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The Life Works Community Blog

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Posted by on in Alcohol Addiction

British drinkingOver the past 10 years, British people have consumed seven billion fewer units of alcohol. New figures from the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) show a 2.1% decrease in consumption from 2012 to 2013 along with the decade of falling consumption.

Broken down into individual terms, British people drank one fifth less alcohol in 2013 compared to 2004. That works out to about 7.7 litres which is the lowest level of consumption this century.

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Posted by on in Eating Disorders

male eating disordersA new report in BMJ Open found that men are not getting the help they need to deal with eating disorders. The study found that around a quarter of those suffering with an ED were men but very few of these men actually received treatment or even understood they had a problem.

The research, which came from Oxford and Glasgow Universities, shows that most men see eating disorders as a female problem. This means men overlook their own negative eating habits. This problem is compounded by the fact that men have just as much pressure from society to conform to an ideal standard of beauty.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

fight opiate addictionA new trial program being run by the NHS offers opiate drug users cash incentives to stay clean. The new plan is being tested in 33 NHS facilities and voluntary clinics but if it is a success, the scheme could be rolled out across the country.

While some people may recoil at the idea of paying people to not break the law, the scientists behind the research say that these small payouts could save taxpayers and the NHS money.

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Tagged in: Drug Addiction

alcohol and exerciseA new study has found that aerobic exercise could help people recovering from alcohol addiction.

The study was led by Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behaviour, Richard Brown and found that, in the early stages of recovery, alcoholics who began regular aerobic exercise routines lowered their alcohol consumption.

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Posted by on in Alcohol Addiction

alcohol free bardA growing number of alcohol free bars are popping up in the UK sporting the slogan, “all the nightlife, hold the hangover.”

These new dry bars are often funded by charities trying to fight alcohol abuse. They offer patrons the ability to have all the fun and socialisation of a night out without having to drink or put up with other drunken patrons.

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Tagged in: Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism and the brainScience has known for some time that people who have fewer negative side effects from drinking tend to drink more and are at a greater risk of developing alcoholism. The problem is, no one was really sure why some people were less affected by alcohol.  That is, until now.

Scientists have now discovered the region of the brain that controls sensitivity to negative effects. This is the area that helps people learn from mistakes. The brain region, called the lateral habenula only activates during bad experiences.

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Tagged in: Alcohol Addiction

alcohol addiction app.jpgThe new app called Addiction-Comprehensive Health Enhancement Support System or A-CHESS was developed by app creator David Gustafson to help people recovering from alcohol addiction stay clean.

A recent study shows that the app increases users chances of staying clean and shortens the number of days people drank if they relapsed. The app works by providing guided relaxation techniques and giving users alerts when they come close to a bar or other triggering location.

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Tagged in: Alcohol Addiction

Posted by on in Recovery

b2ap3_thumbnail_phone-therapy.jpgThomas McLellan is an expert in the field of addiction. He has conducted numerous studies and research on the subject and even helped the Obama administration working for the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Despite all of his expertise, McLellan was unable to save his son from the deadly effects of addiction.

After losing a son to alcohol and pills, McLellan said he realised that despite being an expert in addiction and surrounded by other addiction experts, he had no idea what to do when the disease started to take control of his children. While his knowledge of the science behind addiction was impeccable, he was unable to find any treatment centre near him in the US that offered more than someone preaching morals and unsupportive aftercare.

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Tagged in: Rehabilitation

It is a common sight to see people enjoying an alcoholic drink in the summer. As the days grow longer and the temperature rises, more people will flock to beer gardens and other local watering holes. With this in mind, it is important to understand how much alcohol is too much. This handy infographic will help people who decide to drink avoid risky decisions and make responsible choices. You can learn more about alcohol and its effects at our knowledge centre

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b2ap3_thumbnail_ED.jpgA new study has found that students who spend lots of time on Facebook are more prone to developing eating disorders.

The study found that female students in particular were more likely to develop an eating disorder they spent large amounts of time on Facebook. Researchers found that these women are more likely to be body conscious and anxious than other groups. The women also put more stock in the number of attention each of their posts gets. This could mean placing more value on likes, shares and comments.

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Posted by on in Alcohol Addiction

b2ap3_thumbnail_alcohol-brain.jpgA new report by Alcohol Concern Cymru is trying to educate people about alcohol related brain damage or ARBD. ARBD is caused when someone has a history of heavy drinking. The alcohol eventually damages the brain to such an extent that it affects cognitive function.

