Detox Centers In Florida

What Are The Dangers of Going Through Drug Detox by Yourself?

The prospect of going through a drug or alcohol detox can be scary. Checking yourself into a drug detox program can be expensive and means time away from your family and loved ones. Each type of drug carries with it its own risks from detoxing and should be considered carefully. Attempting to detox at home may seem like a viable alternative, but there are very real dangers to detoxing on your own.

Addiction to drugs and alcohol creates both physical and psychological dependence. Your body has been flooded with drugs for so long that it depends on them to function properly. Stopping the intake of these drugs abruptly causes symptoms of withdrawal which are debilitating.

Heroin and Opioids

A heroin addict’s nervous system has been exposed to the drug for so long that withdrawal symptoms can be debilitating and sometimes life threatening. Withdrawal begins to occur after 12 hours of going with the drug and can last from 2 to 4 days. The symptoms of heroin withdrawal are excruciating. Some of these symptoms include:
  • Stomach pain
  • Body aches
  • Chills
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Muscle weakness


Methamphetamine, Cocaine, and Other Stimulants

Withdrawal from stimulants causes less physical symptoms than heroin, but the psychological effects of drug withdrawal can be dangerous. Cocaine and methamphetamine are stimulants and the brain depends on them to keep it “happy”. During withdrawal, the psychological lows can be devastating. Some of the symptoms of stimulant withdrawal include:

Intense cravings
Severe depression
Severe anxiety
Suicidal thoughts


Alcohol is the most dangerous substance to withdraw from. Attempting to detox from alcohol on your own can and does have deadly consequences. Because of the fatal risks of withdrawal from alcohol, it should never be attempted without medical supervision. Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal begin to occur within 2 days and can include:

Delirium tremens
Heart failure

Many addicts abuse more than one substance at a time. This can lead to fatal interactions and withdrawal symptoms that need to be monitored by a medical professional. A spokesperson for Detox of South Florida a well respected drug treatment center in West Palm Beach had this to say, “Many addicts use some form of an upper and then a downer. This is quite common in addiction. One type of narcotic to get you feeling energized, then another one to calm you down later.”

Trained medical professionals can prescribe medications which stave off withdrawal symptoms. The patient must be closely monitored during the process to ensure safely removing the drugs from the body.

Withdrawal ranges from being uncomfortable to being excruciating. Many people end up relapsing during, or just after, cessation because of the painful symptoms. The body is no longer used to the effects of the addictive substance. The same dose a patient used the day before can now lead to a fatal overdose. This is why drug rehab centers monitor their patients during and after detoxing.

The ultimate goal of any attempt to stop using is to live a life without addiction. Professional drug rehab centers specialize in helping people achieve a life of sobriety.

There are very real dangers that are present when withdrawing from drugs and alcohol. Getting professional help to stop safely eliminates those dangers. Although it is tempting to try detoxing on your own in your comfortable home environment, doing so can have devastating consequences.


The Stages of Alcoholism

The Stages of Alcoholism: When is it a Problem?

After a long week, some of us want a good drink on a Friday night. Some of us want a good glass of wine after eating a well-cooked steak. This is a perfectly normal and sometimes healthy practice. Italians are known for their good health because of their consumption of fine wine. But like all things, an excess is bad. When does it become bad?

1st Stage: Tolerance Building

This part is often unseen, especially by the very individuals themselves. If the individual drinks alcohol frequently enough, they start to build tolerance. Tolerance occurs when the body adjusts to the toxins it receives. It’s a survival mechanism that ensures that we maintain function, or homeostasis, decreasing the effect of the alcohol in the system. This may cause the person to drink more alcohol to get that same feeling they need.  

This is where the problem starts. When the person consumes more and more alcohol to achieve that certain level where they feel satisfied. One of the reasons why this often goes undetected is that it’s a very slow process. What drinkers think is a “functional” amount can grow over a long period of time until it’s three times more than what they started.

2nd Stage: Drinking the Stress Away

This may sound normal, but the key difference is what constitutes as stress. If someone had a horrible meeting with the people in upper management, they may have a drink at their favorite pub that night. The 2nd stage is reached when just about anything that needs coping, is coped by drinking alcohol. This cements alcohol as a part of that person’s life. Put it another way, the person only thinks of alcohol as a way to relieve themselves of stress and nothing else.

