Feature Channels: Alcohol and Alcoholism

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13-Jun-2021 12:05 PM EDT
COVID-19 Pandemic Drinking: Increases Among Women, Black Adults, and People with Children
Research Society on Alcoholism

Risky drinking has been a public health concern in the U.S. for decades, but the significant increase in retail alcohol sales following COVID-19 pandemic stay-at-home orders in particular raised red flags for alcohol researchers. New research has assessed changes in alcohol drinking patterns from before to after the enactment of stay-at-home orders. These results and others will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which will be held virtually this year from the 19th - 23rd of June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

13-Jun-2021 1:05 PM EDT
The Positive Reinforcement of Social Networking Sites Can Increase Behaviors like Binge Drinking
Research Society on Alcoholism

Social-media sites – for example, Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook – that provide clear networking functions such as liking, sharing, commenting, and personal messaging with other users or “followers” are popular among youth. They have also become a prime milieu for the socialization of young people's alcohol use. These results and others will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which will be held virtually this year from the 19th - 23rd of June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

13-Jun-2021 1:05 PM EDT
About the Cannabis and Alcohol Relationship: It’s Complicated
Research Society on Alcoholism

Not only is cannabis the most commonly used illicit – in a number of states – drug among people who drink alcohol, cannabis is also by far the most commonly used illicit drug in the U.S. overall. New research findings tease out the nuanced relationship between alcohol and cannabis through a survey of regular cannabis users who also report drinking alcohol, as well as heavy drinkers in treatment who also use cannabis. These findings will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be held virtually this year from the 19th - 23rd of June 2021.

13-Jun-2021 1:05 PM EDT
The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Alcohol Consumption Is Far From ‘One Size Fits All’
Research Society on Alcoholism

An ongoing analysis of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on alcohol and related outcomes shows that COVID-related stressors experienced by study participants – including work-, financial-, and family-related stressors – are having a varied impact on individuals with and without alcohol use disorders (AUDs). These results will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which will be held virtually this year from the 19th - 23rd of June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

13-Jun-2021 1:05 PM EDT
Leveraging Technology to Track Recovery and Relapse in Individuals with Alcohol Use Disorders
Research Society on Alcoholism

Alcohol researchers have long known that excessive drinking can cause detrimental changes in cardiovascular functioning. Recent advances in technologies can facilitate data collection that identifies altered cardiovascular functioning even before a diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. These results and others will be shared at the 44th annual scientific meeting of the Research Society on Alcoholism (RSA), which will be held virtually this year from the 19th - 23rd of June 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Embargo will expire: 23-Jun-2021 9:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 16-Jun-2021 7:05 AM EDT

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Released: 15-Jun-2021 1:55 PM EDT
Young adults' alcohol use increases when casually dating
Washington State University

When young adults are more interested in socializing and casually dating, they tend to drink more alcohol, according to a new paper led by a Washington State University professor.

Released: 14-Jun-2021 12:45 PM EDT
UIC Research Identifies Potential Pathways to Treating Alcohol Use Disorder, Depression
University of Illinois at Chicago

A discovery from researchers at the University of Illinois Chicago may lead to new treatments for individuals who suffer from alcohol use disorder and depression. The study, “Transcriptomics identifies STAT3 as a key regulator of hippocampal gene expression and anhedonia during withdrawal from chronic alcohol exposure,” is published in the journal Translational Psychiatry by researchers at UIC’s Center for Alcohol Research in Epigenetics.

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Embargo will expire: 21-Jun-2021 9:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 14-Jun-2021 9:45 AM EDT

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Embargo will expire: 21-Jun-2021 9:00 AM EDT Released to reporters: 14-Jun-2021 9:40 AM EDT

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Released: 10-Jun-2021 4:05 PM EDT
Beyond Remission: From Alcohol Dependence to Optimal Mental Health
University of Toronto

New research published online in the journal Substance Use & Misuse is good news for those struggling with alcohol dependence: the possibility of ending this dependency gets easier with age.

Newswise: Poll finds risky drinking patterns in older adults during pandemic
7-Jun-2021 11:20 AM EDT
Poll finds risky drinking patterns in older adults during pandemic
Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

As many older adults get back to normal life across the United States thanks to high rates of vaccination and lower COVID-19 activity, a new poll suggests many should watch their alcohol intake.