The symptoms of alcohol related brain damage include confusion, memory loss, and having problems reasoning. If these symptoms are not recognised, the condition can progress to more permanent alcohol related dementia.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_mothers-day.jpgA British study has found that even small amounts of alcohol during pregnancy can have a negative effect on the foetus. The study followed nearly 1,300 women and found that women who consumed alcohol, even those that consumed less than their daily allowance, were more likely to give birth prematurely or have a child with a low birth weight.

This study is the first to follow British women both before and during pregnancy. The conclusion was that even a small amount of alcohol can have a huge effect on babies long term health.

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Posted by on in Alcohol Addiction

b2ap3_thumbnail_binge-drink.jpgBy now most people have heard of neknominations. This online phenomenon started in Australia and encouraged friends to consume large amounts of alcohol while challenging others to do the same.


We at Life Works decided to do a little research to see just how much people were drinking when they did a neknomination. Our results were pretty shocking. Out of the 10 neknomination videos we picked at random, the average number of alcohol units consumed was 19.305.


To give some context, the maximum recommended daily units for men is 3 to 4 and 2 to 3 for women. That means on average, people who took part in the neknominations we studied drank about 5 to 10 times their daily allowance. In fact, the average neknomination consumption was just under the maximum weekly allowance of 21 units for men.


Probably the most frightening thing about these neknominations is the fact that none of the videos we saw were over 5 minutes. This means the people in these videos are consuming alcohol at an astounding rate. The video that had the most units imbibed by a single person showed a young man drinking 47.1 units in just under 5 minutes.


Reports are already spreading about the dangers of neknominations and a number of deaths have occurred as a direct result of neknomination drinking. What makes these neknominations more frightening is the number of people who are now mixing in drugs or other dangerous activities into their neknomination. In the ten neknominations we studied, people consumed alcohol along with cocaine, acid, a variety of unidentified pills and cannabis. Alone, these drugs can pose health risks but together they can form a far more dangerous cocktail.


As the neknomination craze continues, it is important to remember that this type of drinking is not something to take lightly. It is nothing more than binge drinking. That means it can negatively affect the liver, brain and a number of other organs.

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Posted by on in Uncategorized

b2ap3_thumbnail_social-media.jpgA new social network called Soberista is helping many women control their drinking habit. This new social network is not a replacement for AA or a rehabilitation facility, It targets women who may not meet the definition of alcoholic or have an alcohol addiction. These women are drinking more than they should be have not yet begun to feel the full negative effects of alcohol.


The new site fills a niche by catering to people who believe that the current range of treatments available for alcohol abuse is not for them. These people are often strongly averse to going to an AA meeting or treatment centre because they believe it will cost too much or they will not belong. While these are old and out of date stereotype, the site is doing some good.


The site does not offer actual medical help but it does offer hope and comfort. Women and a growing number of men are logging on to exchange stories, find support and simply feel like they are not alone. This is a great first step for someone struggling with alcohol because it removes the secrecy and shame and provides a supportive community.


Chris Cordell, The Hospital Director of the addiction centre Life Works Community, said, “any support can be good support as long as it is accurate responsible and in line with national medical guidelines. This site is a good place for people to voice concerns in a supportive environment”


Cordell did have some reservations about the site though. He said it is important to take any advice or information from Soberistas with a grain of salt. The people in the community are not doctors and as such are not qualified to give actual medical advice. Cordell also pointed out that people with a drinking problem cannot always “just quit”. There is a detox involved and for some, simply swearing off alcohol can be dangerous or even fatal.


That being said, Soberistas is a welcome addition to the recovery community. With the increasing amount of Britons with liver disease, higher alcohol consumption by women and high rates of binge drinking, any new place supporting sober living is a boon for everyone struggling to stay sober.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

b2ap3_thumbnail_pills.jpgA new legal high called AH-791 has hit the UK and already claimed one life. The drug is a synthetic opiate producing similar result to heroin and is linked to deaths in several European countries.


The drug is not actually all that new. It was created in the 1970s and was designed as a pain reliever. It was licensed and was shelved as people became aware of the addictive nature of opiates.

 


Experts believe the drug was resurrected by legal high providers using old scientific texts. They are now selling it in hundreds of online stores and physical shops.


