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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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...]

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...]

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...]

Psychiatric illnesses and some chronic physical illnesses are associated with an increased risk of self-harm and suicide

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Last month, the Department of Health published the ‘Closing the Gap’ report, which highlighted the importance of better integration of physical and mental health care at every level. The report specifically flagged up the need for frontline services to respond better to people who self-harm, and cited statistics that emphasise the cyclical nature of the [read the full story...]

Is gabapentin a promising drug for the treatment of alcohol dependence?

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Alcohol misuse is responsible for about 4% of all deaths annually, and in the UK it costs the NHS more than £3 billion per year.  A number of medications are currently licensed for the treatment of alcohol dependence. Unfortunately the medications don’t work for everyone and in the USA at least, fewer than 10% of [read the full story...]

Mixed effectiveness of population-level interventions to reduce alcohol consumption and harm

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Alcohol is responsible for approximately 2.5 million deaths worldwide every year, making it the third largest cause of preventable death after tobacco and obesity. The economic burden to the UK has been estimated in the region of £20 billion per year, comprising the NHS bill, costs to employers and policing costs amongst other things. Reducing harmful [read the full story...]

Concurrent treatments may be effective in treating comorbid alcohol dependence and PTSD

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In those with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), alcohol abuse or dependence is the most common co-morbid disorder. Unfortunately, although individuals with PTSD and alcohol dependence (AD) often have complex needs, the treatments available usually only target one issue. This is often due to specialist treatment services not having access to treatments for comorbid disorders, and [read the full story...]

Treatment of excessive alcohol use in people with psychotic disorders: Non-intervention specific improvements

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The literature on the efficacy of psychological treatments for excessive drinking is vast, but investigations into effectiveness of these treatments in individuals with other clinical diagnoses are considerably more limited. A recent paper published in Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica reviewed the effectiveness of manual guided treatments for excessive alcohol consumption in individuals with a psychotic disorder. [read the full story...]