SHRINKS THINK

TOPIC: DELIRIUM: DRUGS AND ALCOHOL INDUCED

A second post on delirium.  For those who didn’t read the first here is the link to it. Don’t want to take the time to read that, here is the simplest definition: States of mental confusion.

The nearest most of us get to a true delusional state is in our dreams.  Happy dreams often duplicate the thrill and good feelings that can go with delirium, while our  nightmares capture the down side.

Two more definitions until I get to my main message:

1. A temporary state of mental confusion and fluctuating consciousness resulting from high fever, intoxication, shock, or other causes. It is characterized by anxiety, disorientation, hallucinations, delusions, and incoherent speech.
2. A state of uncontrolled excitement or emotion: sports fans in delirium after their team’s victory.
The above were from the On Line Dictionary

TOPIC TWIST FOR THE DAY

Infection aside, the most common cause of delirium are the pink elephants and delirium tremens of alcoholism and drug withdrawal. When from alcoholism these usually occur only in those who drink often and too much. So this post focuses addictions and addiction prevention.

Letting go of reason is the first hint that delirium is visiting.  Another hint lies in the euphoria that alcohol or drugs bring when entering your body.  Some say that you know a person has a propensity to become an addict if the first experience with the addicting substance is intense. One addict told me it was better than when she first fell in love.  Love can be addicting, but that is a topic for another blog.

Who doesn’t want to feel on top of the world, in love, euphoric? Why else would the pursuit of happiness be part of our Declaration of Independence? Or why would the drug trade, including the drug of alcohol, be so lucrative?  Or why are the psycho-babblers promising happiness? And finally, why to the advertizers promise it with almost every item sold.

The lure of happiness is strong.  However, as most recovering addicts or alcoholics will tell you, that first euphoria fades rapidly. When it does, use becomes trying to be less miserable or to feel normal.

Besides the role of genes in alcoholism there is also the role of regular use which is why limiting your drinking to four days a week is so important.

Personal confession: I come from a long line of drunks.  Some have died drinking, some died  drinking, some went to rehab and got sober, some aged out of their addiction. Many do.

I love vodka, but it was an acquired taste–so I don’t have the gene that promotes quick addiction.  Moreover, I have an automatic stop sign for when I’ve had enough.  My upper lip gets a bit numb. Finally, I hate the part of the euphoria that makes you a bit dizzy and feeling out of control.

However, at one point in my life I found my before dinner Katherine’s martini–vodka on the rocks becoming two martini’s.  It was about that time that I also became aware of the increasing tolerance cause of addiction and stopped drinking every day.

Do not think I am like my maternal grandmother who was a teetotaler. Whenever she visited our house, she would pour my father’s bottle of port wine down the nearest drain.  Dad rarely drank, but did enjoy an occasional glass of wine.  Not when my grandmother was visiting.

Aging means tolerance diminishes, so now passing a bottle of vodka under my nose is almost the same as taking a shot. Still I like a glass of wine or now a half a glass at dinner time. I watch for tolerance and take time off if I see I want more than half a glass.

 STAYING STRONG TIPS

Obviously, I wish all would follow the safe drinking rules and if they use drugs, apply a variation of those rules to their drug use.  I think step number one is realizing we are a nation of addicts and near addicts, particularly when it comes to the legal drug alcohol.  So today’s tips are how  we can grow stronger and less addicted at least to alcohol as a nation.

  1. Drink and drug safely ourselves.
  2. Send alcohol advertising  the way of cigarette advertising.
  3. Understand that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing.
  4. Learn the lessons of Prohibition.  Didn’t work.  Legalization tamed the beast for many and  the taxes added to the government’s resources. The War on Drugs is a lost war and only the criminals are profiting. What is needed now is limiting the media promotion of alcohol and other drugs.
  5. Provide free access to treatment for all addicts and alcoholics.
  6. Promote pain control instead of happiness. Life is painful much of the time for many if not all of us. Many addicts started out trying to medicate their pain. Emotional fitness is about living through or with the pain so you can enjoy the good things life has to offer.
  7. Stop promoting false hopes.  Not every talented person becomes a media star.  If you want to feel the pain of false expectations watch the auditions for the reality talent shows.
  8. Promote kindness.  Kindness can be learned by all; moreover, it is the surest path to the good life.
  9. Fight stigma.  We all do the best we can given the cards we are dealt.  Some start with winning hands and lose all; some start with losing hands and win all.  But in the long run everyone does the best they can, even when that best lands them in jail or the gutter or a hospital bed.

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AS ALWAYS PRACTICE KINDNESS

Be kind to  me,  like this post or share it.  You will be helping me stay strong and maybe some others as well.  You will also be practicing one of the 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Exercises.  Click here for my free E-book: The 12 Daily Emotional Fitness Training.

A FINAL WORD

The 12 Daily Exercises are for everyone, but if you are seeing a therapist share them.  If  regular practice of the 12 Daily does not improve  the quality of your life, more might be needed.  That is the time to think about therapy.

Katherine

Agree or disagree, comments are always welcomed.