Released: 3-Jun-2021 1:05 PM EDT
Heavy-drinking young adults reduce problematic alcohol use early in pandemic, but young women face increased mental health burden
McMaster University

In a sample of nearly 500 young adults ranging in age from 18 to 25, researchers saw a reduction in problematic drinking and alcohol consequences during the initial phase of the pandemic for both men and women. This is in contrast to many anecdotal reports of increased drinking and increased household spending on alcohol during that time period. Additional findings showed increased rates of depression and anxiety symptoms among young women – increases that were not observed to a significant degree among male participants.

1-Jun-2021 4:55 PM EDT
The Pandemic Worsened Young Women’s Depression and Anxiety More than Young Men’s
Research Society on Alcoholism

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an uneven impact on mental health, affecting young women more adversely in some regards than young men, a new study suggests. Income loss likewise was associated with increases in depression. At the same time, however, the young people actually showed a reduction in binge drinking and alcohol problems. The combination of findings highlights the complexity of the pandemic’s behavioral health effects. The pandemic has raised widespread concern that its related stressors — such as social isolation, job loss, financial strain, and increased caregiving responsibilities — may have broadly aggravated substance use and mental health conditions. People age 18–25 were thought to be especially vulnerable, because of their transitional life stage and relative propensity to risky behaviors such as heavy drinking. While some studies have indicated that the pandemic was associated with intensifying mental illness symptoms and substance use in this age group, most did not

Released: 18-May-2021 9:45 AM EDT
Preventive interventions can improve mental health outcomes in children, teens and young adults
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott

Offering interventions to young people in the general community can prevent the emergence of certain mental health disorders, according to the first comprehensive systematic review to address this question. The results appear in the May/June issue of Harvard Review of Psychiatry, which is published in the Lippincott portfolio by Wolters Kluwer.

Newswise: Alcohol problems severely undertreated
Released: 17-May-2021 2:00 PM EDT
Alcohol problems severely undertreated
Washington University in St. Louis

Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that although the vast majority of people with alcohol use disorder see their doctors regularly for a range of issues, fewer than one in 10 ever get treatment to help curb their drinking.

13-May-2021 6:05 PM EDT
Partners May Influence Pregnant Women’s Alcohol Use and Risk Factors for Infant Development
Research Society on Alcoholism

The partners of mothers-to-be can influence the women’s drinking and depression during pregnancy, affecting their babies’ development, a new study suggests. The findings highlight the importance of partners’ role in reducing risk for expectant mothers. Pregnant women’s behavioral health is known to be influenced by their relationships with their partners. Partners’ higher substance use, and women’s lower relationship satisfaction, are associated with higher maternal substance use. Women who feel supported by their partners, in contrast, report less prenatal anxiety and depression and lower postpartum distress. Drinking and depression during pregnancy are each associated with multiple health problems, such as premature birth and delayed infant development. The study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research explores the role of partners, prenatal alcohol use, and infant outcomes together, aiming for a more comprehensive understanding of how these factors combine.

12-May-2021 8:05 PM EDT
Alcohol Use Disorder Remains Woefully Undertreated Despite Widespread Utilization of Health Care
Research Society on Alcoholism

Rates of treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) in the US are alarmingly low, according to a large analysis reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. An estimated 93,000 people in the US die from alcohol-related causes each year, and mortality associated with AUD has been increasing. Effective treatments for AUD already exist, including evidence-based psychotherapy interventions, mutual aid approaches, and three FDA-approved medications (naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram). However, previous research has indicated that fewer than one in ten people with AUD receive treatment, highlighting the need for a greater understanding of gaps in care and of where interventions can be most appropriately targeted. Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine have now used a ‘cascade of care framework’ to identify these gaps, by tracking the proportion of the AUD population engaged in each step of the care continuum from diagnosis onwards.

12-May-2021 8:05 PM EDT
Imbalance Between Certain Personality Traits in Teens May Raise the Risk for Binge Drinking in Early Adulthood
Research Society on Alcoholism

Teens with high sensation seeking impulses and relatively low cognitive control are at elevated risk for binge drinking in early adulthood, a new study suggests. Young adults aged 18–25 report the highest rates of binge drinking in the previous month, a pattern that predicts later Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) and other problem health behaviors. Two personality traits that evolve during adolescence and early adulthood — sensation seeking, the tendency to pursue novelty and excitement, and cognitive control, thinking before acting — are known to be related to binge drinking, or heavy episodic drinking (HED). Models of risky behavior among teens suggest that an imbalance involving higher sensation seeking and less-developed cognitive control may drive problem alcohol use. The study, in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, examined this imbalance over time as adolescents became young adults, and whether it was associated with binge drinking. Understanding these dynamic risk factors

7-May-2021 7:05 AM EDT
Alcohol Use Disorder is More Stigmatized than Other Substance-Unrelated Mental Health Conditions
Research Society on Alcoholism

Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is among the most stigmatized mental health conditions, and people with AUD are seen as more dangerous and more responsible for their disorder compared to people with other substance-unrelated mental health diagnoses, according to a review of studies in nine countries. The review found that people with AUD are targets of pervasive stigmatizing beliefs and behaviors. Socially distancing from people with AUD and discriminating against them is considered more acceptable than similar treatment of people whose mental health conditions are not related to substance use, says the article in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Stigmatization of AUD has serious implications for treatment and research, and contributes to health care inequality, though receives minimal attention.

7-May-2021 6:05 AM EDT
Smartphone Breath Alcohol Testing Devices Vary Widely in Accuracy
Research Society on Alcoholism

Alcohol breath testing devices that pair with smartphones are marketed as safety tools for general use, but their accuracy is highly variable, a new laboratory study shows. While some of these devices potentially help people avoid driving while impaired, others may mislead users into thinking falsely that they are fit to drive. Alcohol-impaired driving kills 29 people a day and costs $121 billion a year in the US, amplifying interest in personal breath-testing devices marketed at consumers. Such devices paired with smartphone apps are widely available via online marketplaces though information about their origins and accuracy is scarce. The study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research compares the accuracy of six such devices with that of two validated alcohol-consumption tests.

Newswise: New study examines neighborhood and social network's relation to binge drinking among adults
Released: 7-May-2021 3:20 PM EDT
New study examines neighborhood and social network's relation to binge drinking among adults
Indiana University

Study examines how neighborhood and social network characteristics relate to adult binge drinking.

Released: 3-May-2021 3:10 PM EDT
Stress and mental health problems during first COVID-19-lockdown
University of Zurich

Many people in Switzerland experienced considerable psychological distress during the first COVID-19 lockdown from mid-March to the end of April 2020.

20-Apr-2021 9:00 AM EDT
Five Studies Point to Dangers of Environmental Exposures
Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB)

Recent years have brought increased attention to the lasting effects of chemicals we unwittingly inhale, touch and ingest while going about our daily lives. The Experimental Biology (EB) 2021 meeting features the latest research on how environmental exposures affect health.

Released: 20-Apr-2021 9:50 AM EDT
How more alcohol availability hurts finances for some people
Ohio State University

A new study provides the best evidence to date that an increase in the availability of alcohol is linked to more financial troubles among the disadvantaged.

Newswise: Liquor during lockdown: 1 in 6 parents allowed teens to drink during quarantine
Released: 12-Apr-2021 5:05 AM EDT
Liquor during lockdown: 1 in 6 parents allowed teens to drink during quarantine
University of Notre Dame

The overwhelmed pandemic parent has become a ubiquitous symbol of the stress and despair many have felt since COVID-19 spread widely.

5-Apr-2021 5:00 PM EDT
Improving Long-Term Recovery From Alcohol Use Disorder: Brain Imaging Study is a Crucial Step in Understanding Anxiety-Related Relapse in Early Abstinence
Research Society on Alcoholism

Women in early abstinence from alcohol use disorder (AUD) show important alterations in brain connectivity that could underlie anxiety-induced relapse, according to a study reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Long-term recovery from AUD is challenging, particularly through periods of stress or uncertainty. Sustained alcohol use causes alterations in brain structure and neural functioning, including in brain regions associated with anxiety, that can persist even after stopping drinking. The first few days after quitting alcohol are dominated by physical withdrawal symptoms; after this, longer-lasting effects, including the production of stress hormones and abnormal stress responses, emerge as a result of these brain alterations. This means that many people who become sober experience months or years of anxiety and stress-reactivity symptoms. In the early abstinence phase, the anxiety symptoms can be temporarily relieved by alcohol, creating a powerful motivation

Released: 7-Apr-2021 12:50 PM EDT
Pandemic-Related Anxiety Associated with Women Drinking More
Iowa State University

In a new study, nearly two-thirds of female participants reported drinking more since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, including increases in daily drinking, drinking earlier in the day, and binge drinking.