This when their lifestyle starts to decay. They may forgo their other habits in lieu of alcohol, centering their lives into it. At this point, it’s difficult to stop because alcohol makes them feel happy. They believe that they cannot fully enjoy anything without a sip or two.

3rd Stage: Isolation

This stage is triggered when people close to the drinker start to show their concern. If you know someone who drank too much for their own good, chances are you’d tell them about it. The drinker’s reaction is to deny it or ignore it. If people prod enough, the drink would start to feel that their habit is being threatened and they start to distance themselves. Far from help, unable to cope with anything else, they start to spiral downwards.

4th Stage: Health Issues

After severe changes in behavior, trouble with people and sometimes the law, the last stage is when it starts to hurt them. The body’s struggle to keep itself functioning amidst the alcohol flux is waning, causing liver problems and kidney issues.

This is the latest time drinkers should stop. Liver damage can be permanent, even fatal. If you need a new liver, hospitals may not assign one to you because there’s a risk that you’d damage it again. The next stage is rather grim. When that point passes, then it’s truly too late.

What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder

What is Generalised Anxiety Disorder?

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is one of several anxiety disorders listed in the American Psychiatric Association’s 1994 Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR).

The central symptom that characterises GAD is worry, defined as the cognitive tendency to focus on a problem that one is unable to let go of. Although everyone worries about events in their lives from time to time, the DSM-IV-TR stipulates that the worries of those with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) are excessive, uncontrollable, long lasting and impairs their day to day functioning.

Other symptoms of anxiety include tiring easily, restlessness, difficulty concentrating, irritability and muscle tension. Symptoms must be present for at least six months in order for an individual to receive a diagnosis of generalised anxiety disorder (GAD).

Comorbidity of Anxiety Disorders

Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is often chronic and typically thought to begin in adolescence. However, many sufferers report having had a tendency to worry excessively all their lives. Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) is frequently comorbid with other anxiety disorders.

Brown and colleagues reported that over half of sufferers will have received a diagnosis of another anxiety disorder. This is thought to be due to two primary reasons. Firstly, many of the symptoms that characterise the different anxiety disorders overlap, and secondly, factors that are thought to contribute to the development of an anxiety disorder may increase the risk to all anxiety disorders.

Furthermore, anxiety disorders are often comorbid with other disorders such as substance abuse disorders, personality disorders and depression. Depression often develops after the onset of an anxiety disorder and is thought to be a result of the feelings of hopelessness and despair produced by anxiety.

Genetic and Neurobiological Factors Related to Anxiety Disorders

Psychologists have identified a number of factors that may increase an individual’s risk of developing an anxiety disorder, such as generalised anxiety disorder (GAD). Twin studies have suggested that genetic factors may play a role in the development of anxiety disorders, with generalised anxiety disorder (GAD) thought to have a heritability of 20-40%.

It is also thought that there may be a neurobiological basis of anxiety disorders. The fear circuit, a set of brain structures that tend to be activated when a person feels anxious or fearful, has been found to show elevated activation in those with anxiety disorders, particularly in regards to the amygdala.

Furthermore, abnormal functioning of the neurotransmitters in the fear circuit has been found in those with anxiety disorders, such as poor functioning of the serotonin system and abnormally high levels of norepinephrine.

Personality and Cognitive Factors Related to Anxiety Disorders

Personality traits that may contribute to the development of an anxiety disorder have also been identified. Some infants show a trait known as behavioural inhibition, which is characterised by agitation and crying when faced with novel stimuli.

A study by Kagan & Snidman in 1999 found that 45% of infants who exhibited signs of behavioural inhibition had begun to show signs of anxiety at age seven. The trait neuroticism has also been associated with anxiety disorders. It has been found that those with high levels of neuroticism are twice as likely to develop an anxiety disorder, and that neuroticism scores are a predictor of the onset of anxiety disorders and depression.

Those with anxiety disorders also show different cognitive behaviours in comparison to those without anxiety disorders. Those who have received a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder have been found to show selective attention to signs of threat. This is thought to happen automatically and very quickly, perhaps before the individual is consciously aware of the stimulus in question.

Lastly, as with depression, negative life events have often been found to precede the onset of anxiety. In 1989, Finlay-Jones estimated that 70% of people with an anxiety disorder had reported a negative life event before receiving a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Causes

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Causes: The Origins and Causes of GAD

The causes of generalized anxiety disorder remain a matter of debate. Genetics, imbalances in brain chemistry and environmental factors have all been suggested as possible causes of anxiety attacks, but exactly what causes anxiety disorders is often unclear.

