Do Young Problem Drinkers Respond to Motivational Interviewing?

Do Young Problem Drinkers Respond to Motivational Interviewing?Motivational interviewing is a counseling technique designed to (among other things) increase the willingness of people with significant alcohol problems to seek help for their excessive, dysfunctional alcohol intake. Current evidence supports the usefulness of this technique for adults affected by problematic drinking behaviors. In a study review published in August 2014 in The Cochrane Library, researchers from the United Kingdom’s Oxford Brookes University assessed the usefulness of motivational interviewing for teenagers and young adults who consume alcohol in dangerous ways. The researchers concluded that the technique may produce a substantially smaller benefit for people in these younger age groups. Full Story

College Alcohol Consumption Reduced With Interventions

College Alcohol Consumption Reduced With InterventionsMost college students drink alcohol on a regular basis, and public health officials are well aware that college drinking leads to serious harms for hundreds of thousands of people each year. In a large-scale review published in 2014 in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, researchers from two U.S. institutions assessed the effectiveness of the various interventions used to curb alcohol consumption among college freshmen. These researchers concluded that no one type of alcohol intervention has a universal impact on all students; still, many specific types of intervention do successfully address key aspects of the problem, either on their own or in combination with other interventions.  Full Story

Alcohol Ads Have Little Impact on Consumption

Alcohol Ads Have Little Impact on ConsumptionDespite growing concern about the effect of alcohol advertising and regulatory changes prohibiting the ads in some places, a new study has suggested that there is little, if any, overall impact of alcohol advertising on how much Americans drink. The research showed that while advertising affects the type of alcohol consumed or the brand chosen, more advertising doesn’t directly lead to more drinking. The authors suggest that moves to ban advertising may not accomplish their intended goal of reducing drinking, and they instead argue that providing information on the risks of alcohol consumption is a more logical approach to cutting down on America’s drinking. Full Story

Parental Alcohol Problems Are a Risk Factor for Attempted Suicide

Secret AlcoholicsIt makes sense that problems in the home in childhood could affect a person’s emotional well-being as an adult. According to a study that appeared in the May 2014 edition of American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, if mom or dad had alcohol problems, then the children could face an 85 percent greater risk of trying to commit suicide.

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Alcoholism Among Older Adults: A Growing but Overlooked Problem

Alcoholism Among Older Adults A Growing but Overlooked ProblemAddiction is generally considered to be a problem that impacts younger people more than any other population demographic. We may be aware that it’s an “equal opportunity” issue, impacting the young, old, rich and poor alike, but when asked to picture an addict we inherently jump to the youthful heroin abuser before we think of the older woman downing a bottle of wine. However, substance abuse among seniors is on the rise, and the National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence considers addiction among those 60 and over to be one of the fastest-growing health problems in the country. The main substances of concern are alcohol and prescription medicines, but the core problem actually lies in how society treats the issue.

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Should I Talk to My Friend About Her Drinking?

Should I Talk to My Friend About Her Drinking? I have an old friend—we’ve been close for going on 10 years—and this coming winter, I’ll be the maid of honor in her wedding. When she has a conflict with her finance or worries over her tween daughter, I’m the one she calls, day or night. Likewise, when I’m hurting or troubled, she’s my lifeline. I deeply value our friendship, and would never wish to jeopardize it, but lately, I’ve had to make a call that just might push us apart, though one I think is for the best. My friend has a problem with alcohol, one that’s been growing for as long as I’ve known her, but has been getting worse over the last couple of years, especially recently with wedding stress.  Full Story

Which Alcoholics Are Most Likely to Relapse?

Which Alcoholics Are Most Likely to Relapse?Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the diagnosis that doctors in the U.S. use to identify separate or overlapping symptoms of non-addicted alcohol abuse and alcoholism. Significant numbers of people diagnosed with this condition will experience a relapse at some point after entering recovery. In a study published in April 2014 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a team of Dutch researchers used a long-term project to determine if it’s possible to predict which individuals recovering from alcohol use disorder have the highest chances of relapsing. These researchers uncovered several factors that act as potential relapse indicators for any given person. Full Story

Alcohol Consumption Alters Heart Function

Ethyl alcohol, or drinking alcohol, is a toxic substance known for its ability to damage normal function in the body’s cardiovascular (heart and blood vessel) system. Specific short- and long-term problems associated with excessive alcohol consumption include high blood pressure, heartbeat irregularities called arrhythmias and a form of heart failure known as alcoholic cardiomyopathy. In a study published in March 2014 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, researchers from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) examined the underlying changes in heart rate and heart rate variability that help explain alcohol’s damaging impact on cardiovascular function.

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Mood Swings Common in Heavy Drinkers

Heavy drinking is a pattern of excessive alcohol consumption that increases a person’s chances of developing diagnosable problems with alcohol abuse or alcoholism. People already affected by these conditions also typically drink heavily on a regular basis. In a study published in January 2014 in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, researchers from the University of Vermont sought to determine if the “positive” and “negative” mood changes associated with heavy drinking differ between men and women. These researchers concluded that some mood changes occur in both men and women, while others tend to occur only in men.

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Do Brief Alcohol Interventions Work?

Brief alcohol interventions are short educational sessions that doctors and other professionals can use to help people who drink alcohol in unhealthy ways alter their behaviors. Unlike formal treatment programs, these interventions are typically conducted by people who don’t specialize in alcohol-related issues. In a study review published in January 2014 in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, a multinational research team analyzed the real-world usefulness of brief alcohol interventions in modifying dangerous drinking patterns. These researchers concluded that such interventions clearly work, at least for certain groups of drinkers.

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