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  • The Personality Traits of Alcoholics

     

    Psychopathological symptoms and personality traits in alcohol-dependent patients: a comparative study.

    Pensive The aim of this paper was to describe the psychopathological and personality profile associated with alcohol dependence and to compare it with those of non-addictive disorders and the normal population.

    The sample consisted of

    • 158 alcohol-dependent participants attending a psychiatric outpatient clinic,
    • 120 psychiatric patients with non-addictive disorders and
    • 103 participants from the general population chosen to match the patient samples for age, gender and socioeconomic level.

    All participants were assessed with different instruments related to

    personality

    • Impulsiveness Scale,
    • Sensation-Seeking Scale and
    • STAI,

    psychopathology

    • SCL-90-R,
    • BDI and
    • Maladjustment Scale and

    personality disorders

    • MCMI-II.

    Patients from the clinical groups presented more symptoms of anxiety and depression than the healthy participants and had more problems adjusting to everyday life, but there were no differences between the two clinical groups.

    Alcohol-dependent patients were more impulsive and sensation-seeking than the other two groups.

    Histrionic, narcissistic and antisocial personality disorders were specific to the alcohol-dependent patients.

    The implications of this study for further research are discussed.

    Research report; Psychopathological symptoms and personality traits in alcohol-dependent patients: a comparative study. Adicciones. 2007;19(4):373-81. Bravo de Medina R, Echeburua E, Aizpiri J.

    See also;

                        Our Devilish Alcoholic Personalities.
    by Eddie Webster (The Author of the Little Red Book).

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    Posted in Alcoholism, Assessment, Research, Symptoms of addiction and tagged , , , , , , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    AA and recovery from alcoholism

    Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) The recovery from alcoholism: Twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

    AA is a self-help, volunteer organization begun in the mid-1930s that views alcoholism as a disease, not a defect of will.

    Its founders, themselves alcoholics, maintained that persons with the disease should completely stop drinking, but they did not concern those who could handle alcohol. This position contrasted with the premises of most temperance advocates, who saw drinking as a moral choice and opposed any alcohol use by anyone.

    The Twelve Steps embody the wisdom of the founders of AA about pursuing ongoing recovery from alcoholism.

    The procedure they describe has evolved into one of the most successful programs for helping alcoholics.

    Many drug treatment programs also have based themselves on this twelve-step model.

    The abbreviated Twelve Steps are:

    1. admission of powerlessness;
    2. belief in a Higher Power;
    3. submission of one’s will to that Power;
    4. self-examination;
    5. admission of wrongs within self;
    6. readiness to have a Higher Power remove these faults;
    7. humble prayer for removal of these short-comings;
    8. list persons whom one has offended;
    9. make restitution to those whom one has offended;
    10. continue to take personal inventory;
    11. seek through prayer and meditation to improve conscious contact with God; and
    12. having realized a spiritual awakening, try to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all affairs.

    Research; Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) The recovery from alcoholism: Twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. In: D.F. Musto, Drugs in America: A Documentary History, New York, NY: New York University Press, 2002. 574 p. (pp. 158-159)

    Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism

    Posted in 12-Step Groups, Alcohol, Alcoholics Anon, Alcoholism, Higher Power, Research, Self-help. Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    Prayer Cuts Alcohol Consumption?

    Rock with the word blessings on sandy beach uid 1180654Does Prayer Decrease Alcohol Consumption?

    Four methodologically diverse studies (N = 1,758) show that prayer frequency and alcohol consumption are negatively related.

    In Study 1 (n = 824), we used a cross-sectional design and found that higher prayer frequency was related to lower alcohol consumption and problematic drinking behavior.

    Study 2 (n = 702) used a longitudinal design and found that more frequent prayer at Time 1 predicted less alcohol consumption and problematic drinking behavior at Time 2, and this relationship held when controlling for baseline levels of drinking and prayer.

    In Study 3 (n = 117), we used an experimental design to test for a causal relationship between prayer frequency and alcohol consumption. Participants assigned to pray every day (either an undirected prayer or a prayer for a relationship partner) for 4 weeks drank about half as much alcohol at the conclusion of the study as control participants.

