Acamprosate and oral naltrexone may improve consumption related outcomes for people with alcohol use disorders

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A new systematic review suggests that, when used alongside psychosocial interventions, medication can result in better alcohol consumption outcomes for people with drinking problems.

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How does buprenorphine fair as an alternative to methadone for treating opioid dependence?

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Meg Fluharty summarises a recent Cochrane review, which tells us that high-dose buprenorphine is an effective maintenance treatment for heroin compared to placebo, but fixed flexible-dosing methadone is superior to buprenorphine at participant retention.

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Should we be prescribing medication to help people with alcohol use disorders?

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Alcohol Use Disorders (AUDs) are common, chronic conditions which cause substantial harm to the individual and society. They are associated with substantial morbidity (Schuckit, 2009) and responsible for approximately 4% of all deaths annually. The approximate cost of AUDs to the National Health Service is upwards of £3 billion per year. Less than one-third of [read the full story...]

NICE evidence update: Interventions to reduce substance misuse among vulnerable young people

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have recently searched for any new evidence that may be relevant to a public health guideline published in 2007; ‘Interventions to reduce substance misuse among vulnerable young people’. In this blog I summarise the new evidence that has emerged and highlight whether or not it is likely [read the full story...]

Cannabis, cigarette smoking and psychosis: do we need a rethink?

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The relationship between cannabis and psychosis has been one of the hottest topics in psychiatry over the last decade, and with good reason. Policy-makers still disagree on whether cannabis should be legalised or how it should be classified, with Uruguay being the most recent country to legalise it. Drawing broadly from work initiated by Robin [read the full story...]

Targeted mindfulness-based relapse prevention may support long-term outcomes for substance use disorders

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Approximately 10.6% of individuals with Substance Use Disorders (SUD) in the US seek treatment, with 40-60% relapsing within a year (Dept of Health and Human Services, 2008; McLellan et al, 2000). This highlights a real need for substance abuse treatment that focuses on relapse prevention. This blog summarises a recent RCT from JAMA Psychiatry on [read the full story...]

New evidence update from NICE on the prevention of problem drinking

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The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recently published an evidence update focussed on preventing harmful drinking. This update builds upon previous recommendations (NICE PH24, 2010) and is aimed at increasing awareness of the latest evidence available. Furthermore, the update indicates whether any new research may have potential impact on future NICE [read the full story...]

Children of older fathers have an increased risk of psychiatric and academic problems, says new cohort study

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Research suggests that the risk of developing psychiatric problems (such as autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disability or schizophrenia) may be linked to increased paternal age at the time of conception. This seems quite plausible given that advancing age in men is associated with increased genetic mutations in sperm. However, studies so far have generally not [read the full story...]

CBT and motivational interviewing are effective treatments for comorbid alcohol use disorders and depression, says new meta-analysis

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Alcohol use disorder is frequently comorbid with major depressive disorder, and the disease burden associated with this dual diagnosis is considerably greater than that attributed to each disorder in isolation. This creates a problem for clinicians who are trying to treat depressed problem drinkers, because many services are set up to deal with only one [read the full story...]