Family and Anxiety Disorder Causes

Anxiety disorders seem to run in families. People whose first-degree relatives suffer from generalized anxiety disorder have a higher than normal risk of also developing GAD. A family history of severe anxiety disorders suggests genetic or environmental causes of anxiety attacks.

Twin studies support the theory that genetics contribute to generalized anxiety disorder. Results from studies of twins suggest genetic anxiety disorder causes are responsible for up to 37 percent of GAD cases.

Environmental Causes of Anxiety

Family history influences more than determine a person’s genetic makeup. Families have a profound effect on a person’s environment. How a family handles stress, conflict and anxiety-producing situations has an enormous influence on how individual’s deal with anxiety. Families who model unhealthy responses to anxiety can pass negative behavioral patterns from one generation to another, increasing the risk anxiety disorders.

Family dynamics and attitudes certainly increase the risk of severe anxiety problems, but cannot be considered true causes of GAD. A family that is prone to anxiety can include individuals who handle anxiety and stress in positive ways. Likewise, while stressful or traumatic life events can trigger generalized anxiety disorders, not everyone who experiences a traumatic event requires help for severe anxiety. Such events may be triggers for GAD, but are not causes.

Brain Chemistry and Severe Anxiety

Imbalances in brain chemistry may cause chronic anxiety. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers vital for the transmission of messages from one brain cell to another. Low levels of neurotransmitters affect how well the brain transmits information, and changes how the brain reacts to certain stimuli.

Low levels of the neurotransmitters serotonin and norepinephrine are associated with severe anxiety. Treatment for generalized anxiety disorder includes SSRI and SNRI antidepressants, which regulate levels of serotonin and norepinephrine. Whether imbalances in brain chemistry cause anxiety, or are the result of anxiety disorders, is open to debate.

While the causes of anxiety may be open to debate, GAD responds well to treatment. Generalized anxiety disorder symptoms may be treated with antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication. talk therapy for anxiety is also effective, especially when combined with medication.

GAD and disorder

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Complications: Insomnia, Clinical Depression and Teeth Grinding Due to GAD

Generalized anxiety disorder can cause secondary physical or mental disorders and aggravate symptoms of existing conditions. Certain mental disorders such as clinical depression and bipolar disorder often occur in combination with GAD. Physical complications include bruxism (teeth grinding), headaches, digestive problems and an increased risk of cardiovascular events.

Clinical Depression, Bipolar Disorder, and GAD

GAD is often co-morbid with other mental disorders (meaning the two disorders are present at the same time). Often the two disorders interact, with each disorder worsening the symptoms of the other. Cases of generalized anxiety disorder in combination with bipolar disorder or different types of depression are common.

Differentiating between clinical depression and generalized anxiety disorder is complicated, as the disorders share a cluster of symptoms, including:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty concentrating.

GAD and Substance Abuse

People with substance abuse problems have high rates of generalized anxiety problems. The risk of drug abuse, alcoholism, and cigarette smoking is higher than normal in people with GAD, but it’s not always clear which condition developed first.

Some people who live with generalized anxiety disorder turn to substance abuse in attempts to self-medicate symptoms of GAD. Certain types of substance abuse, in contrast, are known to trigger anxiety disorders.

GAD and Cardiovascular Disease

While the connection is not fully understood, anxiety disorders increase the risk of several cardiovascular conditions. People with generalized anxiety disorder have a higher than normal risk of the following:

  • High cholesterol levels
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Thickened blood vessels (atherosclerosis).

Heart surgery outcomes may be adversely affected by generalized anxiety disorder, and both anxiety and clinical depression lower the chance of favorable heart surgery outcomes.

Physical Complications of GAD

Anxiety disorders and clinical depression both aggravate serious chronic health conditions, worsening reported symptoms and reducing quality of life. GAD is seen in combination with many different physical conditions, including:

  • Allergic disorders
  • Asthma
  • Bruxism (teeth grinding during sleep)
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Emphysema
  • GERD
  • Insomnia and other sleep disorders
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Migraines
  • Tension headaches.

Suicide and Generalized Anxiety Disorders

Suicide rates are higher amongst people with anxiety disorders than amongst the general population. Suicide rates are even higher when anxiety disorders accompany clinical depression. Substance abuse can also increase a person with GAD’s risk for suicidal behavior.


