Monthly Archives

January 2018

What No One Tells You About Binge Drinking

Binge drinking and alcohol abuse is something we think about when a national holiday like Australia Day can often be used as an excuse to drink to excess.

In Australia, it is still common to get drunk on occasions like the Australia Day long weekend. Alcohol abuse has serious effects on physical and mental health. Binge drinking also has negative effects on physical and mental health.

Drinking to excess is something that is something too easy to do. Health experts recommend adults have no more than two standard alcoholic drinks per day reduce lifetime risk of alcohol-related disease. Research also shows that one-in-five Australian adults regularly consume more than two standard drinks per day on average.

When younger people binge drink the effects can be more serious. Young people with mental health problems who get drunk on a regular basis risk changes to the parts of the brain that control long-term memory and decision making. The alcohol can also increase the severity and cause mood disorders and slow brain development. For youth who already suffer from a mental illness, their symptoms can be exacerbated by misusing alcohol.

Alcohol related problems are part of addiction cycle. Successful treatment and recovery comes from developing strategies to deal with situations that trigger addiction related behaviours. At Retreat South we take the every aspect of the person into consideration. Our aim is to give you the advice, support and practical assistance to build foster a healthier approach to life and relationships that help you make lasting change.

If you are thinking of breaking that cycle of addiction call us today to discuss how we can help you to a life with alcohol misuse.

Take The Plunge and Seek Treatment

Stigma stops us from seeking treatment for mental health problems. Fear of letting others know you have mental health problems like depression or anxiety is very real. The stigma surrounding mental health problems is gradually giving way and people in need can seek help before the consequences are too great.

The consequences of anxiety and depression have again had international attention when swimming great Michael Phelps revealed how severe anxiety and depression nearly drove him to suicide after the 2012 London Games.

Phelps revealed his own struggle with depression and to end the stigma surrounding metal health problems like depression..

Speaking at mental health conference in America he said would remain in his room for four days without food or sleep. For him, each Olympic Games lead to a major state of depression causing him to not want to be in the sport anymore or even to not want to be alive. Phelps’s first experience of Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 as a 15-year-old was also his first experience of depression.

Phelps also revealed his mental health issues led to him abuse drugs and alcohol when he was older. He also explained that stigma surrounding mental health problems like depression caused people to hide that they may be experiencing it.

“We’re supposed to be this big, macho, physically strong human beings, but this is not a weakness,” Phelps said. “We are seeking and reaching for help.”

“I think people actually finally understand it is real. People are talking about it and I think this is the only way that it can change.”

Timely advise from someone that we all know and should listen to. Understanding that mental health problems like depression are treatable and something many people experience is a step toward breaking down that stigma.

Yoga and moving into well-being in the new year

Exercise and physical activities and yoga are great things to do when the warmer months are here.

Summer is here in Australia and the Christmas period has past and we are off to a new year. Christmas time can be a difficult, stressful time for some. It is a time when some of us have to put on a festive, happy face. For some with mental health issues that can add to the problems they are already facing. We can feel under pressure to put our problems on hold. And to add more problems to those problems the professionals and organisations that lend help and support are sometimes closed for the season. People take holidays at this time of the year. people with mental health issues might not feel like taking a break or even be able to take a break.

But with Summer at least there is the possibility to do some things that can help with those issues. The longer and warmer days mean that there are more opportunities to take some exercise. In addition to exercise it might be good to explore some other physical activity. Yoga is a good one. It can be a good addition to exercise.. Exercise has shown to be helpful to mental health. Yoga is too. It reduces stress and can help focus our mind and deal with things like our mood or anxiety.

Like exercise, yoga can even help our bodies produce the brain chemicals that help with depression. It helps with blood circulation and breathing, both of which elegise our bodies. Exercise and yoga are essential parts of the treatments we combine with psychological treatments at Retreat South.

Now that Summer and the new year, maybe trying some exercise and yoga can be your promise to yourself for the new year.

Overcoming the need for alcohol to cope with anxiety

People with anxiety have used alcohol to lessen that anxiety. Having an alcoholic drink has been a great way to loose a few inhibitions, feel more sociable and just have more fun.

Alcohol effects brain chemicals like dopamine and serotonin in the brain, which lessen the  effect of anxiety.  But dealing with anxiety that way means that our brain expects the alcohol and the feel-good effect it brings and so dependency is then the issue

Dopamine and serotonin work in the part of our brain where neurotransmitters control feelings of pleasure and gratification by mimicing those neurotransmitters. The more that part of the brain is stimulated with, in this case alcohol, the more the brain craves it. It can then end up producing the anxiety that we might have been using alcohol to reduce in the first place.

If we and our brains become dependant on the alcohol, the serotonin or dopamine production decreases, then if the alcohol is not supplied regularly, the craving begins and one of the symptoms is anxiety.

So, a drink or two can be a good thing to reduce anxiety sometimes but not so great in the long-term.  That kind of addiction to alcohol can develop in young people who find it helpful in coping with anxiety and nervousness.

Researchers at Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre have released a therapeutic tool to help young people overcome that need for alcohol. called Inroads, it is a free internet-based program specifically for people between 17 and 24 which works via computer, phone or tablet device. You can find out more about the Inroads programme here.

Anxiety problems can be a major cause alcohol dependence so someone with anxiety can run the risk of developing an addiction over time. So seeking treatment to break that cycle of of dependance is important. At Retreat South, we can help you find a path away from that cycle. Call us today to talk about how you can create your own path. A path to recovery.