    Study 4 (n = 115) replicated the findings of Study 3, as prayer again reduced drinking by about half.

    Research; Nathaniel M. Lambert, Frank D. Fincham, Loren D. Marks and Tyler F. Stillman; Psychology of Addictive Behaviors; Volume 24, Issue 2, June 2010, Pages 209-219; Invocations and Intoxication: Does Prayer Decrease Alcohol Consumption?

    Prayer Steps to Serenity The Twelve Steps Journey: New Serenity Prayer Edition by L. G. Parkhurst Jr.

    Posted in Adjunctive therapy, Alcohol, Contrast to other models, Higher Power, Research, Spirituality and tagged , , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    Alcoholism Drug Helps Gamblers

    Gambling urge medication Drug commonly used for alcoholism craving curbs urges of pathological gamblers

    A drug commonly used to treat alcohol addiction has a similar effect on pathological gamblers – it curbs the urge to gamble and participate in gambling-related behavior, according to a new research at the University of Minnesota.

    Seventy-seven people participated in the double-blind, placebo controlled study. Fifty-eight men and women took 50, 100, or 150 milligrams of naltrexone every day for 18 weeks.

    • Forty percent of the 49 participants who took the drug and completed the study, quit gambling for at least one month.
    • Their urge to gamble also significantly dropped in intensity and frequency.

    The other 19 participants took a placebo. But, only 10.5 percent of those who took the placebo were able to abstain from gambling.

    Study participants were aged 18 to 75 and reported gambling for 6 to 32 hours each week.

    Dosage did not have an impact on the results, naltrexone was generally well tolerated, and men and women reported similar results.

    “This is good news for people who have a gambling problem,” said Jon Grant, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., a University of Minnesota associate professor of psychiatry and principal investigator of the study. “This is the first time people have a proven medication that can help them get their behavior under control.”

    The research is published in the June 2008 issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.

    Compulsive gamblers are unable to control their behavior, and the habit often becomes a detriment in their lives, Grant said. He estimates between 1 to 3 percent of the population has a gambling problem.

    While the drug is not a cure for gambling, Grant said it offers hope to many who are suffering from addiction. He also said the drug would most likely work best in combination with individual therapy.

    “Medication can be helpful, but people with gambling addiction often have multiple other issues that should be addressed through therapy,” he said.

    See also;

              Counselling for Problem Gambling (Living Therapy)
    by Richard Bryant-Jeffries

    Read more about this title…

    Posted in Addiction, Alcohol, Alcoholism, Disease of addiction, Gamblers Anon, Loss of control, Research, Stages of Change, Symptoms of addiction and tagged , , , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    Binge Drinking & Brain Damage

    InsideInjury Risk Highest Among Binge Drinkers

    Binge drinkers have a higher risk of alcohol-related injury than chronic, heavy drinkers, the Health Behavior News Service reported Feb. 22.

    Binge-drinking women who otherwise drink in moderation had seven times the risk of injury as nondrinkers, while binge-drinking men increased their injury risk sixfold.

    “It’s not only the amount of alcohol consumed that shapes the risk for injury, but also the usual consumption pattern,” said study author Gerhard Gmel of the Swiss Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and Drug Problems. “At highest risk are those who usually consume moderately but sometimes binge drink. This is true for both sexes.”

    The study was based on records from 8,736 people admitted to hospital emergency departments; researchers examined the relationship of injuries to average weekly alcohol consumption, binge-drinking episodes, and the amount of alcohol consumed prior to admission.

    Gmel warned against prevention that focuses only on chronic drinkers, saying that many binge drinkers will be missed.

    The research appears in the March 2006 issue of the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. From; Join Together Online

    Posted in Alcohol, Alcoholism, Assessment, Loss of control, Research and tagged , , , , , , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    Role of AA Sponsors

    El escudo de ChiapasThe Role of AA Sponsors: A Pilot Study

    Aims: The aim of this study was to explore the roles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) sponsors and to describe the characteristics of a sample of sponsors.

