How effective is a personality-targeted prevention program for adolescent alcohol misuse?

Prevention is better than cure, or so the old saying goes. So, following on with the alcohol theme this week I decided to turn our attention to alcohol abuse in young people. More specifically the idea that effective preventative intervention can involve more than just increasing adolescent knowledge about the harms of alcohol misuse. Research has [read the full story…]

Can screening and brief intervention in our GP surgeries reduce problem drinking?

Looking back on the hot health topics of 2012, I think the one that struck me most was the rise of liver disease and the scale of problem alcohol use in the UK, compared to our European neighbours. In England, about 1 in 4 adults between 16 and 65 drinks harmful quantities of alcohol and the [read the full story…]

Do talking treatments help problem drinkers who also use illicit drugs? We’re still guessing

Alcohol Awareness Week starts today, with the theme ‘It’s time to talk about drinking’, so I thought we’d kick-start the week in this bit of the woodland by doing just that. Alcohol Concern’s Hair of the Dog campaign poster displays facts which may well achieve their aim of prompting conversation on this subject, including the [read the full story…]

New ‘traffic light’ blood test gives warning signal to unsafe drinkers

If your doctor told you that your blood test showed that your alcohol consumption was damaging your liver and that there was a significant risk that this would kill you in the next five years, I’m guessing that you might feel pretty motivated to drink less. I know I would. Deaths from liver damage have doubled [read the full story…]

England sees a drop in unhealthy lifestyle behaviours but a widening gap between different groups

Fewer people are engaging in multiple unhealthy lifestyle behaviours, according to a new report from The King’s Fund, which looked at data from the Health Survey for England from 2003 to 2008. This is the first study of its kind in the English population. They examined the clustering of four key behaviours: smoking, excessive drinking, [read the full story…]

Alcohol misuse prevention programmes: reviews show some may work, but we need better trials

Here in the European Union, we drink more alcohol than anywhere else in the world (11 litres of pure alcohol per adult each year) and this makes for huge problems in terms of health and wellbeing. It’s staggering to learn that more than one in four deaths amongst men aged 15-29 and one death in [read the full story…]

Giving teens life skills plus information looks a promising combination in preventing substance misuse

When it comes to encouraging youngsters to make healthy lifestyle choices and to resist the temptations of addictive and harmful substances such as tobacco, drugs and alcohol, schools can play a vital role. But how can they best do that? An appraisal of a systematic review on school-based marijuana and alcohol prevention programmes targeting ten to [read the full story…]

Intensive interventions to stop harmful drinking before surgery show promise

Alcohol abuse, with heavy or hazardous drinking, increases the risk of a number of complications following surgery, such as an increased endocrine stress response, prolonged bleeding time, heart arrhythmias and poorer functioning of the immune system.The postoperative complication rate has been reported to be increased by about 50% in people drinking 3 to 4 alcohol [read the full story…]

Early interventions for substance-using adolescents show promise

Earlier this week I highlighted a systematic review of interventions to prevent children of substance-affected parents from becoming users themselves. But how about teens who are in the early stages of using drugs, alcohol or other substances, but don’t yet meet diagnostic criteria for substance abuse or dependence and so may not need specialist drug [read the full story…]

Preventing children of substance-affected parents from becoming users

Prevention is better than cure, right? When it comes to preventing drug- and alcohol-misuse, children of substance-abusing parents are a really important group to work with, as they are at higher risk of developing their own subtance-related problems, or other mental health problems, than their peers from non-substance-using families. A new systematic review from Germany has brought [read the full story…]