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Substance Abuse

Kicking the Habit

Nicotine is a highly addictive drug that is found in tobacco products. Nicotine triggers the release of feel-good chemicals in your brain, making it difficult to quit smoking. The CDC has some tips to help you kick the habit.

  • Adjust your medicine. If you are struggling to resist the urge to smoke, you may be able to up your dosage. For example, if you are using a lower-dose patch, you may be able to increase to a higher-dose patch. Talk to your doctor to see what is best for you.
  • Change your environment to make it easier to quit.
    • Get rid of all your cigarettes, lighters, and ashtrays.
    • Wash anything that smells of tobacco smoke.
    • Let people know that you’re quitting so they can support you.
    • Avoid any triggers.
  • Distract yourself.
  • Find safe substitutes for cigarettes.
  • Use toothpicks, straws, or cinnamon sticks to keep your hands and mouth busy. You can hold them in your fingers and bring them to your mouth like you would a cigarette.
  • Doodle or use paper clips or a stress ball to keep your hands busy.

Some other resources to help you quit smoking include:

Drinking in Moderation

Excessive alcohol use is responsible for about 95,000 deaths in the U.S. every year. The CDC provides information on how to drink safely, prevent excessive alcohol intake, referrals to alcohol programs, and more.

A standard drink is equal to 0.6 ounces of pure alcohol.

  • 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content)
  • 8 ounces of malt liquor (7% alcohol content)
  • 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content)
  • 1.5 ounces of liquor (40% alcohol content)

Drinking Moderately

  • Men should drink 2 drinks or less in a day.
  • Women should drink 1 drink or less in a day.

Binge drinking is a pattern of alcohol consumption that brings the blood alcohol concentration level to 0.08% or more.

  • Binge drinking usually corresponds to 5 or more drinks within 2 hours for men.
  • Binge drinking usually corresponds to 4 or more drinks within 2 hours for women.

Being intoxicated is the result of consuming excessive amounts of alcohol. The harmful effects of alcohol intoxication are:

  • Impaired brain function, resulting in poor judgment, reduced reaction time, loss of balance and motor skills, and/or slurred speech
  • Dilation of blood vessels, causing a feeling of warmth but resulting in rapid loss of body heat
  • Increased risk of certain cancers, stroke, and liver diseases
  • Increased risk of motor-vehicle traffic crashes, violence, and other injuries

Signs of an alcohol problem from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism are:

  • Drank more, or longer, than intended
  • Wanted or tried to cut back or stop drinking, but couldn’t
  • Spent a lot of time drinking and being sick due to drinking
  • Experienced a craving to drink
  • Drinking has often interfered with your life
  • Continued to drink even though it caused trouble with your friends or family
  • Had to drink more than you used to in order to get the effect you want
  • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms