Research reveals how family history can affect your memory of hangovers

People with a family history of alcoholism are already known to be at a greater risk of developing a drinking problem, but new research led by Psychologist Dr Richard Stephens at Keele University has found they are also more likely to hold onto the painful memory of hangovers.

Dr Stephens’ latest research paper, “Does familial risk for alcohol use disorder predict alcohol hangover?,” involved two studies focusing on hangover frequency and severity.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism people with a family history of alcoholism are four times more likely to develop a drinking problem. Based on this, Dr Stephens’ research explores whether hangovers — unpleasant effects felt the morning after drinking alcohol — impact on this.

Full story of family history affecting memory of hangovers at Science Daily

From heroin addiction to alcohol-related problems

Around 3,000 heroin addicts currently receive opioids such as methadone, buprenorphine or morphine as part of their treatment in the Canton of Zurich. The number of these so-called substitution treatments has remained constant since their introduction in the 1990s. Long-term courses of therapy with methadone or other opioids evidently reduce the consumption of illegal drugs among patients addicted to heroin. Although the beginning of this kind of treatment also leads to a reduction in the consumption of alcohol, more patients drink alcohol more frequently today than in previous decades. This is shown in a new long-term study conducted by researchers from the University Psychiatric Hospital and the University of Zurich.

Heroin and cocaine consumption markedly reduced

The study includes data on nearly 9,000 patients with a heroin addiction who underwent substitution therapy in the Canton of Zurich between 1998 and 2014. They already consumed sustainably less heroin or cocaine — and somewhat less alcohol — from the beginning of the treatment. Moreover, the proportion of patients who consumed heroin frequently (at least five days per week) more than halved over the 17-year study period (from 14.4 to six percent), and the number of frequent cocaine consumers shrank from 8.5 to 4.9 percent. The results also demonstrate that the decrease in heroin consumption went hand in hand with an improved social situation for the patients.

Full story of heroin addiction and alcohol related problems at Science Daily

Surgeon General Report Calls for Increasing Access to Addiction Treatment

U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy issued a report Thursday that calls for increasing access to addiction treatment. According to Reuters, the report calls drug and alcohol addiction a public health crisis.

“The most important thing is, we have to change attitudes towards addiction and get people into treatment,” Murthy told Reuters. “Addiction is a disease of the brain, not a character flaw.”

Full story of increasing access to addiction treatment at drugfree.org

Public Health Officials Urge Doctors to Consider Medications to Treat Alcohol Addiction

Public health officials are urging doctors to consider prescribing medications to treat alcohol addiction, NPR reports. The drugs can be used alongside or in place of peer-support programs.

“We want people to understand we think AA is wonderful, but there are other options,” said George Koob, Director of the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. He says there are two drugs on the market for patients with alcohol cravings, naltrexone and acamprosate. “They’re very safe medications, and they’ve shown efficacy,” he said.

Full story of doctors to treat alcohol addiction at drugfree.org