Cookies & Milk: Raising Control Freaks, Drug Addicts & Diabetics

On October 22, 2010, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) officially predicted that about one in every three adults in the United States will be diabetic by 2050. Who couldn’t see that coming. If almost all drug addicts drank milk once as a baby, then it stands to reason that all people who get diabetes as an adult ate cookies as children.

A neurotic nation

Here’s something else to chew on, I predict that four out of five people will be clinically neurotic well before 2050; the remaining fifth will either be too young or too old to give a bother about their mental stability. Thank goodness for diapers. My prediction is based on nothing but observation and gut level thinking, so don’t go quoting this as expert material.

Diabetes is risky business

Why pick on diabetes of all things. Seriously, people get their legs amputated sometimes as the result of diabetes. It leads to a lot of risks, including death. The United States 2010 Healthy People project has targeted diabetes as one preventable disease to eradicate. To do so requires individual commitment to healthy lifestyles, eating well and exercise.

Public health campaigns

We all know the score. Kaiser Permanente floods commercial breaks with advertisements about ways to be active. A staggering onslaught of “eat healthy” and “be active” public health promotions compete for airtime right along with the likes of Taco Bell, whose latest claim to fame is promoting a fourth meal for the day. That kind of irony always fetches my attention. The point is, it’s a free country, if you can grab a moment’s peace in which to listen to yourself sans iPod.

Anyone share an original idea lately?

And God bless you for trying to think for yourself these days. Talk about risky behavior. If you can’t back up anything you’re saying with voting records and economic indicators, some people won’t give you the time of day. Has brainstorming become a lost art? I digress. The point being, this article represents my thoughts on a couple topics that concern me, thoughts that result from thinking for myself.

Diabetes and the Cookie Monster

Diabetes concerns me. It runs in my family. Yours too? I drank milk and ate cookies as a child. You too? Coincidence? Well, somehow I escaped drug addiction, and I sure as what-not hope to evade diabetes. That brings to mind another hot button issue. Why did Sesame Street ditch the Cookie Monster? Was that supposedly a politically correct (PC) move? Come on. The Veggie Monster, really?

Everywhere we turn people are telling us what to do and what not to do, how to think and how not to think, what to eat and what not to eat, how often to exercise and for how long, what new toxin poisons the environments we recreate in, and… well, you get the point.

Keeping up with the Jones’s

Not only that, every do- or nay-sayer backs up their advice with the latest reports, research and polls. Who are we, the commoners, to dispute the experts? Why even think for ourselves. Instead, the experts, with their sage advice, put us in smaller and smaller boxes, limiting us and we let them as we continuously redefine ourselves and redesign our habitats to align with the latest and greatest findings. We purchase miracle products, organic produce, recyclables or recycled goods, vitamins, supplements and gym memberships.

This need for neverending, chronic makeovers consumes us because we strive to keep up with the Jones’s. Is it only me, or is it a veritable impossibility to keep updating my lifestyle to reflect the latest and greatest in eco-conservation, mind/body health, social consciousness and technological socialization media? What happens when I try? I morph into a control freak – trying to maximize every resource to its highest use, eventually petering out and then filling up with guilt and half a pint of Haagen-Dazs for not being a better person. Honestly, the less I can really control in the world drives me to assert more control over the few remaining things that I am at liberty to manipulate. One of those things is what goes in my mouth. It’s a choice, sometimes a hard one.

High fructose corn syrup

Do you want to be a diabetic? A rhetorical question, of course. Do you eat high fructose corn syrup? You might find it helpful to cut it out of your diet if you are at risk for diabetes. I’m not giving medical advice. Consult with your doctor or look it up on the Internet. I have to say that, because I am not an expert.

Do you think there’s a correlation between the ever-increasing amounts of high fructose corn syrup we consume and the increasing risk of diabetes? I think so. The public health promotions don’t seem to be working. And, just so you folks at PBS know . . .

I miss the Cookie Monster.

gambling addiction effects

How Gambling Addictions Affect Physical and Mental Health

When gambling turns into a full blown addiction, it is not only the life of the gambler that eventually descends into chaos, but also the lives of those close to the addict. Behind every addiction, whether it be alcohol, sex, narcotics, food or gambling, exists an enormous amount of a pain, which must be dealt with in order for the addict to find and maintain recovery.

