Alcohol Abuse

Effective Alcohol Intervention For Teens Should Involve Personalized Touch

A team of researchers focused on helping college students stop unhealthy alcohol consumption has just discovered one of the best ways to intervene: a personal touch.

alcohol abuseResearchers led by Lori Scott-Sheldon of The Miriam’s Centers for Behavioral and Preventive Medicine reveal the importance of early intervention by screening freshmen on the first weeks of school. With a wide spectrum of teenagers entering college, many different patterns and motivations for drinking came up. This became the basis of the group’s recommendation to use a tailor-fit approach to each and every case of alcoholism.

Published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, the study reviewed the effectiveness of several programs of alcohol intervention for teens spread across the U.S. for the past decade. While the intervention techniques were unique to each other, most of the more effective ones tend to share a commonality, and that is a “personalized feedback report” as reported in UPI. The college freshman identified with a drinking problem must realize the repercussions of continuing the habit: financial drain, health risks, or flying past legal blood alcohol limits.

Scott-Sheldon also observed that combining two or more techniques to intervene any case of teenage alcohol abuse is the best method.

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Study: Alcohol Intake Leads To Significant Vision Impairment

They say too much alcohol in the body leads to an impaired vision and sense of direction. It wasn’t until a recent study that the degree of impairment was measured.

visual impairmentA team of researchers from the Western University and the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry in Canada revealed that their study confirmed up to 30% impairment in vision as a result of drinking alcohol beyond the legal limit. In Canada and majority of states in the U.S., the limit for blood alcohol concentration (BAC) is 0.08%.

Results of the study were significant: participants who had BAC levels near the limit observed a 30% reduction in contrast between the squares and the dark circles. In other words, people who engage in drunk driving might have difficulty telling the difference between light and darkness. “This is obviously important when you are driving at twilight, when objects are more difficult to see and more difficult to discriminate, even without alcohol,” study co-author Brian Timney said in a news release.

Timney and Kevin Johnston, proponents of the study, used a rather simple and safe approach to determine the visual malfunction: the Hermann Grid. The illusion, as described by Johnston, is “a grid of black squares on a white background. You see ghost-like dark spots at the intersections of the grid, but they are not actually there. It’s the way our visual system processes contrast or brightness differences that creates the illusion.” Here is how the Hermann Grid looks like:

grid

Respondents were asked to drink alcoholic beverages until just below the legal BAC limit, then look at the grid for observations on the invisible dark circles between the black squares.

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Psychiatric Patients Have Higher Rates Of Alcoholism, Smoking And Drug Use

A recent study has linked psychological disorders to a higher risk of engaging in vices.

brains scansResearchers from the University of Southern California and St. Louis’ Washington University School of Medicine jointly looked into the susceptibility of people diagnosed with psychotic disorders to a number of addictive activities such as drinking, smoking, and use of drugs.

Study co-author Dr. Sarah M. Hartz of Washington University said that contrary to popular belief, people suffering from severe mental disorders do not die because of suicide or drug overdose. “They die from heart disease and cancer, problems caused by chronic alcohol and tobacco use,” said Dr. Hartz in a news interview.

The study, published in the JAMA Psychiatry journal, monitored more than 9,000 patients with psychiatric illnesses such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. The cases were then compared with people without diagnosed brain disorders, and performed an assessment as to the degree of use of alcohol, drugs and nicotine.

Results showed the following findings:

  • Thirty percent of people with mental disorders were engaging in binge drinking, as compared to only 8 percent for normal-minded patients.
  • In terms of smoking, 33 percent of the people without psychotic issues were identified as smokers. In stark contrast, the figure for mental patients shot up to above 75 percent.
  • Marijuana use was also higher in psychiatric patients, registering 50% of the study population. Meanwhile, only 12 percent of the people without mental disorders used marijuana.

 

To top it off, Dr. Hartz added that “these patients tend to pass away much younger, with estimates ranging from 12 to 25 years earlier than individuals in the general population.”

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Teenagers Engaging In Sports More Likely To Abuse Alcohol, Less On Illicit Drugs

A recent study published in the journal Addictive Behaviors revealed that teenagers who participate in sports are less likely to engage in the use of most illicit drugs.

Parque do IbirapueraWhile that finding is somewhat expected judging by the benefits that the youth get through sports, proponents of the study surprisingly discovered that this same demographic are more prone to alcohol abuse. Research team member John Cairney of McMaster University’s Offord Centre for Child Studies shared through Reuters the surprising results. “When we began our own review, we were shocked not only to find many new studies, but also ones that had been missed in previous reviews,” Cairney said.

