drug abuse

Could MDMA help treat mental health conditions?

Ecstasy — or methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) — is a recreational drug that is illegal in the United States. However, some researchers believe that it could aid in mental health therapy. A new study in mice puts this idea to the test. MDMA is a mind-altering drug that can be popular at parties, as it boosts energy and especially empathy, making people feel more connected and safe around others, even if they are strangers. In the U.S.,…

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In The Fight For Money For The Opioid Crisis, Will The Youngest Victims Be Left Out?

Babies born to mothers who used opioids during pregnancy represent one of the most distressing legacies of an opioid epidemic that has claimed almost 400,000 lives and ravaged communities. In fact, many of the ongoing lawsuits filed against drug companies refer to these babies, fighting through withdrawal in hospital nurseries. The cluster of symptoms they experience, which include tremors, seizures and respiratory distress, is known as neonatal abstinence syndrome, or NAS. Until recently, doctors rarely looked for…

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Drug and alcohol addiction treatment results improved when teens stopped smoking, researcher finds

A Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine researcher has found that addiction treatment results improved when teens in a residential program stopped smoking. The findings are published in a new study in the November issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. They hold important implications for success in treating addiction since up to three out of four people with such disorders are smokers, a significantly higher proportion than the overall national smoking rate of…

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Mental illness genetically linked to drug use and misuse

There are many reports of drug use leading to mental health problems, and we all know of someone having a few too many drinks to cope with a bad day. Many people who are diagnosed with a mental health disorder indulge in drugs, and vice versa. As severity of both increase, problems arise and they become more difficult to treat. But why substance involvement and psychiatric disorders often co-occur is not well understood. In addition…

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College students who misuse stimulants more likely to have ADHD, substance-use disorder

A new study by Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) investigators finds that college students who misuse stimulant drugs are more likely to have attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), conduct disorder or substance-use disorder than are students not misusing stimulants. The report published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry also finds immediate-release stimulants are more likely to be misused than extended-release versions of the drugs. “Our data suggest that college students who misuse prescription stimulant medications are more likely to…

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Long-term opioid use associated with increased risk of depression

Opioids may cause short-term improvement in mood, but long-term use imposes risk of new-onset depression, a Saint Louis University study shows. The study, “Prescription Opioid Duration, Dose, and Increased Risk of Depression in 3 Large Patient Populations,” was published online Jan. 11 in the Annals of Family Medicine. Jeffrey Scherrer, Ph.D., associate professor for family and community medicine at Saint Louis University, and his co-authors speculate that findings may be explained by long-term opioid use of…

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Long-term study links common psychiatric disorders with increased risk of violent reoffending in ex-prisoners

Ex-prisoners with common psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder) and alcohol and drug abuse are substantially more likely to commit a violent crime after release than other prisoners, according to new research published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. The study of almost 48000 ex-prisoners suggests that diagnosed psychiatric disorders are potentially responsible for up to a fifth of violent reoffending by former male prisoners and two-fifths by female ex-prisoners. “One in seven prisoners have a…

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Cocaine changes brain, makes relapse more common in addicts

Cocaine use causes ‘profound changes’ in the brain that lead to an increased risk of relapse due to stress — according to new research from the University of East Anglia. New research published in The Journal of Neuroscience identifies a molecular mechanism in the reward centre of the brain that influences how recovering cocaine addicts might relapse after stressful events. Importantly, the study identifies a potential mechanism for protecting against such relapses with treatment. The research team…

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Less than half of UK prescriptions for antipsychotics issued for main licensed conditions

Less than half of UK prescriptions for antipsychotic drugs are being issued to treat the serious mental illnesses for which they are mainly licensed, reveals research published in the online journal BMJ Open. Instead, they may often be prescribed ‘off label’ to older people with other conditions, such as anxiety and dementia, despite the greater risk of potentially serious side effects in this age group, the findings indicate. The researchers analysed family doctors’ prescribing patterns for…

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Is there a better way to treat substance use in adolescents with co-occurring mental health disorders?

The majority (55-74%) of adolescents entering substance use treatment also have psychiatric disorders, such as depression, ADHD and trauma-related problems. Unfortunately, these youth face poorer treatment outcomes (e.g., relapse), and their mental health issues are often not directly addressed. Furthermore, few studies exist to guide those clinicians who would like to use integrated care to treat adolescent with co-occurring disorders. A review published in the new Substance Abuse Special Issue: Evaluating and Addressing Adolescent Alcohol and…

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