In the fight against alcoholism, anti-alcohol drugs can be a powerful tool. Like Prozac was to depression 30 years ago, anti-alcohol drugs such as naltrexone, topiramate, disulfiram and acamprosate are changing the way mental health and medical professionals are treating alcohol addiction. As researchers dive deeper into understanding how these drugs work, evidence shows that each drug is best suited for specific cases.
In episodes of “Mad Men,” it’s not uncommon to find Don Draper and his colleagues huddling in the office and drinking alcohol. Boozing and schmoozing on the job was once a staple of white collar America and offering a drink to visiting clients was a part of doing business. While the days of having a bar in the office or bottle in the file drawer may no longer be acceptable in the modern office, drinking with work colleagues, clients and customers continues as a primary form of socializing. Alcohol is also the most used and abused substance in America. And high-functioning alcoholics, a phrase many fans attributed to Don Draper as his life spiraled out of control, continue to be part of the American workplace. The most recent report from National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that 8.7% of full-time workers aged 18 to 64 used alcohol heavily and that 9.5% were dependent on or abused alcohol or illicit drugs in the past year. A functional alcoholic can still operate in the work world, and may hide his or her drinking problem or live in denial of their disease, but there are certain telltale behaviors that co-workers may...
For those who struggle with a drinking problem, medications for alcoholism are often prescribed in order to allow individuals the opportunity to develop the skills necessary for a path to recovery. Some medications reduce cravings for alcohol while others induce unbearable sickness after drinking alcohol.
When consumed separately, both alcohol and cocaine can have damaging effects on your normal heart function. It turns out that the impact on your heart is even worse when you use these two substances together, or within an overlapping span of time. That’s because the combination of alcohol and cocaine in your body produces a substance called cocaethylene, which triggers increased cardiac risks.
Selfies of drunken, wasted students are alarming to any parent preparing to send a budding adult off to college. But experts say that those images convey a false idea about many young people’s experiences — and that parents have far more influence over their children’s drinking habits than they might realize.
No one wants to admit to being a binge drinker. It sounds terrible and like a really bad idea. Binging on anything is unhealthy. Yet, the scary truth is that a lot of adults and underage people do binge drink, and they do it on a regular basis. Often alcohol and peer pressure combined lead someone to binge drink, but most often it’s easy to lose control and drink too much without any help from friends. If you drink, be aware of what it means to binge drink and how it can harm you to drink too much in one sitting.
Teenagers in the U.S. are more likely to use alcohol than any other substance. Unfortunately, alcohol use in adolescence comes with greater risks than adult alcohol use, and significant numbers of teens will develop serious drinking-related problems. In a series of studies presented in late 2014 to the Society for Neuroscience, researchers from Georgetown University Medical Center outlined some of the latest knowledge on the underlying, brain-related factors that can make any given teenager or preteen more likely to develop problems related to his or her alcohol intake.
Alcohol binging (i.e., binge drinking) and heavy alcohol intake are the two drinking behaviors most firmly linked to short- and long-term exposure to serious, potentially deadly alcohol-related harm. For this reason, public health officials consider tracking the extent of these behaviors as a critical step in estimating nationwide risks from alcohol consumption. In September 2014, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration issued a report detailing the recent level of involvement in binge drinking and heavy drinking among the nation’s preteens, teenagers and adults.
Many recovering alcoholics and addicts do a lot of traveling during the holiday season, and traveling can be challenging when you’re trying to stay sober. You’re away from everything and everyone that’s familiar, and it may seem like alcohol is everywhere. Vacations are supposed to be a time for relaxing and having fun, but instead you may be feeling anxious and uncomfortable.
The chronic, excessive pattern of alcohol consumption associated with alcoholism is known for its ability to damage several key aspects of brain function. One of the most common indicators of alcohol-related brain damage is a loss in the volume of tissue contained in the brain’s main structures. In a study scheduled for publication in 2014 in the journal Addiction Biology, researchers from two U.S. institutions sought to determine how quickly brain volume increases in recovering alcoholics who successfully abstain from drinking for more than half a year.
You’d be surprised how many problem drinkers in a blackout have come out of it having flown to another country. To the untrained eye they may appear sober and rational while complete lack of reason and control have overtaken them, said Dr. Anita Gadhia-Smith, a Washington, D.C., specialist and author of From Addiction to Recovery: A Therapist’s Personal Journey.
Study author says it’s worth exploring whether physical activity is a good intervention for some alcoholics. Using smartphones to gather daily data, researchers have found that we drink more on days that we work out, and we do both more on Thursday through Sunday. The question remaining is why?
Alcohol use disorder is the current accepted term for the diagnosis of two drinking-related conditions: alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Excessive alcohol consumption is widely acknowledged as an important factor in a number of damaging changes in human mental and physical health. In a study slated for publication in 2014 in The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, a team of British and American researchers explored a previously unconsidered impact of alcohol use disorder in middle-aged adults: an increased chance of developing serious, potentially dementia-promoting memory problems in later life.
Hangover is the widely used term for a collection of short-term side effects that can appear after a person consumes excessive amounts of alcohol. Previous research has shown that drinkers who frequently experience these side effects are more likely to eventually receive a diagnosis for alcohol use disorder (alcohol abuse/alcoholism) than drinkers who typically don’t experience them. In a study scheduled for publication in 2014 in the journal Addiction, researchers from the U.S. and Australia used data from a large-scale project to help determine if genetic inheritance influences the odds of developing a hangover after a bout of drinking.
Addiction to alcohol usually has one of two starting points. Either the person gets involved with alcohol because he or she thinks it makes life more fun, or the person starts drinking in order to dull unpleasant thoughts and feelings. The person who overdrinks in an effort to intensify life usually won’t benefit from the same cessation approach as the individual who uses alcohol to silence life. Thus, knowing what motivates your drinking can prove invaluable in terms of lighting on the best road to sobriety.
People who consume excessive amounts of alcohol have increased risks for developing damaging brain inflammation, especially when they maintain a pattern of heavy intake over time. In a study published in July 2014 in the journal PLOS One, researchers from three U.S. institutions explored the usefulness of fish oil, a substance with known anti-inflammatory properties, in diminishing alcohol-related brain inflammation in heavy drinkers affected by alcoholism. These researchers concluded that a substance found in fish oil can potentially block some of the processes in the brain responsible for alcohol-related inflammation, and thereby reduce exposure to dementia and other forms of brain damage.
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