The researchers from Canada reviewed previous studies published between 1982 and 2012, and dealt with monitoring people’s behaviors as a result of sports activities. It was through the comprehensive review that the benefit of sports activities in preventing drug abuse can be confirmed.

“We have enough data to show that sport participation could play an important role in substance use prevention. We need to understand what aspects of sport participation are most beneficial and design rigorous trials to see if sport interventions really can reduce or prevent drug use in youth,” Cairney added.

Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for marijuana and alcohol use, which young athletes were more susceptible to fall into. Also, the probability of prescription drug abuse — particularly in the use of painkillers and opiod medication — is higher for young people engaged in sports because these drugs are easier to get for them.

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Teen Substance Abuse Linked To Early Maturity

Children cannot wait to become grownups, and parents usually find this adorable. Now, a brand new survey suggests that moms and dads should be concerned about the rapid development of their kids into teenagers because this can lead to substance abuse.

teen addictionAccording to a study by a team of researcher from Austin’s University of Texas links early puberty to a higher risk of deveoplng substance abuse. Team lead Jessica Cance, who works at the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education, cites how puberty can result not only to physical body changes but also the teen’s social and psychological health. “Our research has shown that pubertal development is a combination of biological, psychological and social processes that all likely interact to influence risk-taking behavior like substance use,” Cance shared in a news item.

The survey involved 6,500 teenagers between the ages of 11 and 17, monitored their puberty development based on physical changes, and assessed their susceptibility to abuse of cocaine, alcohol and drugs. Results of the study showed that those who enter puberty at an earlier stage in their life are more prone to engage in drug abuse.

Cance relates this to the individual’s biological development and links it to his or her perceived social maturity. She said the first student in class to experience biological maturity “prompts or exacerbates existing psychological and social aspects… that can, in turn, lead to substance use and other risky behaviors early in life.”

Earlier studies showed that society and marketing agencies lure teens into drug and alcohol use because these are “cool”. This breakthrough revelation from Cance’s team shows that the perceived feeling of maturity in children makes them more likely to drug abuse.

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Hollywood Stars Who Confessed Using Drugs

Celebrities are role models. But they are not perfect. Sure they look flawless and their lives seem magical most of the time, but some of them often embrace certain habits that could lead to their own downfall and sometimes demise. As we all know, drugs and alcohol are a big thing in the world of glitz and glamour. And while some stars would usually deny ever using such substances, others are brave enough to admit that they have gone astray at some point in their lives.

Here are well-known celebrities who revealed their drug use and still managed to redeem themselves before it was too late:

drug abuse1. Angelina Jolie

The Golden Globe-winning actress confessed that she had tried “about every drug possible” such as cocaine, ecstasy, LSD and heroin. ” I went through heavy, darker times and I survived them,” she said during 2011 interview with 60 Minutes. “I didn’t die young, so I’m very lucky. There are other artists and people who didn’t survive certain things.”

2. George Clooney

He’s one of the most sought-after actors in his generation, but even that wasn’t enough to keep him out of trouble. In one of his old interviews, he said: “I’ve slept with too many women, done too many drugs and been to too many parties. I loved acid when I was at college. It was an escape. I liked mushrooms. They were like easy acid. I did like blow…Blow would dress you up for a party, but never take you there. You’re always like. This is going to be great! Then you’re just depressed.”

3. Drew Barrymore

She was America’s favorite child star. But unlike other kids, her past time included smoking cigarettes and marijuana, drinking alcohol, and snorting cocaine. She confessed having her first taste of rehab at 14.  In 1989, she told People magazine about her first experience with pot at the age of 10. She said: “… my addict mind told me, ‘Well, if smoking pot is cute, it’ll also be cute to get the heavier stuff like cocaine.’ It was gradual. What I did kept getting worse and worse, and I didn’t care what anybody else thought.”

4. Nicholas Cage

In 2010, the National Treasure star admitted in the David Letterman Show that he once used hallucinogenic magic mushrooms with his cat. “I had a bag of mushrooms in my refrigerator. My cat used to sneak into the refrigerator and eat them. … He ate them voraciously; it was like catnip to him. So I thought, ‘What the heck, I better do it with him,’” he said.

5. Johnny Depp

He’s portrayed way too many quirky roles since he started his showbiz career. But he was no different than other boys who tried vandalism, breaking and entering schools, even experimenting with drugs. “I don’t trust anyone who hasn’t been self-destructive in some way. Who hasn’t gone through some sort of bout of self-loathing. You’ve got to bang yourself around a bit to know yourself,” he told GQ in 2011.

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