5 Ways Families Can Help Addicts

12-Step Programs Work for All Ages, Study Finds

Posted on September 15th, 2014

Twelve-step programs are support or mutual-help groups designed, in part, to help people recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol achieve and maintain substance abstinence. For Americans affected by alcoholism and alcohol abuse (alcohol use disorder), participation in these programs is the most common step taken toward outside assistance. Some health professionals worry that 12-step programs don’t provide the same benefits for young-adult problem drinkers as they provide for older problem drinkers. In a study scheduled for publication in 2014 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers from Harvard Medical School assessed the effectiveness of 12-step participation for younger drinkers under the age of 30.

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Bipolar College Students Making the Grade

Posted on September 14th, 2014

Bipolar disorder is most often diagnosed during one’s college years. Dr. Russ Federman and J. Anderson Thomson Jr, both of the University of Virginia (UVA), know the challenges that college students with bipolar must negotiate during their years of intense studying, new social encounters and life away from home structure.

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Seven Crucial Lessons from Quitting Drinking

Race, Gender Affect Use of Alcohol Treatment Services

Posted on September 13th, 2014

In the U.S., alcohol abuse and alcoholism are significant problems for both men and women, as well as for people from various racial/ethnic backgrounds. However, access to alcohol treatment options is not necessarily uniform among social groups. In a study published in July 2014 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, a team of U.S. researchers used information from an ongoing, large-scale project called the National Alcohol Survey to investigate gender-based or racial/ethnic differences in involvement in appropriate treatment programs for alcohol problems. These researchers concluded that both gender-related issues and racial/ethnic issues may impede access to needed care.

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Why Addicts Always Choose Drugs over Love

Wives Have More Influence Over Husbands’ Drinking Than Vice Versa

Posted on September 12th, 2014

In the U.S. and throughout much of the world, significant numbers of both married and unmarried people consume alcohol regularly. Most of these individuals drink in light or moderate amounts that don’t generally lead to problems; however, some individuals increase their risks for a range of problems by drinking heavily. In a study published in July 2014 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham assessed the level of impact that a husband or wife has on his or her spouse’s habitual level of alcohol intake.

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Vape Pens May Lead to Greater Marijuana Abuse

How Many Cannabis Users Start Taking Other Drugs?

Posted on September 11th, 2014

In the form of marijuana, cannabis ranks as the most widely used illicit/illegal substance in America. Researchers and public health officials have long debated the question of how many cannabis/marijuana users ultimately end up getting involved in other forms of illicit drug use. In a study published in August 2014 in the International Journal of Drug Policy, a team of American and Spanish researchers used information from a nationally representative project called the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) to determine how many U.S. cannabis users end up using other drugs. The researchers also sought to identify the population groups most likely to follow this substance use trajectory.

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Variety of Social Connections Helps Problem Drinkers

When Do College Students Avoid Drinking Alcohol?

Posted on September 10th, 2014

Most college students in the U.S. drink alcohol, and many participate in dangerous drinking practices that endanger their health and the health of others. However, college students sometimes (many of whom normally drink) choose not to participate in alcohol consumption. In a study published in July 2014 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, researchers from two American universities explored the reasons college students choose not to drink alcohol on specific occasions. These researchers concluded that the reasons for not drinking are complex and vary from person to person.

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Cocaine Users Have Higher Incomes, Study Finds

Posted on September 9th, 2014

Research has shown that a number of factors can influence a person’s likelihood of getting involved in substance use and maintaining that involvement over time. One of these factors is the amount of money available to spend on substance intake. In a study published in August 2014 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers from two American universities examined the impact that financial considerations can have on a person’s level of involvement in cocaine purchasing and cocaine use. These researchers found that income and other finance-related matters exert a significant effect on the obtainment and intake of this powerful stimulant drug.

