Tag Archives: alcohol use disorder

Study: Marriage Can Help Prevent Alcohol Abuse

amjournpsychNew research appearing in the American Journal of Psychiatry has shown that first marriages to people without a history of alcohol use disorder can help prevent spouses from developing drinking problems as well.

Led by Dr. Kenneth Kendler of Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, the study examined 3 million people in Sweden, of which over 70,000 had drinking problems. Although there wasn’t a direct cause found, it was discovered that the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder among married men was 60 percent less and 71 percent less for married women compared to single people.

In a release from the American Psychiatric Association, Dr. Kendler said that the results, “strongly suggest that marriage does indeed directly and substantially reduce risk for onset of alcohol use disorder. It is also especially intriguing that this effect is largest in those at highest risk.”

Despite the many insensitive jokes of spouses being driven to drink by their marriage, this information indicates that they are actually more likely to help reinforce healthier drinking habits, including abstinence.

In the conclusion statements for the study, the authors wrote, “these results are consistent with the hypothesis that the psychological and social aspects of marriage, and in particular health-monitoring spousal interactions, strongly protect against the development of alcohol use disorder. The protective effects of marriage on risk for alcohol use disorder are increased in those at high familial risk for alcoholism.”

In a time where more research seems to look for genetic causes or brain functions relating to substance abuse, it is nice to also see studies about the social influences. All of the information combined together helps us be able to prevent alcohol and drug use disorders better as well as treat people more effectively who develop them.

If you have a loved one struggling with an alcohol problem, contact Desert Cove Recovery today to see how we can help.

Researchers Examine Alcohol Consumption and Employment

alcohol abuseHeavier drinking is more often associated with unemployment status, whether someone’s alcohol consumption caused them to lose their job, the individual is drinking more as a faulty coping mechanism as the result of losing their job or some other reason. Now there is a bit more information available regarding alcohol and employment.

Researchers at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions showed that work stress can be directly related to increased alcohol intake. This is an important study because it sheds additional light on potential problems that adults can develop from consuming too much alcohol. When family members and friends are aware that a person may be falling into these bad habits, they have a better chance of intervening.

In addition to potential family intervention, understanding the results of this study can also be beneficial for employers. Work stressors can impact an employee’s personal life and their behavior at work as well. Trying to relieve work-related stress through drinking can become habitual, and family and work obligations and responsibilities begin to suffer. The study shows that increased alcohol consumption was not only present during normal work environments but even worse alcohol habits were reported during the economic downturn.

“Even among the employed, economic downturns can create sources of work-related and financial stress that may lead to lower levels of alcohol use during the workday, but higher levels of excessive and ill-timed alcohol use away from work,” explained Michael Frone, PhD, senior research scientist at the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions.

Certain age groups seem to be affected more than others when it comes to drinking to relieve work-related stress. The study shows that middle-aged employees are likely to drink more on the weekends, especially when the economy is not doing well, than younger employees. Researchers speculate that this is due to the increased amount of responsibility that middle-aged employees have.

While the immediate effects of stress and alcohol seem to directly impact the individuals and their health, job performance can suffer significantly as well. People who develop alcohol use disorders are more likely to have accidents or make mistakes at work, which can passes on a huge cost to employers in lost productivity alone.

New Research Targets Alcohol Cravings

euroneuropsychScientists have been hard at work researching ways to help those that suffer from addictions to alcohol. After two trials were conducted, one on humans and one on rats, there may be new hope for those that have developed alcohol dependencies.

In addition to treatment, medication that stabilizes the dopamine levels in a person’s brain seems to have a positive effect on minimizing the cravings for alcohol. Pia Steensland, the co-author of both studies, acknowledges that larger trials need to be conducted but that this is a positive step in the right direction and serves as a proof of concept. She is a neuroscientist at Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

People who struggle with alcoholism are often put on medications that cause an intense reaction when the patient consumes alcohol. These medications are given because they directly interact with the alcohol and prevent the person from feeling the effects of the substance. However, the medication is only effective if the person takes it. There are other medications used as well that have shown some results, though having more treatments available for people would be very beneficial.

This type of research is vital because every year 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). In addition to those who have passed away, the U.S. currently has more than 16 million adults with some type of alcohol use disorder (AUD). The consequences of alcohol consumption spread far and wide.

This particular research targets dopamine levels in the brain. Someone under the influence of alcohol experiences increased dopamine levels, and then cravings kick in later seeking more. By targeting the dopamine directly, the results are that people will crave alcohol less, and that can be a life-saving assistant for someone in recovery. The study appeared in the journal European Neuropsychopharmacology.

Updated Survey Results Show Alcohol Use Disorders Increasing

jamanesarcOne of the largest studies commissioned regarding substance abuse-related issues has been the Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, which was updated for the third time (NESARC-III). Findings from the survey show that Alcohol Use Disorders (AUDs) have increased over the past decade in the United States.

AUD is the medical diagnosis for problem drinking that causes mild to severe distress or harm. Roughly one-third of the adult population reportedly experiences and AUD at some point in their lives, but only about 20 percent seek treatment for the issue.

According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Director Geore Koob, Ph.D., “These findings underscore that alcohol problems are deeply entrenched and significantly under-treated in our society. The new data should provide further impetus for scientists, clinicians, and policy makers to bring AUD treatment into the mainstream of medical practice.”

The most recent NESARC update was highlighted in the journal JAMA Pschiatry. It was determined that almost 14 percent of adults met AUD criteria for the previous year, and just over 29 percent met AUD criteria at some time in their life.

To gather this information, surveyors had face-to-face conversations with 36,000 adults about their alcohol consumption. What these statistics also show is that someone doesn’t have to be classified as an alcoholic to need help.

If you know someone currently struggling with an alcohol abuse problem, contact us at Desert Cove Recovery today to find out how we can help get them back on track in life.

Treating Alcoholism and PTSD

Those who struggle with an alcohol addiction and also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) have often struggled to tackle either of their issues, let alone both of them at the same time. The duality of these two problems can make treating them very challenging. Researches have been looking into possible solutions to these problems and the growing population of people who are addicted to alcohol and have PTSD.

Research like the kind that is being conducted at the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Medical University of South Carolina is vital for the long term physical and mental health of those that struggle with an alcohol use disorder and post-traumatic stress.

A combination of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) aimed at treating substance abuse and exposure therapy aimed at treating PTSD seems to be the most effective approach. Attacking the problems individually allows for each issue to receive adequate treatment. Concurrent Treatment of Substance Use Disorders Using Prolonged Exposure (COPE) is the name researchers have given this two-pronged attack to the problems. The research shows that after several months of administering this type of therapy to individuals, many experienced significant gains in mental health.

There are other types of treatment that have shown positive results as well. Some researchers have made headway when administering certain kinds of blood pressure medication in conjunction with therapy. A specific study showed that those that received clonidine had longer time between relapses and stayed sober for longer and reported less stress. While these studies are still in the early stages, it does appear that treating both problems at once is possible.

In the past, many people were concerned about those who suffered from co-occurring disorders. Figuring out which problem to treat first proved to be difficult. Treating the addiction first oftentimes got the person out of immediate danger and allowed them to better focus on their therapy. However, some people argued that treating the mental disorder first allows for better and longer lasting treatment of the addiction. More information seems to indicate that both issues should be addressed concurrently for the best results, though the types of therapies used can vary widely.