bipolar I is characterised by at least one episode of mania, with or without the depressive aspect. Bipolar II diagnosis requires at least one manic episode, accompanied by a depressive episode. Cyclothymic disorder consists of recurring hypo-manic and depressive episodes, not necessarily separated; it is possible to be manic and depressive at the same time. In this case, there must be four or more major depressive incidents that impair the patient’s functioning on some level. Rapid cycling manic-depression manifests as at least four major manic episodes a year, with major depressive episodes in between.

Other signs to watch for are self-mutilation or talk of suicide. Although it is more likely for bipolars to commit suicide in the early stages of the illness, it is always a possibility, and signs should be taken seriously. Cutting is a form of self-mutilation common to manic-depressives; usually it is done in places on the body that do not show, such as the thighs. If done on the arms, they tend to wear long sleeves to conceal the wounds. They often do not feel the pain at all, and it is an expression of self-loathing and despair.


Once diagnosed with bipolarism, medication is usually recommended. The most common medication to treat this disorder in the beginning is lithium. Advanced cases often require the use of anti-seizure medication and anti-depressants to combat severe depressive incidents. In severe cases Electroshock Therapy (EST) is used. No one knows quite why it works, but it jolts the brain and seems to be effective in restoring some balance to the lives of manic-depressives.

Psychotherapy should be used hand-in-hand with medication. It is important for the patient to understand the triggers that cause episodes, and to find ways to cope with the stressors in their lives. Manic-depressives usually have very disorganized personalities and hold onto false beliefs, regardless of evidence to the contrary. It is baffling to their families and friends, because they never know what to expect; they can go from outrageous and promiscuous behavior to complete withdrawal in no time at all, and often those closest to them give up and despair of ever figuring out the best approach.

It may well be that time holds the only answer to the questions posed about this mental disorder. For those of you with bipolars in your life, the most important thing you can do is have patience; and never downplay the agony in their lives. One of the most frustrating facts for bipolars is that there is no visible sign of their illness, and so many people refuse to acknowledge that there is anything seriously wrong.


How to Stop Smoking – Escape From Tobacco Prison: Wanting to Become a Non-Smoker is a Huge First Step to Success

why stop smoking

Once the epitome of movie cool, the smoker has now become an outcast in society; a social pariah. At one time anyone lurking in a shadowy doorway, his face lit by the soft glow of smouldering cigarette, conjured up notions of Harry Lime and an exotic world of adventure and espionage. In these health conscious times, someone lurking in a doorway smoking usually just means that he’s nowhere else to go to ‘light up’.

In many countries even the last bastion of the hounded smokers, the bar, has turned its back on them, forcing the smoker to brave all weather conditions to enjoy a nicotine hit in the street, looking for all the world like an itinerant beggar. Smokers have ostensibly taken on the role of an underclass, the modern day social equivalent of India’s untouchables – looked down upon by non-smokers.

And yet millions upon millions of people continue to swim against the tide despite the fact that they know that doing so might ultimately kill them and what’s more kill others.

Justifications for continuing on a self destructive course range from ‘smoking helps me relax’, ‘it helps me concentrate’ and ‘it’s cool’, to the natural human condition of not reacting well to being told to what to do.

Ultimately there’s only one reason why anyone continues to smoke and that’s because it is purely and simply an addiction. And like any addiction that makes giving it up a difficult process… but not an impossible one.

However, before anyone attempts to stop smoking, there is one very important factor which will make all the difference between success and failure. He must genuinely want to stop – doing it for any other reason is a one way street of varying lengths to the next packet of cigarettes.

Why Stop Smoking?

There are any number of reasons to give up the killer weed and the most powerful of these should be that to continue to puff away puts smokers on the fast track to the final destination and a meeting with Dr Death. But everyone knows this, so what’s new?

Maybe a more seductive argument is to for smokers to stop thinking of the cigarette as a companion and think of it as a backstabbing false friend who has wrapped a cast iron chain around them without them even realising it.

