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The Effects Of Spirituality In Alcoholics Anonymous On Alcohol Dependence

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New research shows that attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings may increase spirituality and help decrease frequency and intensity of alcohol use

  • Alcoholics Anonymous is a widely known 12-step program that can help individuals control their dependence on alcohol, and spirituality is a large part
  • A new study shows that spirituality does increase over time, which can lead to better alcohol outcomes and an improved rate of recovery
  • These results indicate that spirituality is an important factor in the multi-faceted recovery from an alcohol-use disorder

Addictions, whether it is to drugs or alcohol, are a very difficult hurdle for individuals to overcome. But, there are ways to help people with their recovery through 12-step programs like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Many of these organizations, including AA, highlight spirituality as a very important factor, but the data surrounding its effectiveness have often been contested. 

However, new research shows that as attendance of AA meetings increase, so do the participants spiritual beliefs, especially in those individuals who had low spirituality at the beginning of the study. 

The results will be published in the March 2011 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research and are currently available at Early View. 

John F. Kelly, lead author of the study, Associate Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the Associate Director of the Center for Addiction Medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, said that while spirituality is an important aspect of AA recovery, it is not the only way they can help individuals. 

"I've heard it said that AA is too spiritual, and I've also heard it said that AA is not spiritual enough for some people. Although this is not the only way that AA helps individuals recover, I think these findings support the notion that AA works in part by enhancing spiritual practices," Kelly said. 

The researchers assessed more than 1,500 adults throughout their recovery process, with data being gathered at three, six, nine, 12, and 15 months. The study utilized data on their attendance to AA meetings, their individual spirituality/religiosity practices and overall alcohol-use outcomes to determine if spirituality is indeed a mechanism of behavior change. 

The results indicated that there was a robust association between an increase in attendance to AA meetings with increased spirituality and a decrease in the frequency and intensity of alcohol use over time. One of the most interesting aspects of the research was that the same amount of recovery was seen in both agnostics and atheists, which indicates that while spirituality is an important mechanism of behavioral change for AA, it is not the only method used. 

"Many people will be surprised that alcoholic patients with little or no interest in spirituality attended AA and seemed to change even more than did those who had a pre-existing, strong sense of spirituality," said Keith Humphreys, a Career Research Scientist with the Veterans Health Administration and Professor of Psychiatry at Stanford University. "AA is thus much more broad in its appeal than is commonly recognized." 

The researchers also noted that while spirituality is an important aspect of recovery, it is still not known how these beliefs work in complement or competition with other recovery methods, as there are multiple. 

"We have also found that AA participation leads to recovery by helping members change their social network and by enhancing individuals' recovery coping skills, motivation for continued abstinence, and by reducing depression and increasing psychological well-being," said Kelly. 

"Down the road it will be important to conduct more qualitative research as well as further quantitative replication of our findings in order to understand more about how exactly spiritual practices and beliefs influence coping and behavioral change in recovery from addiction

Source: 
John F. Kelly, Ph.D.
Center for Addiction Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital 
Keith Humphreys, Ph.D. 
Stanford University 
Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research

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Alcoholics May Stop at One Drink With Lundbeck Pill but what about the second drink,third and so on?

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Alcoholics may stop one drink with new pill. What about the second drink? In Europe a new medication is being used to help the fight of alcoholism. For many years the search for a pharmacological treatment answer in the fight against alcoholism has been sought. The drug, nalmefene from H. Lundbeck A/S in Valby, Denmark, blocks brain signals that make activities such as sex and drinking feel good. Should trials succeed, the medicine may win clearance in Europe as early as 2012, becoming the first new alcoholism treatment approved there in more than 15 years.
Most of the current medications are geared to fighting relapse once a person stops using alcohol. The focus of the new drug promises an attack of the problem from a different angle. The individual continues to drink while using this medication. Currently the method of abstinent is required for most people to become free from alcohol.
This new method of treatment raises many questions on it's effectiveness to stop alcoholism. The addiction treatment communities are champions for new tools, medications, tecniques and approaches to the treatment of alcoholism. However, much concern exist when you hear of the magic pill cure to fight alcoholism. It does not take long for the addiction professionals and the treatment and recovery community to get cynical about the idea of giving a pill and continued drinking.  
New ideas are always evaluated and researched in the addiction treatment industry. So while we watch this new approach to medication and alcoholics develop I hope more people will focus on the education of alcoholism.  


By Scott Kelley LCDC
More information on article found at business week.
via www.businessweek.com


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Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Legislative Conference

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Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Legislative Conference
February 16, 2011
Austin, Texas

 

The Texas Association of Addiction Professionals (TAAP) and the Association of Substance Abuse Programs (ASAP), along with the Texas Summit Committee for Prevention will be sponsoring the 2011 Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Legislative Conference.  Please join us for this substance abuse focused legislative conference in Austin on February 16th, 2011.

 

The conference offers 4.5 CEUs and more importantly an opportunity for your voice to be heard.  Registration is required and you must register by 2/7/2011. Please visit www.taap.org for more information and convenient on-line registration.  We sincerely hope that you will join us in bringing this vital message of hope to the Texas Legislature.

 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011
St. David's Episcopal Church, Austin

Featuring:

4.5 CEUs
 
Exciting Workshops including sessions on:
Substance Abuse Funding
Substance Abuse Bills - 82nd Legislative Session
Strategies for Prevention
Legislative Advocacy

Lunch with an Elected Official

The opportunity to experience legislative advocacy firsthand

Visit www.taap.org for pricing and more information.

Join us for the TAAP General Membership Meeting
Tuesday, February 15, 2011, 5:30 PM
TAAP State Offices
1005 Congress Ave., Austin, TX 78701 Basement Level, Room B-10
Including nominations for open board member positions
Open to all TAAP members
Visit www.taap.org for more information



Addiction the Word

Some terms that are commonly used in discussing drugs and drug use are difficult to define with precision, partly because they are so widely used for many different purposes. I want to caution people when learning about different addiction related terms. Many different meanings from many different sources use the word addiction to imply explanations of their points of view.  The term Addiction is a controversial and complex term. Another complicating reality is that everyday usage of the word addiction seems to gravitate away from scientific meanings of the word. The history of the word has meant different things throughout the last 200 years.

Who uses the term addiction anyway? The scholars or academic historians have their own opinions and view points to what addiction means. Very interesting points of views have been discussed in the circles of education. The individual addict and the families of the addict all have their own experience with what addiction means to them. Counselors and physicians, nurses, outreach workers, and case managers have their point of views. Then you have judges,lawyers,police officers, probation officers,clergy,child welfare and child protection workers, public health workers, teachers,school counselors, and youth workers who sometimes have their own way of relating the term addiction to what they see in their professions. With so many different views of what the word means it can lead  you in so many different directions when seeking help for someone that has an addiction. No wonder confusion exist for the addiction treatment consumer looking for a great drug or alcohol addiction facility. You are not alone. I hope i can help you find the right facility. Please enjoy the site and feel free to call or e-mail me or better yet post a comment. 

Scott Kelley LCDC

 

 

 

 

 


Summer Sky Treatment Center Houston Texas!

Summer Sky Treatment Center attended the 2010 Spectrum Conference hosted by the Houston Chapter of the Texas Association of Addiction Professionals. This years conference was The Thirty Seventh Annual Conference on Addiction Studies. It is a honor to help support such a great organization and be apart of addiction professionals serving those with substance use disorders across the State of Texas. Summer Sky recently opened up the new Detox Now Program. The Detox now program is created for those who do not want a 30 day stay in treatment, but desire to have detox take place. It is really geared to those who have had previous treatment or have a history of relapse. Please take a look at there website at http://www.summersky.us or call them at 1-888-857-8857.    


Brain Mechanism Linked To Relapse After Cocaine Withdrawal

Addictive drugs are known to induce changes in the brain's reward circuits that may underlie drug craving and relapse after long periods of abstinence. Now, new research, published by Cell Press in the September 9 issue of the journal Neuron, uncovers a specific neural mechanism that may be linked to persistent drug-seeking behavior and could help to guide strategies for development of new therapies for cocaine addiction.

Previous research has shown that the ventral tegmental area (VTA) is a brain region that is activated when cocaine users experience a craving for cocaine after being exposed to cocaine-associated cues. The medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which receives input from the VTA via circuits that use the "reward" neurotransmitter dopamine, has also been implicated in drug craving after cocaine withdrawal. Further, increases in the level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) have been observed in the VTA and mPFC in rats after withdrawal from repeated cocaine exposure.

"BDNF plays a key role in modulating the structure and function of synapses, the sites of communication between neurons. Therefore, increased BDNF after cocaine withdrawal may drive synaptic changes that contribute to compulsive drug seeking behavior," explains senior author, Dr. Mu-ming Poo from the University of California, Berkeley. "It has been shown that increased BDNF in the VTA after cocaine withdrawal in rats promotes the drug-dependent motivational state. However, nothing is known about the potential BDNF effect on synaptic function and plasticity in mPFC neurons after cocaine withdrawal."

Dr. Poo and colleagues designed a study to examine how BDNF and the mPFC might contribute to relapse after cocaine addiction. The researchers found that the gradual increase in BDNF expression in the rat mPFC after terminating repeated cocaine exposure significantly enhanced the activity-induced potentiation of specific synapses. Dr. Poo's group went on to uncover the specific cellular mechanism linking increased BDNF with enhanced synaptic plasticity and demonstrated that interference with the key molecule in the BDNF signaling process reduced behavioral sensitivity after cocaine withdrawal in rats.