What makes AH-791 different from most legal highs is its formula. Most legal highs have been created to mimic the effects of ecstasy, cannabis, amphetamines or cocaine. This is one of only a small number of opiate legal highs.


The government is already taking notice and AH-791 is drawing fire from the Minister of State Crime Prevention, Norman Baker. He said that he was shocked at the appearance of this new synthetic opioid and worried about the changing drug landscape.


The reason this drug and other legal highs are so worrying is because they represent a gaping hole in UK drug laws. Currently a law can only be passed outlawing a single substance. That means the government can ban a specific chemical formula. Change that formula, even slightly, and the process of banning it has to start all over again. The UK has already banned 250 legal highs but it is estimated that that a new legal high comes onto the market every week. This makes it virtually impossible to outlaw them all.


The number of deaths in 2012 was 68. This is an increase of 58 from 2009. As these legal highs become more common, the UK will continue to see the death toll climb.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_heroin_20131120-113218_1.jpgAs the acting community mourns the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman after a heroin overdose, the USA is facing an even greater opium related problem. While The USA struggles with its heroin problem, prescription drugs known as opioids are doing far more damage. Opioids are chemically very similar to drugs like heroin but they are killing 5 times more Americans than heroin.

These drugs are often prescribed for pain and can be very addictive. Many of the people who become addicted to opioids are not your traditional junkies. These are people who were prescribed opium based painkillers and developed an addiction. Other people who become addicted may have been sold opioid painkillers illicitly. Some drug dealers even use opioids to cut their heroin.

To fight this new wave of opioid addiction, government and law enforcement agencies are cracking down on pill mills and making it harder for people to doctor shop. While this seems to be preventing new users from abusing opioids, it has had unintentional consequences for those already addicted.

As new laws and regulations make opioids more expensive and harder to find, some addicts are switching to cheaper and more readily available heroin. This has some health officials worried that prescription opioids may become a gateway drug that leads users to heroin. This may have been the case for Philip Seymour Hoffman, who admitted to relapsing into his heroin habit after taking prescription painkillers.

Other drug users may try opioids because they believe them to be safer. They believe these drugs are cleaner because they come from a doctor and are made by pharmaceutical companies. While this might ensure a drugs purity, it does not make it any safer.

With the opioid problem growing and fuelling heroin addiction, The Whitehouse is asking local police departments to outfit their officers with anti-overdose medication. This can help save a person’s life if they have overdosed on heroin. While this is not a complete solution, officials hope it will save lives until a more permanent fix can be found.

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Posted by on in Eating Disorders

Infographic viewable at the bottom of post

The potential link between Eating Disorders and Social Media has received a significant amount of press coverage in the past few months with many calling for websites to impose stricter moderation on ED related content. Yet many in recovery argue that social media may not be universally damaging, potentially offering sufferers an important support network.

Social media has made the world a much smaller place. People can connect with each other from anywhere in the world and share thoughts, ideas, pictures and videos. This has created a new age of socialising and sharing.

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In recent years, there has been an increasing degree of awareness and understanding of many mental illnesses, but some compulsive disorders are still shrouded in rumours and misinformation.

Sex addiction, love addiction ad co-dependency are probably the three most misunderstood mental illnesses. People who suffer from these afflictions are often seen as weak, deviant and may even be seen as some sort of amoral monster. This could not be further from the truth. Most people living with sex addiction, love addiction or co-dependency are perfectly nice people struggling with a real mental illness.

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Posted by on in Recovery

Beating an addiction or an eating disorder is a wonderful new year’s resolution. It is a real change you can make that has innumerable positive effects. The question is, how do you go about making a change? Most people make resolutions like getting a new job or spending more time with family, but beating an addiction is far more challenging. Addictions invade every portion of your life and require more change and dedication than the average New Year’s resolution. That being said, it is possible to make and keep a resolution to beat your addiction by following six steps. These make up a guide for how to find help and help yourself overcome whatever your addiction may be.

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Tagged in: Recovery

Posted by on in Relapse

Surviving the Holidays, Part 4: Drug Addiction

This is the 3rd part of a series on surviving the holidays for those suffering from addiction, eating disorders and other mental health issues. 

Drug addiction can be very difficult around the holidays. Everyone is celebrating and going to parties, something a drug addict almost certainly associates with using. While this can be triggering, there are still ways a recovering addict can enjoy the holiday season without relapsing. Aside from the obvious, not taking drugs, there are a few steps to help the former addicts maintain their recovery. 

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