31-Mar-2021 3:55 PM EDT
“Why Did You Drink Yesterday?” Young Adults’ Drinking Intensity is Associated with Their Motives for Drinking on that Day
Research Society on Alcoholism

The amount of alcohol an individual consumes on a given day, and the consequences of that drinking, vary according to their motives for drinking. The findings are from a study among young adults reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. ‘High-intensity’ drinking, defined as 8+ drinks for women or 10+ drinks for men (i.e. twice the binge-drinking threshold), is a particularly risky level of drinking that is common among young adults. Because individuals may engage in high-intensity drinking on some days but not others, identifying risk factors for high-intensity drinking on a given day is critical for developing real-time interventions to reduce harm. Drinking motives – a person’s reasons for using alcohol – are known to be linked to alcohol use at a particular time, and also vary across drinking days. Certain motives, for example those related to enjoying the feeling of intoxication or enhancing the fun of a gathering, have been previously linked to higher alcohol con

Newswise: Harm-reduction experts offer tips on safe drinking
Released: 23-Mar-2021 2:45 PM EDT
Harm-reduction experts offer tips on safe drinking
University of Washington School of Medicine

For the past decade, researchers at the University of Washington School of Medicine, Washington State University, and the VA Puget Sound Health Care System have conducted successful studies on harm reduction in Seattle homeless shelters. The researchers offer great advice on how to cut back on drinking.

19-Mar-2021 1:50 PM EDT
College Students’ Alcohol Use Fell, Not Rose, During the Early COVID-19 Pandemic
Research Society on Alcoholism

College students’ alcohol consumption fell during the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, notwithstanding concerns that the pandemic may drive up the risk of problematic drinking, according to new studies in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. The findings point to changing living conditions as a key influence, and a shift from heavy drinking with peers to lighter drinking with families. College students’ drinking is a longstanding public health concern in the US and international research on the effects of the pandemic has had mixed findings. Some studies have highlighted the drinking risks associated with pandemic stressors, disruptions, and deprivations, and increased depression, anxiety, and loneliness among college students. On the other hand, the closure of liquor stores and bars, the cancellation of events, and financial limitations may be protective against problematic drinking. Understanding how students’ alcohol use changed during the pandemic, and the reasons behind th

12-Mar-2021 4:20 PM EST
Dual health-risk behaviors in young adults: Problem drinking and maladaptive eating both linked to the brain’s reward pathway and impulsivity
Research Society on Alcoholism

Risky drinking often co-occurs with maladaptive eating in young adults, according to a study reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. While previous research had suggested a link between heavy alcohol use and obesity-related factors in college students, the latest study aimed to identify specific profiles of problematic drinking, food addiction, and obesity within a more diverse sample of community-dwelling young people. The researchers also explored shared theoretical risk factors for heavy drinking and overeating, and how these differ across the profiles. Calorie-dense food and alcohol both require little effort to obtain and consume, and each generates immediate and potent experiences of reward in the brain. According to ‘reinforcer pathology’ theory, people who place a high value (‘demand’) on unhealthy items, and who also favor small immediate rewards (such as food and alcohol) over larger delayed rewards (such as health), are at highest risk for overconsumption

10-Mar-2021 12:50 PM EST
Ignition Interlock Devices Help Reduce DUI in Short Term and May Have Unlocked Potential
Research Society on Alcoholism

A new study suggests that devices that prevent drivers from starting their vehicles after drinking, help to reduce drunk driving in the short term and may have additional potential based on a broader research approach. Vehicle crashes involving alcohol-impaired drivers result in 10,000 deaths a year in the US. About a quarter of convicted Driving Under the Influence (DUI) offenders are sentenced to install ignition interlock devices (IIDs), which prevent them from driving if their breath alcohol level exceeds a certain threshold. Interlock devices are effective while installed, though it is unclear to what extent they influence longer term changes in drivers’ alcohol use. Understanding the impact of the IID on offenders’ behavior can potentially help inform strategies for decreasing DUI recidivism. The study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research is the first known investigation of offenders’ drinking and driving from before their arrest to the period of time after the interlo

10-Mar-2021 8:40 AM EST
People in Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder may Struggle to Abstain During COVID-19 Lockdown
Research Society on Alcoholism

The first-wave COVID-19 lockdown in Barcelona, Spain, has been linked to increased drinking among people recovering from alcohol use disorder (AUD), as reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Pandemic-associated stress has already been associated with increased drinking in the general population, but few studies have examined the impact among people with a clinical diagnosis of AUD, who may be particularly susceptible to using alcohol as a coping mechanism. Additionally, almost all COVID-19 studies to date have been based on self-reported alcohol use, which does not always provide an accurate measure, particularly among heavy drinkers and those with AUD. In the latest study, researchers used the results of urine alcohol tests to assess changes in alcohol consumption among people with AUD before and after the first-wave lockdown. Although the lockdown in Spain was one of the strictest in the world, with residents allowed to leave homes for basic needs only, alcohol r