    Methods: Twenty-eight AA sponsors, recruited using a purposive sampling method, were administered an unstructured qualitative interview and standardized questionnaires. The measurements included: a content analysis of sponsors’ responses; Severity of Alcohol Dependence Questionnaire—Community version (SADQ-C) and Alcoholics Anonymous Affiliation Scale (AAAS).

    Results: Sample characteristics were as follows:

    • the median length of AA attendance was 9.5 years (range 5–28);
    • the median length of sobriety was 11 years (range 4.5–28);
    • the median number of sponsees per sponsor was 1 but there was a wide range (0–17, interquartile range 3.75); and
    • the sponsors were highly affiliated to AA (median AAAS score 8.75, range 5.5–8.75, maximum possible score 9).

    Past alcohol dependence scores were surprisingly low:

    • 5 (18%) sponsors had mild,
    • 14 (50%) moderate and
    • 9 (32%) severe dependence according to the SADQ-C (median 26.5, range 11–56).

    Sponsorship roles were as follows:

    16 roles were identified through the initial content analysis. These were distilled into three super-ordinate roles through a thematic analysis:

    • encouraging sponsees to work the programme of AA (doing the 12 steps and engaging in AA activity);
    • support (regular contact, emotional support and practical support); and
    • carrying the message of AA (sharing sponsor’s personal experience of recovery with sponsees).

    Conclusions: The roles identified broadly corresponded with the AA literature delineating the duties of a sponsor. This non-random sample of sponsors was highly engaged in AA activity but only had a past history of moderate alcohol dependence.

    Research report; Paul J. P. Whelan, E. Jane Marshall, David M. Ball and Keith Humphreys. The Role of AA Sponsors: A Pilot Study. Alcohol and Alcoholism March 18, 2009

    See also;

    Posted in Adjunctive therapy, Alcohol, Alcoholics Anon, Alcoholism, Recovery, Relapse prevention, Research, Self-help, Spirituality and tagged , , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    10 Things Known About Addiction

    PET brain scans show chemical differences in t...

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    The 10 Most Important Things Known About Addiction

    If you were asked: ‘What are the most important things we know about addiction?’ what would you say? This paper brings together a body of knowledge across multiple domains and arranged as a list of 10 things known about addiction, as a response to such a question.

    The 10 things are:

    (1) addiction is fundamentally about compulsive behaviour;

    (2) compulsive drug seeking is initiated outside of consciousness;

    (3) addiction is about 50% heritable and complexity abounds;

    (4) most people with addictions who present for help have other psychiatric problems as well;

    (5) addiction is a chronic relapsing disorder in the majority of people who present for help;

    (6) different psychotherapies appear to produce similar treatment outcomes;

    (7) ‘come back when you’re motivated’ is no longer an acceptable therapeutic response;

    (8) the more individualized and broad-based the treatment a person with addiction receives, the better the outcome;

    (9) epiphanies are hard to manufacture; and

    (10) change takes time.

    The paper concludes with a call for unity between warring factions in the field to use the knowledge already known more effectively for the betterment of patients suffering from addictive disorders.

    (Reprinted with permission from Addiction 2009; 105:6–13) Focus 9:99-106, Winter 2011

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    Posted in Addiction, Assessment, Brain, Disease of addiction, Recovery and tagged , , , . Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    Characteristics of Students with FAS

    Characteristics of Students with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and Fetal Alcohol Effect

    Students with FAS/E are as different from each other as any group of children. They come from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Each child presents a complex individual portrait of competencies and delays. Students with FAS/E must be recognized as individuals rather than as members of a homogeneous group.

    FAS/E can affect individuals in varying degrees, from mild to severe in the following areas:

    Cognitive Functioning.

    The intellectual abilities of students with FAS/E can vary greatly. Many students with FAS/E have graduated from high school with minimal extra support and adaptations. To date, a wide range of IQ has been documented: 29 to 120 for FAS and 42 to 142 for FAE.