Symptoms of Gambling Addiction – How to Identify a Gambling Addict or Problem Gambler

There are many different signs, symptoms and characteristics associated with problem gambling and gambling addiction. In Overcoming Gambling, Mawer highlights key telltale signs to help partners and friends recognize problem gambling, to include the following:

  • appears distant and almost unaware of your presence
  • seems to lack concentration or interest in conversation
  • surprising mood swings on returning home
  • never seems to have enough money, even for basics
  • money suddenly appears with unexpected gifts, nights out, holidays
  • frequent excuses to run errands, get out of the home
  • loss of interest in sex and/or trouble sleeping
  • often online, appears irritated if interrupted
  • small pens in his pockets
  • hides bank statements/credit card statements
  • unexplained debits or credits

How Gambling Addiction Affects Physical Health

Unlike in food addiction, where obesity is the likely outcome, or in the case of alcoholism damaging the liver, gambling addiction is not typically thought of as affecting physical health. However, this is simply not the case, with every addiction putting the body under some form of stress. An addiction to gambling may result in the addict being affected in the following ways:

  • physical exhaustion
  • poor sleep
  • weight gain
  • high blood pressure
  • excessive alcohol intake

How Problem Gambling Affects Mental Health and Emotional Well-Being

As with all other forms of addiction, an addiction to gambling is often linked to other mental health issues. For example, many treatment centres offering help for gambling addicts, recognise that underneath addiction are often mental health problems such as depression. The stress and feelings of failure associated with losing vast sums of money can lead the addict to contemplate suicide. In addition, the significant amount of time spent away from the home feeding the gambling addiction, results in the addict becoming extremely isolated.

One of the major risk factors for depression is social isolation, making likely that the gambling addict will suffer from mood swings and struggle to maintain relationships. According to research studies undertaken at Massachusetts General Hospital, gambling appears to cause a similar brain response to morphine, so it is easy to see why losses negatively affect the addict’s emotional well-being.

As highlighted above, gambling addiction causes both physical and emotional problems for the addict, which may benefit from professional addiction treatment. It is important to be able to spot the signs of problem gambling as the longer the problem persists, the stronger the addiction is likely to become.

gambling addiction

Identifying Gambling Addiction Must be Done Before it’s too Late

The gaming industry is huge. Every year it seems to grow as it comes upon neighborhoods that had resisted it in the past.

One example of this is Jacksonville, North Carolina, which is home to Camp Lejeune, the largest base of the United States Marine Corps. Prior to 2004 there was no lottery in Jacksonville. For several years, those who wanted one pushed the initiative stating that property taxes would not rise as a result of a present lottery.

When it did pass, home owners who gambled on the government not raising taxes found that in 2004 they were going to have more property taxes due at the end of the year. If that wasn’t bad enough, a legal door opened for an opportunity to obtain fast cash with a dollar and a dream.

The real question, though, is how can one tell if they, or a loved one, has a gambling problem.

Identifying Gambling Addiction

According to the American Psychological Association (APA) gambling addiction can be identified by the following behaviors:

  • preoccupation with gambling
  • a need to gamble with higher wagers just as an alcoholic needs more to drink
  • in the face of reducing gambling, a person is irritable or restless
  • gambling is used as a means of escapism
  • after losing, a person returns, but just “to break even”

Breaking the Gambling Cycle

The cycle can either spin around until it is out of control or one can stop it and let the chips fall where they may. Those who do wish to stop will need help. One place would be a program like Gamblers Anonymous.

Interestingly enough, the phone number for such a place can be found on the billboard advertisements for casinos. While some may joke that the phone number attached to the emboldened phrase Gambling Problem?is really just the reservation line for that particular casino, the truth is that it can be a means of getting help.

Sadly, this vicious cycle can only be broken when the player involved chooses to do something about it. Movie lovers may recall the film Owning Mahoney, starring Philip Seymour Hoffman. Hoffman plays a Canadian bank manager who goes so deeply into his addiction that he uses his clients’ lines of credit to keep playing. Initially, he is shown losing a few thousand dollars. In the end, he took millions.

Owning Mahoney is a true story, and at the end Hoffman’s character states to a psychiatrist that from a scale of one to ten gambling gave him the best feeling of a ten. Living the rest of his life as he intended to without gambling ever again, he believed the highest he’d reach is a three.

