Here is a round up of some recent articles related to substance abuse:
1) Here is an article that reports deficits in executive cognitive functioning in children (which involves skills such as planning, waiting one's turn to speak, basically controlling one's other cognitions) may signal a higher risk for future substance abuse.
2) This article discusses the specific patterns of alcohol consumption, and which ones lead to lesser or greater mortality. The data backs up the old premise that it is far better to have one drink every day for seven days, rather than only drink one day per week, but have seven drinks on that day. Again, moderation is emphasized...
3) This brief blurb notes that alcohol consumption is now the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the United States, at approximately 75,000 deaths per year.
4) This article notes the possible improved understanding of the relationship between stress and alcoholism, and the implications for treatment. Money quote: ""The driving force behind dependent individuals' alcohol use transitions from what we call reward craving to relief craving," explains Dr. Heilig. "By the time people seek treatment for alcoholism, the pleasurable or rewarding effects of the drug are gone for most patients. Instead, alcohol-dependent individuals often feel low, anxious and are sensitive to stress, and they use alcohol to relieve these bad feelings." The article describes how the neurokinin 1 receptor, or NK1R, appears to be a central actor in stress-related drinking, and how that connection makes empirical sense given the role stress plays in relapse for alcoholics.
5) While the reviewers in this article acknowledge there may be flaws (especially since the study included only 13 participants), they nonetheless state that some interesting questions were raised, which would benefit from future research. Specifically, the researchers found one glass of red wine had positive effects on the body, but that a second glass counteracted all of the benefits, and possibly worsened the cardiovascular system. Moderation!!!