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Binge Drinkers Have …

Binge drinking is prevalent among university students, especially in the United States. One brain structure particularly sensitive to alcohol’s neurotoxicity during development is the hippocampus, which plays a key role in learning and memory. A study of the association between…

A Winding Path to the Emergency Room

He was the first patient of the day, dropped off at the emergency room by the police or a family member — a man in his 50s, unshaved, stumbling, engulfed in the pungent aroma of alcohol.
When he blew into the breathalyzer’s strawlike tube, the readout was 0.18, more than twice the legal limit.
“I get seizures,” he said, referring to the dangerous reaction some people experience when they abruptly stop drinking. Then, as if to prove it, he held out trembling hands. Each bore the nicks and scars of a hard-lived life.
I looked at the beads of sweat on his brow, then down at his vital signs. Heart rate 120;blood pressure pushing…

Number of First Time Users of Marijuana Increasing


Number of First Time Users of Marijuana Increasing

The estimated number of people using marijuana for the first time appears to be increasing, according to data from the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). More than 2.4 million persons ages 12 or older used marijuana for the first time in 2010, compared to the most recent low of 2.1 million in 2006. While the number of first-time nonmedical users of prescription pain relievers continues to rival that of marijuana, the 2010 estimate of 2.0 million is significantly lower than most recent high of 2.5 million in 2003. The number of new ecstasy users has been increasing since 2005, reaching slightly more than 1.1 million in 2009….

When Substance Abuse Leads to Anxiety


When Substance Abuse Leads to Anxiety

Substance abuse can lead to anxiety disorders, and vice versa. Either way, both problems need to be managed and treated together.
While substance abuse is serious enough on its own, users run the additional risk of developing an anxiety disorder as a side effect of abusing drugs or alcohol. And for a certain number of people with an anxiety disorder — estimates are 20 percent or more — turning to substance abuse will add a serious complication to their emotional problem. Fortunately, there are ways to treat both, regardless of which came first.
Substance Abuse and Anxiety Disorder: The Chemical Connection
Chemicals in drugs like…

Society’s “invisible addicts”

The NHS must wise up to the “growing problem” of drug and alcohol misuse among older people, according to a new report published today by the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
The report, written by the Older People’s Substance Misuse Working Group of the Royal College of Psychiatrists, warns that not enough is being done to tackle substance misuse in our aging population – making them society’s “invisible addicts”.
The report pulls together evidence to highlight the extent of the problem:
The number of older people in the UK population is increasing rapidly – between 2001 and 2031 there is predicted to…

Adults Represent A Majority Of Inhalant Treatment …

Inhalant abuse is now a multi-generational problem. “Huffing,” or intentionally inhaling a chemical vapor to get “high,” has been thought to be a serious, life-threatening risk primarily among children and adolescents, but a new government study shows that 54 percent of treatment admissions related to inhalants abuse in 2008 involved adults ages 18 or older.
The study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also shows that 52 percent of these adult admissions involved people aged 18 to 29, 32 percent involved people aged 30 to 44, and 16 percent involved people aged 45…

Learning from our mistakes is hardwired, study suggests


Learning from our mistakes is hardwired, study sug…

People who think they can learn from their mistakes have a different brain reaction to errors than those who don’t think they can learn from their mistakes, according to a groundbreaking study by Michigan State University researchers.
The study, which will appear in an upcoming issue of Psychological Science, is the first to show a fundamental difference between these two groups.
“This finding is exciting in that it suggests people who think they can learn from mistakes have brains that are more tuned to pick up on mistakes very quickly,” said Jason Moser, assistant professor of clinical psychology and lead researcher on…

Unhealthy Substance Use A Risk Factor For Not Rece…

Researchers from Boston Medical Center (BMC) and Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have identified unhealthy substance use as a risk factor for not receiving all appropriate preventive health services. The findings, which currently appear in BMJ Open, identify unhealthy substance use as a barrier to completion of mammography screening and influenza vaccination.
Cancer and influenza are among the leading causes of mortality in the United States. Influenza is preventable, in part, through vaccination, and mortality from cervical, breast and colorectal cancer can be reduced through routine screening. Nevertheless, many eligible U.S….

Depression and Substance Abuse

People with depression may turn to drugs or alcohol to medicate their pain.
Mood disorders like depression and substance abuse go together so frequently that doctors have coined a term for it: dual diagnosis. People who have suffered recent episodes of major depression have higher rates of alcoholism and drug addiction compared with the rest of the population, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. More than 21 percent of adults who experienced a depressive episode within the previous year engaged in substance abuse, compared with 8 percent of those not dealing with depression.
But it isn’t always…

Adolescents particularly susceptible to drinking h…

The drinking habits of a romantic partner’s friends are more likely to impact an adolescent’s future drinking than are the behaviors of an adolescent’s own friends or significant other, according to a new study in the October issue of the American Sociological Review.
“Dating someone whose friends are big drinkers is more likely to cause an adolescent to engage in dangerous drinking behaviors than are the drinking habits of the adolescent’s own friends or romantic partner,” said Derek Kreager, lead author of the study and an associate professor of crime, law, and justice at Pennsylvania State…


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