This “three” included time with loved ones and accomplishing personal and professional goals. Frankly, no prize is worth such a sacrifice. And that’s exactly what the glitz and glamor of gambling is: no prize.

caffeine overdose

Caffeine Overdose: a Hidden Problem: Caffeine is Found in Many Other Drinks Apart From Coffee

Recent research done by the Scottish Poisons Information Bureau suggests that the problem of caffeine overdosing may be much higher than previously suspected.

Number of Caffeine Overdose Cases in Edinburgh

Every year between 70 and 110 cases of patients suffering from caffeine abuse are dealt with in one hospital in the city. Between 2000 and 2015, over 700 people had been treated for caffeine overdose at that Edinburgh hospital. These figures may seem low, but extrapolated over the country as a whole, there does seem to be a sizable and growing problem.

Symptoms of Caffeine Overdose

Nausea and vomiting, dizziness, headaches, tremors and general agitation are the most frequently recorded symptoms. The heart rate is generally raised well above the normal 60-80 beats per minute and the patient will feel generally unwell.

What Substances Contain Caffeine?

Coffee is the most obvious source of caffeine. Tea is another. Some other substances that contain caffeine include the following:

  • Energy drinks such as Red Bull, Rockstar and Relentless also have high levels.
  • Soft drinks such as Coca-cola, Pepsi and Irn Bru contain caffeine, as do the diet versions.
  • Pills like ProPlus contain caffeine, as do proprietary medicines such as some headache pills.
  • Chocolate contains caffeine in low levels.
  • Buckfast Tonic wine contains caffeine.

How Much Caffeine is in Each Substance?

The amount of caffeine in coffee varies greatly according to the size of cup used and the strength of the brew. According to the (Glasgow) Herald, the largest size of brewed coffee in Starbucks contains 400mg of caffeine, equivalent to five cans of Red Bull.

  • A mug of instant coffee contains around 60mg while espresso has less than 80mg.
  • A normal cup of tea has about 50 mg while green tea and herbal teas are much lower, some having no caffeine.
  • A can of Diet Coke carries 45mg, regular Coke has 35mg and Pepsi Max 69mg per can.
  • Two ProPlus pills contain 100mg while a chocolate bar is about the same as decaffeinated coffee (i.e. containing very little caffeine).

Caffeine and Alcohol: A Potent Mix

There is a serious problem when alcohol and caffeine are combined in a drink like Buckfast Tonic wine. A bottle of Buckfast contains 37.5 mg of caffeine per 100mls, giving each 75cl bottle the caffeine fix equivalent to eight cans of Coke but with alcohol included.

A BBC Scotland programme claimed that many violent crimes had been linked to the consumption of Buckfast wine. 5638 crime reports from 2012-2015 mentioned Buckfast with one in ten of these offences involving violence.

Buckfast wine is made by Benedictine monks at Buckfast Abbey in Devon and is marketed as a ‘tonic wine.” However research done at Polmont Young Offenders Institution and reported by the BBC in their programme, The Buckfast Code, revealed that 80% of offenders had been drinking before they offended and of those, 40% had been drinking Buckfast. Sales of Buckfast Tonic Wine in Scotland total less than 0.5% of all alcohol sales.

The US Food and Drug Administration are considering banning pre-mixed alcohol and caffeine drinks while Canada, France, Ireland and Australia have issued health warnings about them.

video game

Raising Children With a Video Game Addiction: Parenting Solutions From the Computer Gaming World

According to Harris Interactive a survey of US children and teenagers revealed that average time spent per week playing video games for tween (those ages 8 to 12) and teen boys were 16 hours and 18 hours per week, respectively. And in the Singapore newspaper Straits Times quoted a study by the country’s National Institute of Education which showed children spend 27 hours a week playing video games.

Whether a passing fad or clinical disorder, gaming can be a cause for concern for parents. At worst they result in gaming addiction that can be debilitative and destructive. At best, they compete for valuable family time and result in lost motivation for school work.

Performance Appraisal Feedback

Computer games offer constant and instant feedback through points, stages, special powers and number of lives. Players know exactly how well they are doing or how far they have come, giving them a sense of growth and improvement. When the game comes to an end, there is no personal condemnation and no labeling. Instead of being rejected as a failure, the player is simply invited to play again.

A CBS report suggests that gaming elevates dopamine and takes them to a fantasy world that makes the player feel better. This is especially pertinent in a online role playing game where players assume a fictional character and interacts with others in a virtual world safe from judgments and criticisms.

