Alcohol abuse and alcoholism, known collectively as alcohol use disorders or AUD, are potential consequences of excessive consumption of beer, wine, malt liquor, distilled liquor or a variety of other alcoholic beverages. For a variety of reasons, the vast majority of the scientific studies used to establish the definitions for alcohol use disorders were performed on adult population groups. According to a study review published in 2010 in Pediatrics, the adult standards for both alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence differ significantly from appropriate standards for teenagers.
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Over 17 years ago, Vicki Piper made a decision that changed the rest of her life: She went to rehab. She met with a therapist; she worked the 12 Steps. Today, her recovery remains one of her top priorities as well as one of her most treasured accomplishments.
Finding the Answers Within
Synthetic and designer drugs have been in the news because of the harm they have caused and the frenetic law-making that has tried to keep up with the manufacturers of these drugs. Synthetic drugs, also sometimes labeled “designer,” are simply substances that produce a high and that are not naturally occurring. In some cases, they mimic a natural drug, such as marijuana.
One of the most damaging, and most prevalent, of the designer drugs has been synthetic marijuana. For a while, these products were sold legally under the brand names Spice and K2. They were being sold mostly in gas station shops, where they were packaged to appeal to young people, even going so far as to use cartoon characters. These drugs were being labeled as harmless products like potpourri and incense. Those using them, however, knew better. K2 and Spice were designed to be smoked and to impart a high to the user.
The state of Texas has the dubious distinction of being the worst in the union in terms of fatalities and accidents due to impaired driving. Within Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth had the highest number of fatalities and accidents. Groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and individual lawmakers are trying to make changes to get Texas down from the top position on the list.
Texas Drunk Driving Statistics
According to the Century Council, a non-profit dedicated to fighting drunk driving and underage drinking, 1,213 people in Texas died in drunk driving accidents in 2011. Of those, 175 involved someone under the age of 21 driving while under the influence. Nearly three-quarters of the impaired drivers in these accidents had a high blood alcohol concentration (BAC), registering at 0.15 or higher. The vast majority (84 percent) of these were repeat offenders.
Mindfulness-based cognitive behavioral therapy (MCBT) is a form of psychotherapy that combines standard cognitive behavioral therapy with a meditative technique called mindfulness, which has its roots in various Asian cultures. Several past studies have confirmed the usefulness of this psychotherapy in the treatment of major depression in various adult populations. According to the results of a new study conducted by researchers from Belgium’s Catholic University of Leuven, MCBT-based instruction can also help ease symptoms of depression in teenagers and help prevent the development of depressive disorders.
Stress and substance abuse are bosom buddies. From anecdotal evidence of over-worked recovering addicts spiraling back into addiction to neurological research, the relationship between stress and drug abuse has long been established. Historically, these findings have led to stress management courses and other interventions aimed at helping addicts more successfully manage their stress, but as more research emerges, medical treatments to prevent stress-induced relapse are looking more likely. Researchers from Brown University recently identified the process by which stress causes relapse, which has opened the door to a new potential treatment option.
As part of an effort to curb unhealthy drinking patterns and the risks of abuse and addiction, public health officials in the U.S. issue guidelines for reasonably safe alcohol consumption. Teenagers (who have no legal right to drink) and young adults ignore or abandon these guidelines fairly frequently, and thereby set themselves up for a variety of serious negative health outcomes.
Current research indicates that part of the problem with alcohol consumption in this age group revolves around an inability to properly estimate what constitutes a “drink” according to generally accepted standards. This inability also reduces the usefulness of certain studies on alcohol use, which rely on accurate reporting of alcohol consumption among study participants.
Enzymes are specialized proteins that power a vast array of chemical reactions that keep us alive and functioning properly. One of the chief responsibilities of these proteins is the molecular breakdown of various substances such as drugs and medications; without the actions of enzymes, these substances would stay in the body indefinitely. In recent years, researchers have begun developing enzyme-based therapies designed to address issues surrounding the use of cocaine, including a therapy that could potentially prevent cocaine addiction and another that could potentially reverse the effects of a cocaine overdose.
Drug use is estimated to cost $6,120 per second in the U.S. In the time it took you to read that sentence, more than $12,000 vanished in lost productivity, criminal justice costs and drug-related crimes. Since 2007, the National Drug Intelligence Center estimates that drug use has cost the country $193 billion. In the current economic climate, it seems as though any measure to remove these mounting losses should be carefully considered and implemented as soon as possible. Although the solution is as simple as replacing ineffective prison sentences with rehabilitation, these losses continue to mount with startling regularity.