    Other conditions commonly observed in children with FAS/E include:

    • Learning Disabilities (LD),
    • Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (AD/HD),
    • difficulty with sequencing,
    • difficulty with memory,
    • difficulty understanding cause/effect relationships, and/or
    • weak generalizing skills.

    Social/Emotional Functioning

    Students with FAS/E may display a variety of atypical responses to unfamiliar or frustrating situations. Increased anxiety may result in withdrawal, outbursts or other acting out behaviours that may be harmful to the student or others in the group. A young child with FAS/E may have severe temper tantrums and find it hard to adjust to change. Many adolescents with FAS/E are prone to depression, poor judgment and impulsivity. They are often described as innocent, immature and easily vicitimized.

    Other responses commonly observed in children with FAS/E include:

    • stealing, lying and defiance,
    • difficulty predicting and/or understanding the consequences of behaviour,
    • easily manipulated and led by others,
    • difficulty making and keeping friends,
    • overly friendly and affectionate, easily approached by strangers, and/or
    • perseverative or “stubborn.”

    Physical Functioning

    Basic physiological responses may be abnormal in students with FAS/E. This may present in one or more of the following ways:

    • A high threshold for pain which can result in the student not being aware of a serious injury or infection.
    • No perception of hunger or satiation.
    • Difficulty perceiving extreme temperatures.
    • Difficulty with visual/spatial perception and balance.

    Some children with FAS/E excel in individual sports that require gross motor coordination such as swimming, skiing and roller-blading. Others have significant delays in gross and fine motor skill development which can affect all areas of functioning. In mild cases, delays in motor abilities can influence the acquisition of skills such as tying shoelaces and printing neatly. In more severe cases, children with FAS/E may have had problems learning to chew and swallow food.

    Students with FAS/E have a higher than average incidence of a number of other medical concerns. These include:

    • difficulties with vision,
    • difficulties with hearing,
    • heart problems,
    • growth deficiency,
    • neurological conditions such as seizure disorders, and/or
    • impaired bone and/or joint development.

    Teachers should be alert to the fact that a number of these health concerns can directly impact the student’s ability to achieve success in the classroom. In some cases, a student’s medical report will include recommendations for the school that may assist in program planning.

    The student with FAS/E can bring gifts to your classroom, including a sense of humor, creativity, caring, a love of animals, determination, musical and artistic talent and a desire to please.

    Through formal and informal assessments, you will be able to develop a plan that draws on your student’s strengths to support his or her educational needs. It is important to think about where the child has started from, where he or she is today, and the long term goals for tomorrow.

    An essential ingredient throughout the process is developing and supporting the student’s self-esteem. Nothing lights up a child’s face more than achieving something through a learning experience. It is important to set up a classroom where this can take place as often as possible.

    Reaching Out to Children With Fas/Fae: A Handbook for Teachers, Counselors, and Parents Who Live and Work With Children Affected by Fetal Alcohol Sy

    Posted in Alcohol, Assessment. Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    Painkiller abuse

    Painkiller abuse continues to grow; new treatments offer hope

    Increasingly, drug abusers are getting their next fix from their medicine cabinets, instead of from drug dealers.

    More than 6 million Americans abuse prescription drugs, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. One in 10 teenagers admits to abusing painkillers, such as Vicodin and Oxycontin. Painkillers cause more overdoses than cocaine and heroin combined.

    “Access to prescription painkillers has never been easier,” says addictions psychiatrist Donna Yi, MD, associate chief of staff and clinical director for The Menninger Clinic and assistant professor in the Menninger Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences at Baylor College of Medicine. “Many people start taking prescription painkillers for a legitimate reason, for pain after surgery or childbirth, or to deal with chronic pain. As the sense of euphoria and relaxation provided by the drugs gets reinforced, they become increasingly reliant on the drugs even when they no longer need them for pain.”

    Once hooked, patients may doctor shop to get multiple prescriptions to painkillers, forge prescriptions, order painkillers from web sites that don’t require prescriptions or take a road trip to Mexico to supply their habits. Teenagers can get prescription painkillers from their parents’ medicine cabinets and their friends-even dealers. Because prescription painkillers are so readily available, they don’t have the stigma of illegal drugs, like heroin.

