Published: Friday, 02 December 2016 13:30
Return to Normal Drinking
No one likes a drunk. At best, the person may become a little drunk at a party, and we excuse it. At worst, the person may be regularly drunk, embarrass themselves and everyone within hearing distance. Everyone knows that their drinking is out of control except the drinker.
This type of drinking is not carried out for pleasure; it is compulsive drinking, or drinking with a purpose. The good news is that it is not necessary for people to give up alcohol completely. It is possible for them to return to normal drinking like the rest of us.
Reducing the alcohol intake is not easy. If consumption has reached a point of physical addiction, a return to normality must be carried out carefully. If the body has adapted to the large amounts, it must readapt to lower levels. This can be carried out rapidly but is not nice and may require medical supervision, or reduction can be carried out gently.
The aim is for the person to return to normal drinking which is moderate social drinking and moderate drinking with meals. Partners of heavy drinkers usually want zero intake but this is often not realistic or even necessary.
There are many reasons why people want to reduce their alcohol consumption. The main ones are: to improve their health, increase their lifespan, improve their quality of life, keep their job, keep their partner, save money, and be safe again.
There is a program to return to normal drinking. It does not require turning to God, becoming a Buddhist, being locked up in a clinic, or drinking two gallons of fizzy gunk every day. What it requires is a decision to return to normal drinking and a willingness to work through a program to make it happen.
The stages are as follows:
1 Decide on what alcohol consumption is acceptable. This may be times of day, amount per day, occasions when it is acceptable. This must be decided by the person, not by the partner, doctor or therapist.
2 Identify the reasons for drinking to excess. Common reasons given include: escape from life, boredom, helps with communication when shy, helps with communication if oppressed by someone, celebration or reward, social, with meal, to help relax, to help sleep or generally a bad habit.
3 Deal with each of the causes of drinking so that there are new and better ways of coping with the problems.
4 Monitor the drinking by recognising the reason for having each drink.
5 Drinking reduces naturally and establishes a habit of drinking less.
6 Remove the thought that drinking helps deal with problems.
There is no magic to the program; it simply recognises that some people use alcohol as a coping mechanism and they need a better one. They can then drink socially or at meal times without a driving need or craving to keep on drinking.
The author, Grahame Milton-Jones is a Psychotherapist working at the Family Medical Centre, Albir and can be reached on 966 865 072.
Published: Friday, 02 December 2016 13:27
If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to start to exercise more then read on………………..
Ranking in one of the top 3 New Year’s resolutions is to start to exercise regularly. Maybe you have even been given a membership to a gym for a Christmas gift? Whilst in the medical profession we actively encourage regular exercise, for those who have not exercised for any significant time it may be wise to have a simple medical check up prior to starting.
If you feel you are generally fit and well and have no chronic (long term) health issues, a check up may just be a simple visit with your G.P. who will give you the ‘once over’.
However, for people with certain health conditions it is more important that they do indeed get the ‘green light’ before they start any significant exercise. Definitely consult your family doctor if:
You have been sedentary for over a year
You are over 65 and don't currently exercise
You have any history of heart disease
You have had a previous heart attack or stroke
You have been diagnosed with heart conditions
You were born with any heart defects
You have ever suffered unexplained chest pain
You have ever suffered unexplained breathing difficulties
You are pregnant or you're having difficulty getting pregnant
You have diabetes
You are asthmatic
You suffer from ‘dizzy spells’ or have problems with balance
Almost always, whatever your health problem, some type of exercise will still be possible but advice may have to be tailored to your particular needs.
Published: Monday, 31 October 2016 14:07
Do I need an STI test?
In one word, YES! Getting tested will save you a lot of worry, and it could even save your life.
Most sexually transmitted infections can be cured with medication and those that can’t can be managed. But in order to manage or cure your STI you need to know that you have it. Earlier detection means it will be easier to treat and cause less long-term damage.
If you answer “Yes” to one or more of these questions then you should consider having an STI test:
Have you Never been tested before?
Have you ever had unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex?
Has something ever gone wrong during sex (eg. split condom)?
Do you have a new sexual partner?
Do you have more than one sexual partner?
Are you worried for any reason that you might have been exposed to an STI?
Are you thinking of starting a family?
Unfortunately, even if you have no symptoms it doesn't mean you're in the clear. Many people carry sexually transmitted infections without knowing it as many infections have no symptoms, or very mild ones which can easily be overlooked.
Sometimes it's obvious from symptoms that something is wrong. If you experience any of these symptoms or you think something isn’t right, get tested as soon as possible. Symptoms of STIs can include:
Pain when urinating or ejaculating
Discharge from penis, vagina or anus
Pain during sex
Blisters, sores or lumps on genitals or around anus
Itching or rash
Bleeding during or after sex
It is important that all partners are tested for STIs to ensure they are clear, before ceasing the use of condoms. Condoms (male & female) are the Only form of contraception that give protection against STIs, but bear in mind that even condoms are not 100% effective.