Stopping smoking is liberating. Take away the need for a cigarette and there’s no need for the smoker to get jittery on planes and trains or in restaurants and bars, his thoughts consumed with working out when he can get his next hit. Non-smokers can eat, drink and go anywhere. Discovering this is like having scales removed from the eyes

And as for health benefits; 20 minutes after stopping, heart rates and blood pressure drops. In 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the body return to normal. Within 3 months, circulation improves and lungs function more efficiently and after 5 years the risk of a stroke is the same as that of a non-smoker.

Food also tastes far better as well and whilst this might seem like a minor point, it’s all part of the folder filed under ‘a better quality of life’.

How to Stop Smoking

There’s no point in being unrealistic, it isn’t going to be easy, but the good news is that there’s a lot of support out there. Deciding the most appropriate method is important in finding the right road to success.

  • Stop Smoking Programmes: Enrol in a local stop smoking programme. Giving up with others can help ease the pain.
  • Nicotine Replacement: Using patches, gums, lozenges, inhalers etc helps the body deal with the physical effects of nicotine withdrawal, leaving smokers to concentrate more on the psychological aspect to stopping smoking.
  • Hypnosis: Hypnotherapy techniques help addresses psychological barriers to giving up smoking through subconscious positive affirmations and suggestions.
  • Acupuncture: Treatment works by stimulating body functions to help ease tobacco withdrawal symptoms.
  • Stop Smoking Literature: Books such as Alan Carr’s Easy Way to Stop Smoking can be great support aids in the preparation for becoming a non-smoker.

Finally, here is a sobering fact about smoking to ponder.

Tobacco is the only commercially sold product that, if used as directed, will poison and kill the user.

It’s estimated that around 6 million people die from tobacco related diseases each year – don’t be one of them.


Drug Abuse Help: Warning Signs of Teenage Drug Abuse


When a drug addict begins abusing drugs, many times he chooses to hide it from friends and family members. Typically, the drug addict has a select group of friends who use drugs, and other friends who do not use drugs begin to see a withdraw from social activities. Serious drug abuse occurs from depression, life’s traumatic situations or pure curiosity. Regular drug use can turn to addiction, and that is when serious personality changes are seen. Parents and friends involved with teenage drug abuse can identify some common warning signs. When these warning signs are presented, drug abuse help can save the life of a friend or family member.

Mood Swings and Youth Drug Abuse

The most common indication that a friend or family member is abusing drugs is perpetual mood swings. When the drug abuser is able to get drugs, the mood is generally cheerful and happy. Withdrawals from drugs lead to depression, anger, lethargy and other changes in common behavior. The teenager may feel depressed and lash out at friends and family when the drug of choice is not available. Some teenagers miss classes. Adults miss work. Both of these patients are unable to keep commitments, especially when attempting to find the drugs.

Signs of Drug Use – Weight Loss

Weight loss is a common side effect of most stimulant drugs. Stimulant drugs such as meth and cocaine decrease appetite. This is a common teenage drug abuse sign. Opiate drugs such as oxycontin and heroin also reduce appetite. These drugs leave a pale color on the patient when they use continuously. Some patients have dark circles under the eyes, which is a sign of chronic, excessive use. One of the most prominent signs is weight loss. Some drug addicts lose several dozen pounds and look sickly. Other drug addicts succumb to anorexia and bulimic habits, which are increased during drug use.

Drug and Substance Abuse and Theft

When the money runs out, some teenagers resort to stealing from friends and family. Withdrawals are painful, so the teenager fears the symptoms of drug detox and steals money to buy the drug of choice. This causes more strain on internal family ties, so drug abuse can affect direct family members as well as the others who notice the wrongdoing from the drug abuser. The drug addict steals from parents, siblings and friends to avoid withdrawal symptoms from drugs.

