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...]

A fine VINTAGE? The benefits and consequences of alcohol consumption in older adults

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We know a lot about the health consequences of drinking too much alcohol, but most of this research comes from studies of adults in their twenties, thirties and forties. But what about older adults? The European project VINTAGE reviewed and synthesised the available evidence relating to alcohol consumption in older people across many European countries. [read the full story...]

Cost-effectiveness of internet-based interventions for harmful drinking

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) considers harmful drinking as the third largest contributor to the Global Burden of Disease, an index of disability, poor health and mortality. The majority of people who suffer from alcohol use disorders do not receive any treatment, due in part to lack of access. One way of increasing the availability [read the full story...]

Tailored primary care intervention for heavy drinking may be counterproductive

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Approximately 15% of adults in Europe drink alcohol to excess, at levels that are likely to affect their health. Most of these people are not alcohol dependent and do not require intensive treatment such as detox and aftercare, but many of them would benefit from a ‘nudge’ to reduce their drinking to safer levels.  Screening [read the full story...]

NICE publish new evidence summary on harmful drinking and alcohol dependence

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NICE have published a new evidence summary (PDF) on the problems associated with alcohol misuse, which augments the clinical guideline (PDF) that came out 2 years ago. This is a fast moving area, so quite a significant amount of research has been produced in the last 2 years, which may have an impact on clinical [read the full story...]