Sense of Belonging

In a multi-player game, a strong sense of connection and community is built. Singapore’s The New Paper carried a report on the strong bonds forged by players of World of Warcraft and Romance of the Three Kingdoms and how they turn to their virtual friends for help and advice when faced with problems in the real world.

The common interest lays a stable foundation on which a strong relationship is formed. Furthermore the blurry line between the virtual and real worlds allows the online feeling of “we are in this together through thick and thin” to be transferred to their real lives and an understanding that that bond will continue to exist.

Sense of Responsibility

Games like Neopets and Farmland give players the sense that they are contributing to something, that they make a difference. Whether they are taking care of pets or plants or saving the world from intruders, children feel that they have the power to control and the autonomy to contribute positively. Flushed with little successes, they are then motivated to take on more and bigger challenges and enhance their feeling of significance.

Parent Reflection

Instead of fighting the video games phenomenon, parents can take a leaf out of the gaming book and consider some of the following questions.

  • How often do you affirm your child?
  • Does your child feel small or empowered from your feedback?
  • When your child makes a mistake, do you take it personally?
  • Does your child learn from his failures or is he ashamed of them?
  • What can you do to build your child up in a non-judging way?
  • How much time a week do you spend pursuing a common interest as family?
  • How often does your child come to you for advice and help?
  • Does your child know he is making a difference to your life?
  • In what ways can your child hold responsibility in your family?
  • In what areas of his life can he be granted autonomy?

Kids love games and they love their family too. So pull up a chair and join them in a game or two. By spending quality time together, parents get to learn something about computers and parenting and even about their little loved ones too.

caffeine addiction

Caffeine Addiction: Appropriate Versus Excessive Amounts of Caffeine Per Day

There is a reason Starbucks is so popular – people love their caffeinated beverages. But how much is too much, and what are the effects of caffeine on the body?

Some people feel they cannot function without that morning cup of coffee or green tea. Many are in a daily habit of consuming caffeine, often unaware of the detrimental effects that caffeine can have upon the body.

Effects of Caffeine on the Body

Even small amounts of caffeine consumption can cause:

  • Jitteriness
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Accelerated heartbeat

Long-term caffeine addiction can cause heart disease, ulcers, fibrocystic disease and even infertility. There is no evidence that caffeine consumption effectively helps people stay awake.

How Much Is Too Much?

According to Teeccino, maker of caffeine-free herbal coffee products, drinking less than 100 mg of caffeine per day is no cause for concern. Consuming anywhere between 100-300 mg of caffeine can be a warning that a person is headed toward caffeine addiction, but is not usually considered harmful.

Once a person begins drinking anywhere from 300-600 mg of caffeine per day, he is undoubtedly experiencing caffeine addiction. If an individual reaches the heights of 600-900 mg of caffeine per day, he is not only addicted, he is at risk for heart disease, disruption of mood and energy levels, gastrointestinal disease and psychological disorders. At this point a person may need professional medical assistance to successfully kick the habit.

Pregnant women or women trying to conceive should decrease their caffeine consumption or stay away from caffeine altogether.

Caffeine Withdrawal

When choosing to cut back on caffeine, it is better to do so slowly to reduce withdrawal symptoms. In any case, however, symptoms can appear as soon as half a day after caffeine was last ingested. Withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Muscle aches
  • Feeling of general malaise
  • Difficulty concentrating

Individuals should consult with a physician if kicking the caffeine habit proves to be more difficult than previously thought.

Caffeine Content in Food and Beverages

Caffeine is found in coffee, some soft drinks, green and black tea, chocolate, energy drinks and some medications.

Here are some approximate figures regarding caffeine content:

8-oz cup of brewed coffee: 60-120 mg

8-oz cup of instant coffee: 70 mg

8-oz cup of black tea: 45 mg

8-oz cup of green tea: 20 mg

12-oz can of Coca-Cola: 34 mg

12-oz can of Pepsi: 38 mg

8-oz cup of chocolate milk: 20 mg

1-oz dark chocolate: 20 mg

1-oz milk chocolate: 6 mg

8-oz Ben and Jerry’s Coffee Fudge Frozen Yogurt: 85 mg

By these calculations, a person could have about three cups of brewed coffee a day or even several cups of green or black tea and still be in the “safe zone.” However, it is best to disperse caffeine consumption with other beverages such as water and natural fruit juices.