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Stress Often to Blame for Alcohol Use Disorder

Problems Early in Life Predict Binge Drinking, Study Finds

Posted on September 8th, 2014

Binge drinking, also known as heavy episodic drinking, is an abusive form of alcohol consumption characterized by imbibing enough alcohol in a single drinking episode to meet or exceed the minimum standards for legal intoxication. Young adults between the ages of 21 and 34 have higher rates for this behavior than the members of any other age group. In a study published in July 2014 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers from the University of Washington examined the factors in adolescence and earlier stages of childhood that increase the odds that a young adult will participate in binge drinking at two later stages: the initial entry into adulthood and the first few years of his or her 30s.

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Does Binge Drinking Interfere with Young Adult Brain Development?

Posted on September 6th, 2014

Young people making the transition from adolescence to adulthood go through a critical phase of brain development that finalizes their ability to do such things as make logical decisions, control their emotions, control their impulsive behaviors and plan for the future. Unfortunately, people undergoing this transition also often participate in a form of dangerous alcohol consumption called binge drinking. In a study published in June 2014 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers from two Harvard-affiliated institutions used modern imaging technology to determine if young adults who participate in binge drinking experience unusual changes in the developing areas of their brains.

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Brain Melt

U.N. Panel Unanimous: Addiction Is a Brain Disease

Posted on September 5th, 2014

Many people look at substance addiction and behavioral addiction as moral failures or simple failures of willpower. However, a large and increasing body of scientifically verified evidence contradicts this unfortunately common point of view. In a report issued in 2014, the United Nations’ Commission on Narcotic Drugs released a consensus statement acknowledging the status of addiction as a brain disease with clear biological foundations. In a discussion panel held in May 2014 by the Kavli Foundation, the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and two other prominent addiction specialists outlined the evidence underlying this consensus statement and also addressed critical issues related to ongoing addiction treatment and management.

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Screening Questions Help Primary Care Physicians Detect Substance Abuse

Posted on September 4th, 2014

Primary care practitioners seldom encounter medical conditions they can’t identify. Backed by precise diagnostic tools such as X-ray machines, MRI scanners, computerized tomography and DNA testing, 21st century doctors, nurses and physician’s assistants are able to uncover a broad range of diseases, injuries, syndromes and conditions.

But despite modern medicine’s many advances, detecting substance abuse problems has continued to challenge primary care providers. Doctors might have suspicions, but suspicions are not the same as proof. This can be a big problem for medical professionals dedicated to giving their patients the best service possible, since substance abuse is a life-threatening condition that directly or indirectly claims the lives of more than 100,000 Americans every year.

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Alcohol Use Disorder Linked to Early Death

4 Problems Alcohol Seems to Help (But Really Makes Worse)

Posted on September 4th, 2014

By Meghan Vivo

For 30 years running, Americans have dedicated about $1 for every $100 we spend to booze. Rich or poor, in good economic times or bad, we find a way to cough up the cash for alcohol. That’s because from sleep to stress, many believe there’s nothing a little alcohol can’t cure.

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Variety of Social Connections Helps Problem Drinkers

People Who Drink to Relieve Craving, Lift Mood Headed Down Path to Alcoholism

Posted on September 3rd, 2014

Tens of millions of people in the U.S. are both alcohol consumers and cigarette smokers. Millions of Americans also have simultaneous problems with alcohol use disorder (alcohol abuse/alcoholism) and nicotine addiction. Both drinking and smoking can contribute to an increase in negative emotional states such as depression and anxiety. In a study published in July 2014 in the journal Addictive Behaviors, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles assessed the relative impact of alcohol use and cigarette use on negative mood changes. These researchers concluded that the key factor in these mood changes is alcohol craving.

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Stress Often to Blame for Alcohol Use Disorder

Alcohol Overdose Can Happen Fast

Posted on September 2nd, 2014

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, moderate drinking is defined as no more than one drink a day for females or two drinks a day for males. Few American drinkers consume alcohol in a way that shows they are aware of such guidelines. Everything from happy-hour specials to peer pressure makes it easy to overdrink without intending to do so. And it’s possible to overdose on alcohol, which can be dangerous and even fatal.

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