    Yi adds that it may seem much easier and acceptable to swallow a pill than to find a vein, inject yourself with a drug and risk getting AIDS or overdosing. The word “heroin” instantly evokes a negative image-usually that of someone homeless and on the street.

    However, like heroin, prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin and Vicodin stimulate opiate receptors in the brain, relieving pain and providing a sense of euphoria, and are highly addictive and difficult to quit without medical intervention.

    Because opiates are so rewarding and reinforcing, once a person stops using them, the body goes into shock and withdrawal. Symptoms of withdrawal are similar to a severe case of the flu and may include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, cold flashes with goose bumps and involuntary leg movements. To avoid pain, many people abusing painkillers keep using.

    New medications help painkiller abusers avoid the painful symptoms of withdrawal and cut the time of withdrawal. The drug buprenorphine was approved by the FDA in 2002 to help ease the symptoms of detoxification and radically decreases the time of detox from an average of two weeks to one or two days. Buprenorphine is a safer alternative to methadone and is available in a convenient pill form. The medication speeds a patient’s entry into treatment, cutting down the time he or she is in bed and feeling uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings.

    Patients may have accompanying mental illness and issues driving their addiction, such as anxiety, depression, life stresses, relationship problems, personality disorders or poor coping skills. A successful treatment program for addiction includes a thorough patient assessment and offers group and individual therapy, psychoeducation and access to self-help groups. Patients’ families are also involved in the treatment process.

    Relapse rates for patients who abuse painkillers are high, so creating a relapse prevention plan is crucial. Patients at Menninger leave with a wellness plan that might include appointments with therapists, support group meetings and exercise to improve their mood and health. Patients also learn the signs and symptoms that constitute a lapse, so they can stop a full-blown relapse.

    Some patients may also need medications on a continual basis, such as prenorphine or naltrexone, to help them avoid relapse. Both buprenorphine and naltrexone block the effects of opiates on the body. Patients who take buprenorphine, however, will feel mild withdrawal symptoms if they stop taking the drug-reminding them to consistently take their medicine. Doctors often prescribe a version of buprenorphine, combined with another opiate-blocker, naloxone, to guard against the intravenous use of buprenorphine. If the drug combination is injected, the naloxone can cause that person to quickly go into withdrawal.

    “As the supply and variety of painkillers increase, more people will try them for non-medical reasons, and some will become addicted,” Yi says. “Increased awareness, new medications used to treat painkiller abuse and novel therapies offer hope for people struggling with painkiller abuse.”

    From a press release of the Menninger Clinic

    Posted in Addiction, Adjunctive therapy, Disease of addiction, Drugs, Relapse prevention, Research, Stages of Change. Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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    New Zealand’s spiritual aspects in 12-Step treatment

    The Spiritual Characteristics of New Zealanders Entering Treatment for Alcohol/Other Drug Dependence

    This study describes the spiritual experiences, beliefs, and practices of New Zealanders entering intensive treatment for alcohol/ other drug dependence, and seeks to determine factors that influence spirituality in a clinical population. Ninety clients entering three residential treatment programs for alcohol and/or cannabis dependence were interviewed about their spiritual beliefs, behaviors, and experiences, using a broad selection of accepted measures.

    A number of associations between aspects of spirituality and gender, ethnicity, age, employment, severity of dependence, and depression were found.

    In particular, the more religiously active participants were less severely alcohol/other drug dependent, and depression was negatively associated with beliefs and activity related to 12-step participation.

    Research; Michael P. Baker, J. Douglas Sellman, & Jacqueline Horn. The Spiritual Characteristics of New Zealanders Entering Treatment for Alcohol/Other Drug Dependence. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, Volume: 24 Issue: 4, 2006 Pages: 137 – 155

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    Posted in 12-Step Groups, Alcohol, Research, Spirituality. Use this permalink for a bookmark.

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