The Great State of Illinois
Illinois first became a state on December 3rd, 1818 and was the 21st state to enter the union. Currently, Illinois is the fifth most populated state in the country with over twelve-million residents. The word “Illinois” was taken from the Native American word for “tribe of superior men”, putting a lot of pressure on the state to do great things. Illinois in no way shies away from this responsibility, as it has a strong track-record of being on the forefront of amazing accomplishments. One of the most important cities in Illinois is Chicago, and is home to the world’s first skyscraper (1885) and the country’s first aquarium (1893). The state first adopted the slogan “Land of Lincoln” back in 1955 by the General Assembly, and even has a copyright for the exclusive use of that slogan.
As the 20th century reared its head, Illinois had a population of nearly 5 million people, many of whom were attracted by employment due to the rapidly expanding industrial base. As the years progressed, Illinois continued to grow rapidly as more and more Europeans and Americans migrated to the state for promises of work, all the way through the nuclear age. In 1942, the University of Chicago conducted the first nuclear chain reaction as a part of the Manhattan Project. Illinois currently leads all states in electrical power generated through the use of its eleven nuclear power plants.
Alcohol Abuse: Putting the ‘ill’ in Illinois
One of the biggest problems we face when it comes to alcohol abuse is the fact that society treats drinking as a perfectly normal response to stress. Some of our favorite TV characters are seen drinking during their show, whether socially in bars or pouring a drink after a long day at work. It is difficult to admit to ourselves that our drinking has gone past that of a relaxing treat to the point of abusing it. Alcohol in and of itself is not a horrible thing, and doctors sometimes even advise a glass of red wine here and there. Problems arise when alcohol is used in excess, whether long-term or through binge drinking.
Binge drinking is when a person has multiple drinks, usually four or more, within the course of two hours. This can lead to blackouts, alcohol poisoning, severe liver damage, and memory loss. This method of alcohol abuse is mostly prevalent in youth, ages 18-28, though it is not limited to these ages in any way, shape, or form. This is especially dangerous if repeated often because it can cause one to develop a tolerance rather quickly. The higher tolerance one has toward a substance, the stronger and more dangerous the symptoms of withdrawal are.
How Can You Help?
The best thing you can do for your loved one if they are suffering from alcohol dependency is to give them as much support, love, and care as possible. They need to know that what they are doing is detrimental to their own health and to the relationships around them, but they require compassion. Interventions are events that can be coordinated, bringing family and friends together in support of someone afflicted by substance abuse. The goal of an intervention is to get the person to see that what they are doing is not healthy in a physical, emotional or psychological way. We’ve all seen interventions done on television and sometimes even in movies, but the format commonly used by Hollywood is only one template. In truth there are many different ways to go about and host an intervention, each tailored to different scenarios and circumstances. While that may feel a little overwhelming, there are specialists called Interventionists who can help you by giving you the information you need.
Interventionists are not only knowledgeable in the field of interventions, many of them are recovering substance abusers themselves. What better way to find your way out of the dark tunnel than by the guidance of someone who has already found their way? These specialists can, and it is often recommended, attend the intervention to make sure things go smoothly. Families tend to get heated with one another: tempers can rise, the abuser might become defensive and shut down, closing any and all emotional doors. Then nobody gets help. These men and women can help to guide the event and make sure nobody gets too heated, and that the intervention stays on track to ensure the alcoholic gets the help they need and deserve.
Illinois is home to thousands of counties, thus finding an interventionist to speak to will be as easy as 1-2-3. So pick up the phone and find a specialist to speak to and be proactive in helping your friends and family.
Detox: What Should I Expect?
When your body is used to a certain intake of a substance, like alcohol, it becomes necessary to detoxify the system before treatment can begin. It’s important to note that detox is only the first step in treatment, and that it does not constitute treatment on its own. Detox is when your body is no longer taking in the substance your body has developed a dependence on and is now starting to flux out all the harmful toxins currently inhabiting it. During this time, one can develop some pretty serious withdrawal symptoms depending on the severity of the dependence. The higher your tolerance to alcohol was during the stage of abuse, your withdrawal symptoms will be greater. This increases the danger and necessity of seeking a medically managed detox program. These symptoms can range anywhere from alcohol poisoning and liver damage to delirium tremens: a highly dangerous and occasionally fatal side-effect that can cause seizures.
As scary as all of this sounds, there are facilities that are able to monitor you during the detox phase and appropriately care for any and all symptoms that arise. This is especially helpful if the person has a long history of binge drinking and is in danger of experiencing medically detrimental withdrawals. There are different methods of treating these symptoms, some even including prescription medication that can mediate the withdrawals and cause them to secede or be less severe. The detox process can take up to 14 days, again depending on how severe the alcohol dependency was, in order to completely clear the system.
Treatment: Handling You with Care
Now that your body is completely free of the alcohol, the real treatment begins. Those looking to stay sober can approach treatment in a variety of ways, and it is important to keep these methods in mind. Each treatment method can be effective in its own right, it mostly boils down to the person themselves and how they approach the care as well as how deep into dependency they were. For some, long-term medicated maintenance might be the best approach to recovery. Medications such as Vivitrol and Naltrexone have both shown massive success in reducing the cravings for alcohol along with reducing the side-effects of withdrawal.
On the other hand, you may feel you need to attack the problem head on and discover the underlying reason for drinking. You may want to find out for yourself what might have triggered the abuse. For this, there is Behavioral Treatment, conducted by medical professionals and targeting the psychological triggers for excessive drinking.
We all know, or have at least heard, of 12-Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. These mutual-support groups offer peer support from other recovering alcoholics who, have found a way out of the suffering of alcoholism. Programs like AA have been around for over 80 years. Their experience and wisdom speaks for itself in its lifespan.
Get Away from Triggers
Home is where the heart is: that’s what we hear everyone say, but if you suffer from substance abuse of any kind, then home is probably also where the triggers are. Triggers are things that set off your desire to abuse the substance you are reliant on. Whether that trigger is a dramatic family member, or a high-stress job, continuing to stay around these things may cost you. They may send you into a relapse, and nobody wants that. Many professionals, and even past substance-abusers, will recommend traveling for treatment in order to get you away from these triggers as a safety precaution. They’re not wrong: a new environment could do you a lot of good. You might feel safer when away from home and that is the goal in mind.
Here at A Better Today we highly recommend traveling for recovery for these very reasons. Our inpatient facilities offer the best in treatment programs and the most knowledgeable staff in the field. Our goal is to create a safe, pleasant, healthy environment for you to recover in and set you on the path to permanent recovery.