"In short, our results demonstrate that elevated BDNF expression after cocaine withdrawal sensitizes the excitatory synapses in the mPFC to undergo activity-induced persistent potentiation that may contribute to cue-induced drug cravings and drug-seeking behavior," concludes Dr. Poo. Although a clear correlation between rat and human behaviors of cocaine craving and relapse remains to be established, the cellular mechanism uncovered in this study does appear to have behavioral relevance and may represent a direct brain sensitization that is involved in triggering relapse.

The researchers include Hui Lu, Pei-lin Cheng, Byung Kook Lim, Nina Khoshnevisrad, and Mu-ming Poo, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA.

Source:
Cathleen Genova
Cell Press

via www.medicalnewstoday.com


Study Contends Pot Isn't a Major 'Gateway Drug

Researchers say ethnicity, stress, unemployment are stronger predictors of hard drug use.

Researchers say ethnicity, stress, unemployment are stronger predictors of hard drug use

FRIDAY, Sept. 3 (HealthDay News) -- A new report casts doubt on the argument that marijuana is a "gateway drug" that plays a major role in leading people to try other illegal drugs.

Researchers found that other factors, such as ethnicity and stress levels, are more likely to predict whether young adults will use other illegal drugs.

Even unemployment appears to be more closely linked to harder illicit drug use than marijuana use, the study authors noted.

"Employment in young adulthood can protect people by 'closing' the marijuana gateway, so over-criminalizing youth marijuana use might create more serious problems if it interferes with later employment opportunities," study co-author Karen Van Gundy, an associate professor of sociology at the University of New Hampshire, said in a university news release.

The researchers based their findings on surveys of 1,286 young adults who attended Miami-area public schools in the 1990s.

Ethnicity was the best predictor of future illegal drug use, the study findings indicated, with whites the most likely to use the drugs, followed by Hispanics and then blacks.

The study findings are published in the September issue of the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

So does early use of marijuana play a role in boosting the likelihood of later drug use? It's unclear.

"This study really doesn't answer the question," said Dr. Richard D. Blondell, director of addictions research at the University at Buffalo (UB), who was not involved in the new study. "As the authors point out, there are a lot of factors at play here. There is no one single answer to why somebody develops addiction."

In a study published recently in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, Blondell and colleagues at UB reported that new research suggests that many people first get addicted to drugs while using prescription painkillers.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has details on drug abuse.

Researchers say ethnicity, stress, unemployment are stronger predictors of hard drug use.


New tool in testing for drugs






Experts Learning Much About Cannabis-Use Disorders — Psychiatric News

Experts Learning Much About Cannabis-Use Disorders

  1. Jun Yan

Several behavioral strategies have shown effectiveness in helping patients quit cannabis use, and some medications appear to merit further clinical research.

Marijuana is the most widely used illegal substance in the United States, with 15 million or more current users, and approximately 10 percent of these users develop cannabis-use disorders, epidemiological data have shown. The extent of this problem for clinicians was evident at a symposium on cannabis-use disorder, as the session attracted a full house of attendees at APA's annual meeting in New Orleans in May.

It is often difficult to conduct and interpret epidemiological studies of the adverse consequences and risks of marijuana use, David Gorelick, M.D., Ph.D., chief of the Pharmacotherapy Section in the Intramural Research Program at the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA), told the attendees.

The observed outcomes of chronic use are influenced by many factors, including genetic variations, differences in the potency of and cumulative exposure to marjuana use, concurrent use of other substances such as tobacco and alcohol, comorbid psychiatric conditions, and psychosocial risk factors.

Growing evidence supports a link between marijuana use and psychosis, said Gorelick, citing population research from the United Kingdom. The link appears to be particularly strong with early exposure to marijuana in adolescence. Epidemiological research by Stanley Zammit, Ph.D., M.B., of Cardiff University estimated that the effect size of this link translates to this: stopping approximately 3,000 cases of cannnabis-use disorder might prevent one case of schizophrenia.

Research so far has shown no association between in-utero exposure to marijuana and the development of psychotic disorders later in life, according to Gorelick. However, two longitudinal studies using brain imaging found subtle differences in brain activities during executive-function tests between young adults with and without in-utero exposure to marijuana, even though their performance did not differ.

Meanwhile, patients with schizophrenia have reported a high rate of cannabis use—up to 50 percent in some studies, Gorelick noted. Marijuana smoking in these patients is associated with significantly worse psychotic symptoms, poorer treatment compliance, and exacerbated metabolic side effects from antipsychotic medications. “It's clearly bad for them,” he said. “The question is why they use marijuana—and there is no clear answer.”

According to recent research, physical effects of long-term cannabis use are somewhat different from those of tobacco smoking, Gorelick pointed out. Respiratory symptoms such as cough, phlegm, and wheezing have been reported. The association with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lu

via pn.psychiatryonline.org


K2- Drug

Download Understanding the ‘Spice’ phenomenon

I hope this helps explain the K2- DRUG problem that is across the united states.