Cutting societal alcohol use may prevent alcohol disorders developing

Society must take collective responsibility to reduce the harm caused by alcohol use disorders, a University of Otago academic says.

Dr Charlene Rapsey, of New Zealand’s Dunedin School of Medicine’s Department of Psychological Medicine, says while alcohol is commonly enjoyed by many people and only a minority of people develop an alcohol use disorder, the negative consequences of such a disorder can be severe and long-lasting.

Her research paper, published in Alcohol and Alcoholism, used data from Te Rau Hinengaro, The New Zealand Mental Health Survey, to study transitions from alcohol use to disorder.

Of the nearly 13,000 participants, 94.6 per cent had used alcohol at least once, 85.1 per cent had had at least 12 drinks in the past year, and 16 per cent had developed an alcohol disorder.

Full story at Science Daily

Alcohol and heart health: Consistency may be key

The latest study to peer at the relationship between heart health and alcohol concludes that shifting drinking patterns across the years might increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Alcohol has been addling minds since it was first brewed millennia ago.

Consumed in virtually every country on earth, understanding its health implications is important.

Already, scientists have tied plenty of health hazards to alcohol. Among other conditions, it increases the risk of certain cancers, stroke, and liver disease.

Full story at Medical News Today

‘Compulsivity circuit’ in heavy alcohol drinkers

Heavy alcohol drinkers attempt to acquire alcohol despite the threat of a negative consequence more so than light drinkers, a study in Biological Psychiatry: Cognitive Neuroscience and Neuroimaging has found, and this behavior is associated with unique activation of brain circuitry in heavy drinkers.

The findings provide evidence for a “compulsivity circuit” that may drive alcohol-seeking behavior that is resistant to negative consequences, revealing potential targets for treatments to reduce compulsive alcohol use in heavy drinkers.

First author Erica Grodin, PhD, and colleagues designed a task to assess compulsive behavior of heavy and light drinkers. In contrast to habits — which drive behavior automatically even when it’s no longer rewarding — compulsive behavior continues despite negative consequences. In the task, participants could risk receiving a painful electric shock to earn points for alcohol or food.

Full story at Science Daily

Is it safe to mix acetaminophen and alcohol?

Mixing acetaminophen and alcohol is not always safe. But what are the risks, and when is it dangerous?

Acetaminophen, also known as paracetamol or Tylenol, is a drug that people use to treat mild-to-moderate pain and fever.

In combination with alcohol, acetaminophen can cause side effects or severely damage the liver. This can also be the case when people who drink alcohol regularly take too much of this medication.

Full story at Medical News Today

Almost half of US adults who drink, drink too much, and continue to do so

A new study led by Boston University School of Public Health (BUSPH) researchers has found that about 40 percent of adults in the United States who drink alcohol do so in amounts that risk health consequences, and identifies a range of factors associated with starting or stopping drinking too much.

The study, published in the Journal of Substance Use, found that 73 percent of those drinking risky amounts were still doing so two to four years later, while 15 percent of those not drinking risky amounts began to. Starting to drink too much was associated with being younger, transitioning to legal drinking age, being male and white, and smoking and drug use, among other social factors.

“Some people just stop drinking too much, but most continue for years, and others not drinking too much will begin doing so during adulthood,” says lead author Richard Saitz, professor of community health sciences at BUSPH. “Public health and clinical messages need repeating, particularly in young adulthood. Once is not enough.”

Full story at Science Daily