Drug Addiction Treatment and Teenagers

Parents and friends are encouraged to find drug abuse help for anyone thought to have a dangerous addiction to drugs. Warning signs of drug abuse should be taken seriously, and parents and friends of the drug abuser are encouraged to support the drug abuser during the detox and recovery time. Many drug abusers want to recover and quit the dangerous habit, but they are afraid of the withdrawals. Find ways to avoid the withdrawals, and many drug addicts with follow the road to drug recovery.


CNS Depressant Prescription Drug Abuse

prescription drugs

A type of prescription medication, depressants reduce the activity in the central nervous system, or CNS. Doctors will prescribe a CNS depressant to treat anxiety. When people take these medications for non-medical purposes, they may have serious health problems.

Types of CNS Depressants

According to the US Department of Health and Human Services’ National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6.2 million people ages 12 and older abused prescription medications. The Office of National Drug Control Policy reports that in 2015, 0.7 percent of people ages 12 and over abused tranquilizers and 0.1 percent of people ages 12 and over abused sedatives, two types of CNS depressant.

The US Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration point out that people can abuse multiple types of CNS depressants, which have moderate to high physical and psychological dependence. Examples of CNS depressants include glutethimide, barbiturates, chloral hydrate, methaqualone and tranquilizers, also called benzodiazepines. All of these CNS depressants work by affecting the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid, or GABA, which decreases the brain’s activity, resulting in a calming effect.

Access to CNS Depressants

People who abuse CNS depressants obtain these drugs through multiple methods. The Office of National Drug Control Policy points out that people who abuse CNS depressants may doctor shop, in which they go to many doctors to get prescriptions for the medication. Some abusers may get their supply through over prescribing, in which they tell their doctors they lost some pills and need more. CNS depressant abusers may get their pills from friends and family. Other ways abusers access the medications include theft and illegal online pharmacies.

Signs of CNS Depressant Abuse

People may notice certain signs in people that can indicate abuse of CNS depressants. For example, people who abuse CNS depressants may display alcohol intoxication-like behavior, but without the smell of alcohol on their breath, according to the US Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration. They may also have difficulty concentrating when abusing CNS depressants. Other signs of abuse include dilated pupils, lack of coordination and falling asleep at work or school.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy explains that abuse of CNS depressants can lead to serious health problems. For example, people who abuse CNS depressants may start having seizures. Taking too high a dosage of a CNS depressant can result in respiratory depression and decreased heart rate. Withdrawal from these drugs after using large amounts can put users’ lives at risk. Severe withdrawal symptoms include delirium, convulsions and death.


Drug Abuse among Older Adults on Increase: Ageing Baby Boomers Abusing Drugs at an Alarming Rate

drug abuse rate

As baby boomers are getting older, drug rehabs are seeing an increase of older adults being admitted for addictions. This problem is not new as it has been going on for years. Robert Higgins of New York State’s Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services says that most seniors have been abusing drugs for twenty years or more.

Boomers and Addictions

Alcohol is the most popular drug of choice by older adults with prescription drug abuse coming in a close second. Marijuana, cocaine and heroin also make the list of drugs that seniors abuse. New York State’s Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services reports that drug abuse among older adults has increased by 106% for men and 119% for women between 1995 and 2002.

Drug abuse among seniors was unforeseen and is now almost at epidemic proportions because of the boomers. Back in the 60’s and 70’s many drug users maintained some of their drug habits and now society has aging drug users. This demonstrates that drug addiction and abuse knows no age limits. According to the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, the increase in those over the age of 50 being admitted to treatment programs for just heroin abuse rose from 7,000 to 27,000 between 1992 and 2002.

According to CBS News and Brunilda Nazario, MD of WebMD, boomers with cocaine addiction increased from 3,000 to 13,000. Also, the percentage of older adults in treatment for opiate abuse increased from 6.8% to 12% from 1995 to 2002.

Alcohol Addiction among Older Adults

Alcohol abuse is the major substance abuse among older adults. According to a study published at the National Library of Medicine, in the U.S., it is estimated that 2.5 million older adults have alcohol problems and 21% of hospitalized adults over the age of 40 are alcoholics. According to the report, hospital costs are as high as $60 billion every year.

