Can a Functioning Alcoholic Be Affected by One Drink?

PolicemanWe normally associate alcoholism with increased tolerance to alcohol. Alcoholics often are able to drink a great deal before the usual symptoms of intoxication kick in — slurred speech, falling asleep, getting loud, poor balance, and poor judgment which could lead to and accident or a DUI charge.

However, there are exceptions. Some functioning alcoholics do indeed show signs of intoxication with as little as a single drink. There are at least two different reasons why this might happen.

Read more

Pornography Damages the Physical and Mental Health of Girls and Young Women

 Dr. Neill Neill, Registered Psychologist

healthy normally-developing teensTelus, a major telephone company, announced recently that it was going to sell [tag-tec]pornography[/tag-tec] to its cell phone subscribers. If it had proceeded, it would be the first in North America. There was a huge backlash and they canceled their plan. Other big telephone companies quickly distanced themselves from any move to sell [tag-ice]porn[/tag-ice] to their cell phone customers.

Regardless of their rationale for backpedaling, Telus did the right thing.

A task force of the American Psychological Association (APA) released a major report called "The Sexualization of Girls" on February 19. They reported wide evidence that the proliferation in media and advertising of sexualized images of young women and girls is harmful to girls’ self-image and healthy development. It’s damaging to the physical health of our children. It’s damaging to their mental health.

Read more

Practical Tips for Stress Management 2 – Drink Water

Dr. Neill Neill, Registered Psychologist

drinkwater.jpgAfter breathing oxygen, drinking water is the second most essential step in maintaining life. So drink lots of water.

It is estimated that 75% of Americans suffer mild chronic dehydration. Many would be drinking enough water were it not for the fact that they also use diuretics such as caffeine and alcohol which cause dehydration.

A host of problems have been associated with dehydration, but how does dehydration relate to stress? The brain is composed of 95% water. A mere 2% drop in body water will begin to shrink your brain and cause fuzzy short-term memory, difficulty focusing and daytime fatigue. The cluster of symptoms is sometimes called the brain fog.

Brain fog makes thinking harder and life more stressful. Therefore, avoiding or minimizing brain fog is a part of any good [tag-tec]stress management[/tag-tec] program.

Of course, chronic dehydration also leads to a host of physical problems such as hypertension, under-functioning kidneys and joint pain. Physical problems tend to create more chronic stress.

The solution is obvious: drink lots of water to keep your brain and the rest of your body working optimally.

Drink extra water under circumstances of increased body-water loss; for example, when you drink alcohol or coffee, exercise, fly or are under stress.

Drinking lots of water is key to good [tag-ice]stress management[/tag-ice]. It is important in avoiding the buildup of chronic stress, and it is a central tool in reducing stress when it arises.

Psychologist Dr. Neill Neill maintains an active practice on Vancouver Island, BC, Canada. He focuses on healthy relationships and life after addictions. He is the author of Living with a Functioning Alcoholic – A Woman’s Survival Guide.

Practical Tips for Stress Management 1– Take a Page from What Happens When You Are in Love

Woman Feeling Stuck

I have been asked many times about stress management. The question is not about removing the busyness of life, but about handling the challenges that life brings without going into a tailspin.

My plan was, and is, to post a series of short practical tips for stress management.

Around Valentine’s Day, I realized that one of the behaviors that goes along with the euphoria of being in love is a particular kind of breathing. You look adoringly at your lover, take a deep breath and sigh. It is so universal it’s called a “love sigh.”

The love sigh is usually unconscious. You take a deep breath and then let it go.

We naturally use the same process whenever we are confronted with something that is particularly beautiful or awesome. I look out at the ocean and mountains and I’m struck by the wonder. If I pay attention, I notice that my breathing deepens.

You can harness this very natural breathing process associated with love and wonder and euphoria whenever you need a strategy for reducing stress.

When you are under stress and need some relief, pause for a moment and take a few long deep breaths. After each deep inhalation, let the air go from your lungs and with it visualize the tension leaving each part of your body. Try it; make it a habit; it’s easy.

Deliberate and deep breathing has another benefit. As you become more conscious of your breathing when under stress, you may find that you have been holding your breath rather than breathing normally. Holding your breath deprives you of oxygen and increases stress. So in practicing this little breathing exercise when under stress, you gradually replace a stress-inducing habit with a healthier stress-reducing habit.


The Functioning Alcoholic Is Your Husband

Dr. Neill Neill

You both enjoyed a drink when you were first married. But unlike your drinking, his has increased over time. In fact it has become an integral part of everyday living for him.

codependency and worry.jpgIt has become a familiar part of your life too, because you worry about what is happening to him and to your marriage. For present purposes I will limit my comments to home life.

Perhaps he is just a friendly alcoholic. He pours a drink as soon as he gets home from work and he keeps one going all evening. He watches television with you and the children and is easy to get along with, provided he always has a drink. He insists there is nothing wrong with this drinking and that he is functioning quite well. After all, he reasons, he does his job and he brings home the money.

However, he never goes to the children’s games, because he doesn’t plan ahead. By the time he is asked, he’s already drinking and can’t go. "Next time…"

If you enjoy sex in the evening, you are out of luck, because by bedtime he’s blotto. And sex is not the only area where you are feeling neglect. It’s hard to have a discussion about anything significant after he has had a couple of drinks. You spend a lot of time effectively alone. You didn’t bargain for loneliness in your marriage.

Read more