Research has shown that an approach called brief alcohol intervention can help significantly reduce the amount of alcohol that college students consume, and thereby decrease the risks for a range of harmful drinking consequences. In addition, research has shown that interventions provided remotely via the Internet have a beneficial impact similar to interventions provided in person. In a study published in July 2014 in the journal Addiction Science & Clinical Practice, a team of Swedish researchers assessed the effectiveness of brief alcohol interventions delivered through downloadable apps on smartphones.
Despite its popularity as a recreational beverage, alcohol is poisonous to many organs throughout the human body, including the brain. In some cases, people under the influence of large amounts of alcohol experience “blackouts” that produce either fragmented memory function or a complete inability to recall spans of time. In a report published in June 2014 in NIAAA Spectrum, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) details the underlying causes for alcohol-related blackouts and also explains the different types of blackouts that can affect a person who drinks excessive amounts of alcohol.
In the U.S., laws in all local and state jurisdictions set a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08 percent as the legal threshold for intoxication. However, in May 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) announced its intent to pursue a lower intoxication threshold BAC of 0.05 percent. In a study review published in June 2014 in the journal Addiction, researchers from the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation assessed the risks of operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content of 0.05 percent and sought to determine if the use of this BAC as the legal standard for intoxication would reduce the general public’s exposure to alcohol-related harm.
The Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHS) has released a report that shows that parents in Maine are not fully aware of how often their adolescent children are experimenting with alcohol, but that they are more aware than they used to be. It’s a phenomenon that translates to all parents in all states.
I received the panicked phone call from my mother early in June: my sister’s 20-year-old daughter had just returned home from her sophomore year at college and a crisis had erupted. In addition to having gained more than 50 pounds, Layla was not acting like herself; she was sleeping all day, irritable and uncooperative. Because I worked for decades as a psychotherapist with a specialty in children and families, Mom asked me for help.
With the government softening its stance against marijuana and recent state legislation to ease access, there is renewed interest in what the long-term impact of increased marijuana use might have on cigarette smoking. Even while many Americans express a greater openness to use of marijuana, the nation’s tolerance for tobacco use has been declining. Yet, a new National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) study shows that making marijuana more available is likely to increase the number of cigarette smokers.
Since the advent of Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools, many teenagers and adults spend considerable amounts of time using these outlets to self-report on their whereabouts, beliefs and behaviors. In a substantial number of instances, these self-reports include statements about potentially damaging patterns of alcohol consumption. In a study published in May 2014 in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers from several U.S. universities assessed the connection between alcohol-related statements on Facebook and real-world drinking behaviors in a group of college-age adults. These researchers also explored the underlying motivations for alcohol consumption among young adults who post on Facebook.
Young adults are known for their relatively high level of involvement in alcohol consumption. However, not all young adults drink; in addition, not all young adults who do drink consume alcohol in risky or dangerous ways. In a study scheduled for publication in August 2014 in the journal Addictive Behaviors, researchers from five British institutions sought to determine if young adults who consume alcohol have different personality traits than young adults who don’t drink. These researchers also sought to determine if personality traits differ between young adult drinkers who participate in dangerous patterns of intake and young adult drinkers who don’t drink in risky ways.
The factors that separate a social drinker from an alcoholic can be mysterious. This is particularly observable in a segment of the population often identified with heavy drinking: college students.
Binge drinking is associated with a number of risks. Immediate potential consequences of consuming a large amount of alcohol include an increased likelihood of sustaining an injury, involvement in assault and risky sexual behaviors. These risks can have lasting impact, such as disability from an injury or an unplanned pregnancy.