Synthetic Version of “Magic Mushrooms” Tested As Treatment for Alcoholism, Smoking

Magic Mushrooms Treatment for AlcoholismScientists are testing the synthetic version of the active compound in “magic mushrooms,” psilocybin, for a variety of purposes, including treatment of alcoholism, according to The compound is also being studied as a smoking cessation aid.

At the recent annual meeting of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology, scientists described their research using the hallucinogen. According to the article, psilocybin is the active ingredient in more than 100 species of mushroom, and has been used for hundreds of years in ceremonies and rituals in South America.

Studies on psilocybin’s effect on smoking cessation and alcoholism have just started, but early results are promising, researchers say.

A study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry by UCLA researchers found psilocybin improved the mood of patients with anxiety related to a diagnosis of advanced-stage cancer for at least three months.

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Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education

Two Medications Good First Option for Treating Alcoholism, Study Finds

Two Medications for Treating AlcoholismAn analysis of studies that evaluated two medications used to treat alcoholism concludes they are a good first option for people who want treatment but wish to avoid an inpatient program.

The analysis looked at acamprosate (Campral) and naltrexone (ReVia),Reuters reports. The medications may be helpful for people in different stages of recovery, because they have different effects on the brain, the researchers report in the journal Addiction.

The researchers looked at 64 trials of the two drugs, which included a total of 11,000 people. They found acamprosate was better at helping people who were not current drinkers stay sober, while naltrexone was more effective in helping people cut back on heavy drinking and avoid cravings.

Both drugs were more effective when used after participants had not been drinking for at least a few days before starting treatment, or had been through a detox program, the article noted.

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Supreme Court Will Hear Case About Blood Alcohol Test for Drunk Driving

Blood Alcohol Test For Drunk DrivingThe Supreme Court announced it will hear a case that centers on the question of whether police must obtain a warrant before forcing suspected drunk drivers to submit to a blood alcohol test.

The case centers on Tyler McNeely, who was pulled over for speeding by a Missouri highway patrolman, and was taken to a hospital. About 25 minutes after McNeely was pulled over, a technician measured his blood-alcohol content at 0.154 percent, nearly twice the legal limit.

The Missouri police in the case argued they should not have to wait for approval to give a blood test, because alcohol dissipates quickly in the bloodstream, Reuters reports. In a decision earlier this year, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected that argument.

It ruled the blood test violated the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. The court found there were no special circumstances to justify obtaining the blood test so quickly.

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Alcoholics Can Help Reverse Bone Loss by Exercising and Quitting Drinking

Alcoholics Can Reverse Bone Loss With ExerciseAlcoholics can help reverse bone loss that results from their addiction by quitting drinking and engaging in exercise, a new study suggests.

Excessive consumption of alcohol disrupts the process of bone renewal, called remodeling, according to HealthDay. This can lead to osteoporosis. The study found that stopping drinking for just eight weeks can help reduce this disruption.

The study included 53 men being treated for alcoholism, who underwent bone density tests, and had blood drawn at the beginning of the study and two months later. They also answered questions about their physical activity. The researchers found that although bone mineral density is reduced in alcoholic men, the negative effect of alcohol on bone formation can be reduced in as little as eight weeks.

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Adapting 12-Step Programs For Teenagers

12 Step Program For TeensTwelve-step programs can be extremely helpful for teens who are struggling with addiction or who are on the road to becoming addicted, but they are more useful if they are adapted to the particular needs of adolescents, according to an expert on teenage addiction.

“These programs were developed for adults, and teenagers are not little adults—they are in a totally different developmental stage,” says Steven Jaffe, MD, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry at Emory University, and Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Morehouse School of Medicine, in Atlanta.

Dr. Jaffe, who has spent the past 25 years working to modify 12-step programs to make them developmentally meaningful for teenagers, spoke about his work at the recent American Society of Addiction Medicine conference. “These programs are free, they’re everywhere, they provide big brothers and sisters as sponsors, and they offer recovering friends,” he notes. “That’s really important, because if teens go back to their friends who use drugs or alcohol, they will start using again, too.”

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