Drug Cue Response Helps Predict Relapse in Heroin Addicts

Posted on October 30th, 2014

Drug cues are a range of internally and externally generated signals that support continued substance intake in a person with a history of substance use. In an individual affected by substance addiction, the presence of these cues helps foster the drug cravings that reinforce an ongoing pattern of uncontrolled substance use. In a study scheduled for publication in 2014 in the journal Addiction Biology, a team of Chinese and American researchers sought to determine if the intensity of the response to drug cues helps predict whether a person recovering from heroin addiction will relapse.

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Even One-Off Binge Drinking in Pregnancy Affects Child’s Mental Health

Posted on October 28th, 2014

Binge drinking is a form of excessive alcohol intake marked by rapid consumption that leads to legal intoxication. Current evidence indicates that pregnant women who participate in this form of drinking can seriously alter the brain development of their unborn children. In a study published in September 2014 in the journal European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, a team of British and Australian researchers investigated the negative impact that even a single episode of binge drinking during pregnancy can have on the mental health outcomes of children 11 years later.

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Anxiety Increases Risk for Alcohol Problems

Posted on October 24th, 2014

Anxiety is a mental state characterized by a prominent sense of fear, dread or unease. Some people have an unusually high level of sensitivity to this state that can significantly increase the odds of developing a diagnosable mental health condition called an anxiety disorder. In a study scheduled for publication in 2014 in the journal Addiction, researchers from two U.S. universities explored the impact that heightened anxiety sensitivity and the motivation to use alcohol as a coping mechanism have on the chances that an adult will developing serious alcohol-related problems.

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Young People Turn to Marijuana to Chase Away Blues, Study Finds

Posted on October 22nd, 2014

Millions of American teenagers and young adults use the addictive, recreational drug marijuana on at least a monthly basis. Underlying motivations for marijuana use can vary considerably from person to person and from situation to situation. In a study published in September 2014 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers from two U.S. institutions assessed the types of moods likely to promote intake of the drug in teens and young adults. The researchers concluded that a “down” or negative mood commonly precedes marijuana consumption in people in these age groups.

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Even Moderate Drinking Harms Older Adults’ Memories

Posted on October 20th, 2014

Excessive alcohol consumption is linked to a range of serious health problems, including disruption of memory. Public health guidelines for moderate levels of alcohol intake are specifically intended to reduce to the odds that any given person will experience alcohol-related harm. In a study published in September 2014 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers from the University of Florida looked at the negative impact that even moderate alcohol consumption can have on older adults’ ability to use an essential form of memory called working memory.

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Most Long-Term Heroin Users Will Suffer Non-Fatal Overdose, Study Finds

Posted on October 19th, 2014

Heroin is the powerful opioid narcotic derived from naturally occurring substances found in the opium poppy. One of the potential consequences of using this drug is a fatal or non-fatal overdose that collapses normal function in the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord). In a study published in September 2014 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a team of Australian researchers used information from an ongoing project to determine how often long-term heroin users experience a non-fatal overdose. These researchers also identified groups of long-term users most likely to experience such an episode.

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Helper’s High: How Doing Good Can Make You Feel Good

Posted on October 18th, 2014

By Edie Weinstein, LSW

Practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty.” — Ann Herbert

The term “random acts of kindness” has long been part of the vernacular. For some people, it may take the form of paying the toll for the person behind you on the turnpike. For others, it could be leaving a care package on a neighbor’s doorstep.

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BMI, Gender Affect Young Adults’ Alcohol Consumption

Posted on October 17th, 2014

People who consume alcohol excessively in episodes of binge drinking or regularly maintain a pattern of heavy drinking have clearly increased risks for a range of alcohol-related problems, including potentially fatal accidents and alcohol use disorder (diagnosable alcohol abuse/alcoholism). In a study published in September 2014 in the International Journal of Drug Policy, researchers from two U.S. universities examined the connection that body fat measurements called BMI scores have to the amount of alcohol typically consumed by young men, as well as to the amount of alcohol typically consumed by young women.

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Young Adults Add Habit, Boredom to Reasons They Smoke Pot

Posted on October 16th, 2014

The Marijuana Motives Measure (MMM) is a 25-question screening tool designed to help researchers, addiction specialists and mental health professionals understand the specific reasons people start using or continue to use the addictive recreational drug marijuana. This screening tool uses the answers to its 25 questions to identify five general motivations that can contribute to marijuana intake. In a study scheduled for publication in 2014 in the journal Addictive Behaviors, a team of Dutch researchers examined the accuracy of the Marijuana Motivations Measure and assessed its usefulness for understanding young adults who regularly use marijuana.

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Evidence Piles Up for Food Addiction

Posted on October 11th, 2014

Food addiction is a term commonly used to identify a dysfunctional, addictive relationship to the intake of highly satisfying foods. Although not officially recognized by the American Psychiatric Association as of 2014, the condition has the hallmarks of a recognized, diagnosable problem called a behavioral addiction or addictive disorder. In two studies published in March 2014 in the journal Frontiers in Psychology, researchers from Germany, Luxembourg and Belgium conducted testing designed to determine if some people lose part of their ability to control their eating when offered certain types of food. Such a loss of behavioral control would constitute additional support for the reality of a food addiction diagnosis.

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Women More Susceptible to THC, Study Finds

Posted on October 9th, 2014

THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, the main mind-altering ingredient found in marijuana and other forms of the plant drug cannabis. Among other things, this chemical plays a key role in promoting the repeated drug use that can lead to the onset of a cannabis/marijuana addiction. In a study published in October 2014 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, researchers from two U.S. institutions explored the role that gender plays in determining a person’s susceptibility to the effects of THC. These researchers concluded that body changes related to the hormone estrogen leave women substantially more exposed to the chemical’s impact.

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Healing Complex Trauma for Addiction Recovery

Posted on October 8th, 2014

A young woman with self-described ‘commitment phobia’ turns to substances to numb the pain of a troubled childhood.

A young woman drives into therapy. Aamori complains to her therapist that all of her relationships end just after the one-year mark, just as things begin to get serious. The reason, she explains, is that she gets cold feet. After a little exploration, the young TV producer describes what she thinks happens: around one year, a relationship has become serious enough that a guy begins to let down his guard and open up. Aamori generally enjoys this part of the relationship … for a little while. A boyfriend then begins to share his feelings, she says, maybe even saying the “L” word – something she’s not sure she’s ever felt. (When her therapist asks her to imagine speaking the words “I love you” to a man, she reports her feeling as “terrified.”) When she doesn’t return a man’s feelings, he first seems hurt. Then something innocuous happens and they argue. Very soon, he’s raising his voice (shouting) and walking out. She’s left feeling devastated and abandoned, but when he comes back, ready to make amends – after all, he loves her – she’s not willing to let it slide. She declares that she doesn’t want to see this side of a man, and isn’t very willing to trust. She hasn’t dated in four years.

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Male College Students More Likely to Abuse Drugs, Alcohol

Posted on October 7th, 2014

In the U.S., college enrollment is traditionally linked to a rise in alcohol consumption, as well as increased participation in binge drinking and other dangerous drinking practices. Significant numbers of college students also abuse drugs or medications; however, patterns of abuse are not necessarily evenly distributed among college men and college women. As part of an annual survey project called Monitoring the Future, federally sponsored researchers from the University of Michigan examined the differences in the patterns of abusive substance intake common to college students in each of the genders.

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