Guiding spirit: New York Senate leader seeks treatment for his alcohol problem
Sober Tales Aug 28, 2017
Guiding spirit: New York Senate leader seeks treatment for his alcohol problem

The biggest hurdle to the treatment of any addiction is the denial of its existence and refusal to seek help. If a person suffering from an addiction is able to overcome this hurdle, it is like winning half the battle. Given that addiction is a brain disorder and anyone can fall prey to it, there are innumerable examples of celebrities who were diagnosed with the problem. Many of them have emerged victorious against their problem. New York Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan is one of those who embraced life by admitting the problem and opting for treatment recently.

On Aug. 6, 2017, Flanagan admitted to have sought medical assistance to get over his alcohol problem. The 56-year-old Republican said in a statement that he decided to seek treatment after realizing that he had hooked on alcohol to deal with the pressure related to his responsibility as a Senate leader. He said he underwent rehab for his own family and his own good as it would help him to continue serving his community and state.

In his statement, Flanagan urged people who resort to alcohol to deal with their personal and professional stress, to take a lesson from him and lead an alcohol-free life. “No one is immune. Seek help and regain your personal pathway through life,” he said.

The senator received support from Governor Andrew Cuomo, who tweeted, “Alcoholism is a disease. @LeaderFlanagan deserves our respect & support for seeking help.”

Flanagan has been leading the 32-member Senate Republican conference since 2015, after Senator Dean Skelos, another Long Island Republican, was charged and later convicted of federal corruption charges. Elected to the Senate in 2002, Flanagan had served 16 years in the Assembly.

Alcoholism, a public health crisis in US

In the United States, people from all age groups and community abuse alcohol ignoring its harmful effects. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 15 million American adults were diagnosed with alcohol use disorder (AUD). Studies show that heavy alcohol use can lead to a number of mental illnesses. Excessive use of alcohol affects the brain’s chemistry, which increases the risk of depression. Besides, frequent drinking can cause memory loss and induce anxiety or worsen its symptoms.

Teen drinking has also been recognized as a major health concern in the U.S., with around 623,000 kids and adolescents aged between 12 and 17 had AUD in 2015. Moreover, nearly 37,000 adolescents sought treatment for an alcohol problem in a specialized facility in 2015. The NSDUH data also shows that approximately 88,000 people succumb to alcohol-related causes annually in the country.

Researchers suggest that alcohol use during adolescence might impair normal brain development while increasing the risk of developing AUD. In addition, it may also lead to a number of serious consequences, including sexual assaults, injuries and even deaths. Therefore, people need to be educated about the possible hazards of heavy drinking. While teens should avoid drinking in the first place, people battling alcohol addiction should seek medical help at a reputed rehab center.

Hooked Sober is a source of information on drugs, alcohol, eating disorders and mental disorders. Please send your questions, concerns or comments to or speak to a representative at 866-838-4087.

Also, read

Researchers cast serious doubts on data behind recent study on alcohol use among Americans

Is alcohol use turning into another public health crisis in U.S.?

Charlize Theron talks about living with her father’s alcoholism and resultant trauma