In 1990 those over the age of 65 comprised 13% of the American population and it’s estimated that by 2030 older adults will comprise almost a quarter of the population. This means that this has serious implications for both alcohol-related problems and the costs involved to respond. Today, alcohol-related hospitalizations for older adults are similar to those for heart attacks.

Older Adults and Treatment

SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie, states in a newsletter, “We are only beginning to realize the pervasiveness of substance abuse among older adults.” SAMHSA is making older adults a priority in hopes to be ready for what is expected to be a continuing growing problem.

Wanting help is the first step to getting help. To find out about resources close to home contact the local Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.


Drug Abuse Recovery: Combat Addictions: Surf the Brain Waves with EEG Biofeedback

drug abuse

Substance abuse grips so tight that self-cessation is unattainable. In many cases, psychological dependency on drug use or alcohol can only be broken with intervention.

Neurotransmitters in our brains allow brainwaves to communicate with our body. These brainwaves communicate to how we sleep, think, eat and move. When our brains are in inappropriate states then our emotions and sometimes actions become altered. These results can be depression, sleep disorders, anxiety, phobias and much more. From these many people will self-medicate as a form of stress relief. Continuous use more often than not leads to addiction.

Drug addiction and alcohol abuse are often hand-in-hand with psychological disorders. According to the Journal of American Medical Association, (Archives of General Psychiatry; 63:426-432) substance abuse is prevalent in 65% of those who have a severe or persistent mental illness. In another study, the Journal of American Medical Association reports that 53% with drug dependencies and 37% with alcohol dependencies are afflicted with at least one serious emotional disorder. These disorders range from depression, bipolar, anxiety, panic disorder, obsessive compulsive, phobias and eating disorders. These individuals have dual diagnosis and “just quitting” will not cure the underlying problem.

New Research in Addictions Recovery

Electroencephalogram (EEG) biofeedback is now being used to train the brain to function at its full potential in order to combat addictions. EEGs are the most non-invasive way to read what activity is happening inside the brain. Neurofeedback is ground breaking technology that is helping many addicts recover and live healthy lives. David A Kaiser, Ph.D., designed a study to follow addiction recovery patients using this technology. Principal researcher of this study, William C. Scott, found that drug rehabs across the United States generally achieved a success rate of 20% – 30% in relapse prevention one to two years after regular treatment. In the study that follows individuals receiving EEG biofeedback treatment, in excess of 50% of the subjects remained drug free one year later.

How Does This Work?

EEG biofeedback training involves one or more sensors placed on the scalp and one to each ear. Brain waves are monitored by an amplifier, and a computer-based instrument processes the signals and provides feedback.

The human brain is adaptable and capable of improving its own performance if given cues what to change. Electrical brain waves are altered when damaged by repeated drug and alcohol abuse. Information can be made available to the brain to train it to make adjustments. Ultimately this decreases or eliminates the reliance on drugs or alcohol and teaches positive ways to respond to stress factors. This method, when used in conjunction with cognitive therapy to combat the underlying problem has a high success rate.

Is this for Anyone with an Addiction?

This technology is for any individual afflicted with an addiction who has the desire to change. If a person is not open to this method or simply is not willing to change, this will not work.

Is EEG Biofeedback Covered by Health Insurance?

Some health insurance plans will cover EEG biofeedback for some conditions. Some plans may cover a portion of the cost. Depending on your plan coverage, a diagnosis along with a physician referral may be required. Check with your insurance company before commencing any treatment to ensure what you are entitled to.

Getting Help

According to a National Survey on Drug Use conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, substance abuse currently affects 45.4% of the American population. If you are a person seeking help or know of someone who needs help contact the Association for Applied Psychophysiology & Biofeedback. The AAPB is a reliable source to learn more information on this technology and to locate a therapist near you.


Life After Rehab – Living in a Halfway House: What to Expect when Entering a Long Term Living Facility

life after rehab

According to, entering a long term rehab facility after initial treatment can improve the chances of long-lasting recovery. Not only does it ease the transition back into normal society, it also allows the recovering person a chance to address unresolved issues and change behaviors while in a safe environment with other recovering people and counselors.

What to Expect

Often, a recovery house or halfway house has rules. While they may change slightly from center to center, the following rules are fairly common to any facility.

  1. Attend 90 meetings in 90 days of AA or NA. This allows a recovering person to get a support group and become comfortable going to meetings. Often, a halfway house will provide a ride to meetings, or at the very least, will have meeting directories of what is available in the area.
  2. Get a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who can guide you through the 12 Steps of a 12 Step Fellowship, as well as offer support in recovery.
  3. Get a Homegroup. A homegroup is a specific meeting of a 12 Step Fellowship that the recovering person makes a committment to attend each week. Also good for service positions in a 12 Step Fellowship.
  4. Get a Job. Often, addicts or alcoholics have not worked a job sober in a very long time. This allows them to support themselves, learn how to handle a job sober, and learn money management skills.
  5. Do their Chore. Often, a recovery house or halfway house will have a chore list that changes each week. Everyone must pitch in to make a clean, sober living environment. Chores usually include cleaning, cooking, and outdoor work.
  6. Participate in Outpatient or theraputic counseling. Often, residents are required to attend counseling sessions with an outside counselor.
  7. Participate in house meetings. Everyone is expected to contribute to their living environment.
  8. Obey curfew/outside stipulations. Residents are expected to be in the house at a certain time, or sometimes, residents may not leave the living situation without another resident with them.
  9. Avoid relationships with the opposite sex. Often, an addict needs time alone to focus on their recovery, rather than starting a new relationship or fixing a battered one.

While it may sound difficult, choosing to come to a halfway house or recovery house after time in a treatment facility may mean the difference between an addict remaining sober or returning to the drug or drink of their choice. Often, that choice is the difference between life and death.


Alcohol Use and Boating: Drinking and boat use are a dangerous combination

Best Addiction Treatment Center in Miami

Hundreds of people die worldwide each year in boating related accidents, with many of the deaths related to alcohol use. Eighty percent (80%) of these fatalities are caused by drowning, a major cause of death in the United States. Half of all boating fatalities are alcohol related. Fatality trends are even higher in cold water states like Alaska.

Exposure to the vibration, noise, glare, and motion of boating are factors can that produce fatigue in boaters. These factors are very similar to the impairment of boaters caused by the use of alcohol. Combining the use of alcohol and the normal fatigue caused by boating is synergistic. The sum of the impacts are much greater than the expected sum of the individual stress factors.

Dr. Vik Tarugu of Detox of South Florida, operates his Miami Addiction Treatment Center with the knowledge that there are no income requirements for addiction. Just because you have a big yacht does not make you any less susceptible to developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Boaters need to “pay special attention on the water, just like they would while driving down a busy freeway. Just because alcohol is not prohibited on boats does not give you free reign to consume foolishly” said Dr. Tarugu.

Alcohol Use Issues to Consider While on the Water

  • Boat motion and use stresses vessel operators. Alcohol use adds further additional stress on the boat operator
  • Eat before drinking and limit use to less than one drink per hour if you must drink
  • Provide for a non-drinker to available to operate the vessel, especially if there is any chance the primary operator has had too much to drink
  • Operating a vessel under the influence is a federal offense and is illegal in many states as well
  • Boat operators need to accept responsibility for their actions and exercise common sense to their use of alcohol

Federal penalties for boating under the influence (BUI) are severe. Operators with a blood alcohol level of 0.08% or higher are subject to a civil penalty up to exceed $1,000, a civil penalty up to $5,000, and up to one year in prison. In most states, BUI is treated the same as driving under the influence and carries the same penalties.

Exercise care while boating. Ensure there is a designated operator available to run your boat. Remember that alcohol use and boating are a dangerous mix.