Topiramate is the generic name of a medication that doctors in the U.S. increasingly use as an adapted treatment for people in recovery for alcoholism. The medication appears to make drinking less likely to occur during the recovery process, but no one knows precisely how or why. In a study published in October 2014 in the journal Addiction Biology, researchers from three U.S. institutions sought to determine the specific reasons why topiramate improves the prospects for successful alcoholism treatment. These researchers concluded that the medication produces its primary effects by reducing the body’s sensitivity to alcohol cravings. Full Story
In drug maintenance therapies for opioid addiction, less dangerous narcotics called methadone and buprenorphine are substituted for heroin and prescription painkillers. Doses are administered in a clinical setting and over time an attempt is made to phase out the maintenance drugs and eliminate opioid dependency entirely. Legally obtained methadone and buprenorphine have become increasingly popular with addiction specialists looking to guide their patients back to good health, as drug replacement therapy has been shown to produce excellent results in both controlled studies and real-world conditions.
But on a worldwide basis, methadone and buprenorphine are not the only options for treatment professionals interested in trying drug maintenance therapy. In a half-dozen European countries, heroin itself, in synthetic form, is also being used as a replacement drug to help addicts control their heroin dependency. Full Story
If being called “Dad” is on your bucket list, studies say there are a few things you can do to get those sperm in fighting shape: exercise more, eat fewer fats, watch less TV (really), and lay off the marijuana.
A team of researchers from some of the nation’s leading universities looked at data from tens of thousands of Americans and found that high marijuana intake is often accompanied by serious psychological problems, chief among them a condition known as social anxiety disorder (SAD).
A Team of Experts
The research team members were Dr. Franklin Schneier of Columbia University, Dr. Julia Buckner of Louisiana State University, Dr. Carlos Blanco of New York State Psychiatric Institute and Dr. Richard Heimberg of Temple University. Together they reviewed data collected through the National Epidemiological Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. Full Story
Researchers looking into leading risk factors for stroke in young people took a look at cocaine, not expecting it to be a large factor. But they were wrong, finding the drug to be the leading cause of stroke in young people.
According to the CDC, 105 Americans die every day from drug overdose. Ordinarily, however, these are adults struggling with addiction to drugs such as prescription painkillers; unable to control their behavior and eventually taking too much in one sitting. It’s not every day that the victim of an overdose is a five-month old baby, but that’s exactly what happened to the daughter of Ryan Barry and Ashley Cyr of Quincy, Massachusetts. Their daughter Mya was pronounced dead in 2011, and after appearing in court in October they have been charged with manslaughter. There was heroin in a bottle of formula that was fed to their daughter, and the baby died of an overdose.
Cannabis (marijuana, hashish and hashish oil) is widely known as one of the world’s most popular recreational substances. Current evidence indicates that an individual’s expectations about the pros and cons of using the drug strongly influence that individual develops a regular pattern of intake. In a study published in January 2014 in the journal Addiction, researchers from several Australian institutions examined how a person’s belief that he or she controls participation in cannabis use alters his or her opinion on the drug’s benefits and harms.
“Other” (or unknown) substance-related disorders are a group of conditions listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which serves as the main U.S. reference text for diagnosing mental illnesses. The manual includes these conditions in order to provide mental health practitioners with a way to diagnose significant substance-related problems that don’t fit the definitions for any individually recognized substance-related disorder.
Brain aging is a general term used to describe structural, chemical and psychological changes that commonly occur in the brains of older individuals. While this process doesn’t affect everyone in the same way, aging in the brain is associated with a number of significant health problems, including Alzheimer’s disease and depression. Current evidence indicates that people who habitually abuse cocaine develop changes in their brains that point toward the onset of premature brain aging. In particular, habitual cocaine abuse can destroy grey matter, the material that forms the core of the brain’s communications network. Full Story
It can be a very sticky situation. If you think one of your teen’s friends is using drugs or drinking, tact and care in your response are essential. Your children and their well-being are of the utmost importance, and protecting them is your job and your responsibility. The last thing you want for them is to get involved in drugs or to be around people who are using. However, before you rush in with guns blazing, take some steps to be sure that your concerns are founded and that you approach the friend’s parents or guardians in a compassionate and respectful manner. Full Story