Released: 11-Mar-2021 12:05 AM EST
One Year On: Unhealthy Weight Gains, Increased Drinking Reported by Americans Coping With Pandemic Stress
American Psychological Association (APA)

As growing vaccine demand signals a potential turning point in the global COVID-19 pandemic, the nation’s health crisis is far from over. One year after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, many adults report undesired changes to their weight, increased drinking and other negative behavior changes that may be related to an inability to cope with prolonged stress, according to the American Psychological Association’s latest Stress in AmericaTM poll.

3-Mar-2021 4:30 PM EST
Likelihood of Heavy Drinking Changes with the Context of the Drinking Occasion, Reveals Study
Research Society on Alcoholism

The amount of alcohol consumed during a given drinking occasion is strongly associated with the duration of the occasion combined with the beverage type and serving size, according to a study reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. Although previous research had indicated that alcohol consumption is influenced by the drinking context — for example, by the location, timing, or who was in the drinking group — it was not clear which characteristics are most strongly associated with alcohol consumption and how different factors combine to affect it. The new study aimed to identify which features, and combinations of features, are most predictive of the units of alcohol consumed during drinking occasions in Great Britain.

Newswise: Alcohol and tobacco sales climb during early months of COVID-19 pandemic
Released: 1-Mar-2021 5:00 PM EST
Alcohol and tobacco sales climb during early months of COVID-19 pandemic
Keck Medicine of USC

Alcohol and tobacco sales climb during early months of COVID-19 pandemic. Keck Medicine of USC study notes more dramatic increases among younger adults, ethnic minorities, those with younger children and/or large families and those with higher incomes

24-Feb-2021 4:05 AM EST
Alcohol Plus Cadmium (via Smoking) Can Amplify Blood Pressure and Cardiovascular Risk
Research Society on Alcoholism

Heavy drinking combined with cadmium exposure — most commonly via smoking — escalates the risk of hypertension, according to a new study. Hypertension (high blood pressure) affects 26 percent of the global population and is the leading cause of cardiovascular disease and mortality. Alcohol consumption and cadmium exposure are known risk factors for hypertension. Exposure to cadmium, a metal that accumulates in body organs, occurs mainly through smoking, which often accompanies heavy drinking. Other cadmium sources include certain foods, air pollution, and wine and beer. Alcohol increases the absorption of cadmium in the body, and evidence suggests that the two substances contribute to hypertension via shared physiological pathways. The new study, in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, is the first known epidemiological investigation of the combined effects of alcohol and cadmium on blood pressure.

17-Feb-2021 5:55 PM EST
Against the Clock: Circadian Rhythm Genes in Key Brain Region are Involved in Binge Drinking
Research Society on Alcoholism

Researchers have identified a causal link between binge drinking and circadian clock genes in a brain region previously implicated in hazardous alcohol use. Binge drinking is a common and harmful pattern of alcohol use, responsible for more than half of alcohol-related deaths. There is already robust evidence that genes involved in controlling circadian rhythm — the body’s natural processes that follow a 24 hour light/dark cycle — are associated with hazardous drinking and alcohol abuse. However, it is not known which areas of the brain mediate the clock genes’ effects on drinking. A brain region known as the nucleus accumbens shell (NAcSh) is already noted for its role in risky drinking; the region forms part of the brain’s ‘reward system’, reinforcing the use of alcohol and other addictive substances by release of dopamine. In the new study, reported in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, scientists investigated whether clock genes in the NAcSh are involved in regulating

Newswise: ISU researchers use data to help communities discover and solve biggest problems
Released: 8-Feb-2021 11:15 AM EST
ISU researchers use data to help communities discover and solve biggest problems
Iowa State University

The Data Science for the Public Good program, an Iowa State University project to help Iowa towns harness their data, has led to four offshoot projects to help support community recovery related to economic vulnerability, substance use and general support.

