Fargo: Strength in the Soil

Since 1871 Fargo has been a cultural, industrial, and educational centerpiece for North Dakota. Located on the Red River of the Northern floodplain, this modest city of 116,000 has had an interesting history. Originally named “Centralia” this was once the hub of steamboat traffic through the Red River back in the 1870s and 1880s. The city was later renamed to Fargo after the Wells Fargo express founder and Northern Pacific Railway director William Fargo. During the 1880s the city became the divorce capital of the country due to very lenient laws on the subject.

For a while expanse in Fargo remained steady, though it suffered several natural catastrophes during its expanse. In 1893 a colossal fire struck and destroyed almost thirty-one blocks in Fargo’s downtown district, though the area was quickly rebuilt with buildings made of red brick. More than 246 buildings were built within the course of a single year, proving the strength and dedication of its loyal community. In 1957 a raucous tornado decimated the northern end of the city. This tornado, coincidentally, helped Ted Fujita, creator of the Fujita Tornado Scale, analyze tornados and create the first means of accurate description for these whirlwinds of destruction.

But there is another catastrophic occurrence within Fargo that strikes as mercilessly here as it does everywhere else: alcohol abuse. Some speculate that alcohol is the #1 abused substance in America, but because the consumption of alcohol is a societal norm it can sometimes be difficult to get an alcoholic to admit that they have a problem and need help.

Far Gone in Fargo

As a society, we tend to treat drinking as a normal response to stress, whether it be from a long day at work, a fight with a significant other, or family drama. Even some of our television characters are shown drinking on the show, sometimes socially or pouring a heavy drink after getting home from work. This can make it difficult to admit to ourselves that our own drinking habits have gone past the “relaxing habit” stage and into the abuse stage. While by itself alcohol can be an enjoyable thing, and in moderation it can sometimes even be healthy, the abuse of alcohol has a wide variety of horrendous health hazards. These problems can occur through long-term abuse and even through binge drinking.

Binge drinking is when someone consumes more than four drinks within the period of 1-2 hours. This form of drinking is most prevalent in ages 18-28 and is generally associated with party drinking. While it may be all fun and games at the time, binge drinking can cause fatal side-effects almost immediately, depending on the severity of the abuse. One of the most common conditions with binge drinking is alcohol poisoning which, if not aided quickly, can be fatal or cause long term damage. This is particularly dangerous if it is regularly repeated on account of the fact that it will increase the chances of delirium tremens and/or alcohol poisoning and it will build up tolerance.

Tolerance towards alcohol is something we as a society tease one another about. People with a “heavy weight” tolerance are seen as impressive, while “light weight” drinkers can be seen as weak. The truth of the matter is that those who have a heavy tolerance have likely gained that status through continuous, long-term drinking, putting them at risk for withdrawal side effects.

While it is very rare, it is possible to develop withdrawal side-effects by only consuming a small amount of alcohol when your body is used to larger consumption.

What Should I Do? How Do I Help?

You may be reading this because you have a friend or a loved one who is suffering from a dependence to alcohol and is abusing it regularly. You may the spouse of an alcoholic, the mother of a binge-drinker, or just a concerned friend. What you need to do is consult the experts and find out how you can accurately and appropriately approach the alcoholic in a way that won’t send them farther down the rabbit hole. This is when you need to talk to an interventionist and ask them about the different methods and approaches to interventions are available, and what might suit your circumstance the best.

Hollywood has shown us interventions through television and movies: family and friends are getting together, each to tell the alcoholic how their drinking has affected their own family in negative ways. While that is an accurate depiction of an intervention, it’s important to note that that is not the only way to conduct the event. In fact, there are many different methods that an intervention can be done, each suiting different situations and levels of alcohol abuse.

This is why interventionists are so important and why you should contact one: you need to know what the best way to approach your loved one is, and you need the information that they can provide. These specialists are highly knowledgeable in the field, but many of them are recovering victims of substance abuse themselves. Very often these interventionists can and will attend the intervention they helped plan in order to assure that the event goes by smoothly. Family can get defensive with one another and sparks can fly, so having an outside party running the event can help in a big way.

Detox: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

We won’t mince words here. Detox is hard and it can be very dangerous depending on how severe your dependency on alcohol is. We implore you not to try and detox alone, there are many top-notch detox facilities around the country that accept insurance as payment. These facilities are armed with the best staff and knowledgeable, and personalized treatments. Detox is the unpleasant phase of your body removing all the harmful toxins taken in through the substance abuse. During this time, your body is still dependent on the substance, though it is no longer receiving it. As such, withdrawal sets in, as do cravings and urges to relapse.

Withdrawal symptoms are dependent on the alcohol-abuse and how heavy a drinker the person is. These symptoms can range from alcohol poisoning to delirium tremens, one of the worst side-effects of withdrawal. Delirium Tremens (or DT) tends to occur when withdrawing from severe alcoholism. DTs can present a long list of health problems, both physical and psychological, any number of which can be fatal. These symptoms include agitation and confusion, auditory, visual and tactile hallucinations, high blood pressure, panic attacks, and paranoia.

Going About Treatment

Once your body is free of all the harmful chemicals and toxins the treatment can really begin. Occasionally, people assume that detox is treatment in and of itself and this is untrue. Detox is only the

first phase in recovery, and once your body is clean you need to go through actual treatment. Luckily there are several different ways of doing this.

The most common and popular method is the 12-step program offered by Alcoholics Anonymous, or other mutual-support groups. This program employs the method of creating a safe, healthy environment for recovering alcoholics and those looking to continue their sobriety. The only condition required to joining AA is to have the desire to quit drinking.

Other methods include the use of medications like Vivitrol or Naltrexone, which have shown marginal success with reducing withdrawal symptoms and even cravings. These medications need to be prescribed by a primary health care physician however, so be sure to speak to your doctor about this method of recovery and see if it is right for you.

There is also Behavioral Treatment where an expert in the field will sit down for one-on-one sessions with the alcoholic to determine the psychological triggers. These triggers can be anything from stressful situations to seeing and or hearing from a friend you are used to drinking with.

These methods can be combined so carefully consider your options as you go about your treatment. If you or a loved one are suffering from alcohol abuse the time to act is now! Call (520) 288-8484 today.

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