27-Jan-2021 5:05 PM EST
Novel Interventions May be Needed to Tackle Poor Social Cognition in People With Alcohol Use Disorder
Research Society on Alcoholism

Alcohol dependence is associated with impairments in social cognition – for example, the ability to identify the emotional state of others – that persist despite abstinence from alcohol during inpatient treatment, according to new study findings. Cognitive deficits are common in alcohol use disorder (AUD), and often involve difficulties with working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control; however, it has become clear that social cognition, including the ability to recognize facial emotion, can also be affected. Poor social cognition contributes to interpersonal difficulties and conflicts. It may also have an important clinical impact, in that poorer recognition of facial emotion has been linked to poorer outcomes of treatment for alcohol dependence and a greater risk of relapse. However, research on social cognition is lacking, and it was not known if social cognitive deficits persist or might naturally improve with abstinence from alcohol. The study at the Medical University of I

27-Jan-2021 8:00 AM EST
Shifts in Impulsivity Linked to Changes in Alcohol Use — and Risky Drinking For Some
Research Society on Alcoholism

According to a new study, personality traits are associated with changes in alcohol use and problematic drinking, but these relationships may vary across the lifespan. The study explores alcohol consumption in the context of adult developmental stages. It suggests that changes in impulsivity and in the perceived rewards of alcohol are strongly related to changes in drinking behavior from ages 18-21, and to a lesser degree until at least age 35. Problematic drinking is known to be associated with impulsivity traits: a lack of planning (impulse control), sensation seeking, and the anticipated benefits from alcohol, such as sociability and making activities more enjoyable. Such traits evolve through adolescence and early adulthood. Understanding how shifting factors may elevate the risk to certain people at certain times potentially helps target interventions aimed at reducing heavy drinking and preventing alcohol use disorder (AUD). The study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Rese

Released: 28-Jan-2021 3:55 PM EST
Three mental health conditions contribute to violent offenses, WCU study finds
Western Carolina University

Western Carolina University researchers find a disproportionate number of inmates with violent offenses suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, panic disorder and alcohol use disorder, and published their findings in the Journal of Criminal Psychology.

25-Jan-2021 2:45 PM EST
National Penalties for Drunk Drivers Linked to Reduced Risk of Harms to Others
Research Society on Alcoholism

The risks of riding with an impaired driver or being involved in a crash caused by another person’s drinking are lower in countries that have comprehensive penalties for driving under the influence, according to an international study in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research. Previous research on the effects of drunk-driving policies has focused on aggregate outcomes such as accident rates or fatalities involving alcohol-impaired drivers. Relatively slight attention has been paid to harms caused by another driver’s impairment, although these “secondhand” effects are widespread and serious; in the US in 2015, almost 40 percent of drunk-driving deaths were of victims other than the impaired driver. Investigators explored whether national policies relating to drink-driving, and regional drinking cultures, were associated with such effects.

12-Jan-2021 1:45 PM EST
People Feeling Angry Are Willing to Purchase Alcohol at Higher Prices But May Not Know It
Research Society on Alcoholism

People who’ve been provoked to anger are willing to purchase alcohol at higher prices, but may not be aware of their increased urge to drink, according to a new study. Anger, hostility, and aggression are known to relate to drinking, with anger a risk factor for heavy alcohol use. Building on previous studies that have deliberately manipulated emotional states to explore their effects on substance use, researchers at Wayne State University, Michigan, designed an experiment that could help clarify whether anger can motivate people to drink . For the study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, the investigators sought to induce anger in participants and measure the effect of that anger on the desire to drink. They used two measures of drinking urges: self-reported alcohol craving and a behavioral task that assesses people’s motivation to drink.

12-Jan-2021 1:55 PM EST
Restricting Malt Liquor Sales is Linked to Reductions in Neighborhood Crime
Research Society on Alcoholism

Restricting the sale of malt liquor beer can help reduce crime in some communities, according to a new study. Malt liquor beer — high in alcohol content, low cost, and widely sold in liquor stores and convenience stores — is linked to heavy drinking, public inebriation, disorderly conduct, drug activity and other crimes. Consequently, since the 1990s, some cities have restricted its sale. In Washington state, certain urban neighborhoods were designated Alcohol Impact Areas and targeted with policies including restrictions on sales of malt liquor and similar products. Unpublished evaluations of these interventions have suggested positive social and health effects, but the research on crime impacts has been limited, with mixed findings. The study in Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research found that malt liquor sales restrictions are associated with declining urban crime.

4-Jan-2021 1:55 PM EST
Increase in pleasurable effects of alcohol over time can predict alcohol use disorder
University of Chicago Medical Center

A new study out of the University of Chicago Medicine following young adult drinkers for 10 years has found that individuals who reported the highest sensitivity to alcohol’s pleasurable and rewarding effects at the start of the trial were more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder (AUD) over the course of the study.


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