Sunday, March 30, 2008

Advice Pregnant Women Should Get About Alcohol Consumption

he National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and the National Collaborating Centre for Women's and Children's Health have today (26 March 2008) issued newly updated advice on the care that should be offered to women during their pregnancy. This advice is an update of the original document published in 2003, revising areas where new information has become available. It recommends that midwives and doctors provide women with evidence-based information about a range of key issues such as the risks and benefits of screening tests and lifestyle advice so they can make decisions that are right for them and their baby.

The guideline includes recommendations for doctors and midwives on the advice they should give to pregnant women about drinking alcohol. These recommendations are consistent with the advice issued in 2007 by the UK Chief Medical Officers. The NICE recommendations are that:

-- Pregnant women and women planning to become pregnant should be advised to avoid drinking alcohol in the first 3 months of pregnancy, because there may be an increased risk of miscarriage.

-- Women should be advised that if they choose to drink alcohol while they are pregnant they should drink no more than 1-2 UK units once or twice a week There is uncertainty about how much alcohol is safe to drink in pregnancy, but at this low level there is no evidence of any harm to their unborn baby.

-- Women should be advised not get to drunk or binge drink (drinking more than 7.5 UK units of alcohol on a single occasion) while they are pregnant because this can harm their unborn baby.

Further recommendations from the guideline include:The Sober Village can help with alcohol problems.

-- All women should be informed at the booking appointment about the importance for their own and their baby's health of maintaining adequate vitamin D stores during pregnancy and whilst breast feeding. Women may choose to take 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day.

-- Screening for sickle cell diseases and thalassaemias should be offered to all women as early as possible in pregnancy (ideally by 10 weeks).

-- The 'combined test' should be offered to screen for Down's syndrome between 11 weeks 0 days and 13 weeks 6 days.

-- Screening for gestational diabetes using risk factors is recommended in all women. At the booking appointment, the following risk factors for gestational diabetes should be determined: a) body mass index above 30 kg/m2 b) previous macrosomic baby weighing 4.5 kg or above c) previous gestational diabetes d) family history of diabetes e) family origin with a high prevalence of diabetes such as south asian, black caribbean and middle eastern.

Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer says: "I welcome this updated NICE guidance as it further strengthens the advice from the UK CMO's that pregnant women or women trying to conceive should avoid drinking alcohol. NICE's guidance highlights this is most important at the beginning of pregnancy, when there may be an increased risk of miscarriage, and again reinforces that if they do choose to drink, to protect the baby, they should not drink more than 1 to 2 units of alcohol once or twice a week and should not get drunk. Pregnant women or women trying to conceive should seek further advice from their Midwives or GP."

Dr Gillian Leng, Deputy Chief Executive, and Executive Lead for this guidance says: "We recommend that doctors and midwives should advise women to avoid drinking alcohol when trying to get pregnant and during the first three months of pregnancy because there may be an increased risk of miscarriage. If they do choose to drink alcohol while pregnant, women should also be advised to drink no more than 1 to 2 UK units once or twice a week, and to avoid binge drinking during their pregnancy because this can harm their unborn baby.

"Due to changes in the evidence base and new availability of screening programmes, we have initiated this update earlier than planned. Having a baby is one of the most important times in a woman's life and healthcare professionals want to make sure this is a good and safe experience. This newly updated guideline will ensure that health professionals offer women the information and support they need to make decisions about their care that are right for them and their babies."

Dr Rhona Hughes, Lead Obstetrician and Guideline Development Group Chair says: "This guideline respects that it is a woman's right to make her own decisions about her pregnancy, based on the best available information. For example she may accept or decline tests that are offered and her healthcare team will respect the decision she makes. I recently met a family who had a baby with a learning disability - unsurprisingly they were worried that their second baby could have a similar problem but didn't know whether to accept all the screening tests they were being offered. Under the guideline, doctors would put this woman and her partner in touch with support groups and provide written information so that they can come to an informed decision about whether they want to go ahead and have screening tests."

Nina Khazeaezadeh, Consultant Midwife, Supervisor of Midwives and Guideline Development Group member: "As a midwife in one of the busiest maternity units in the country, I know that this guideline will really benefit the midwives and doctors looking after women during pregnancy, as well as the women themselves. Women are already receiving good antenatal care but this guideline will bring it up to a gold standard and ensure that all women are receiving the same high quality care. For example, it will ensure that healthcare professionals provide women with consistent information about how many antenatal appointments they will receive and what will be discussed at each of these, such as advice on breastfeeding and nutrition. By giving women good information at the right stages in their pregnancy they will be best placed to make decisions that are right for them and their baby."

Jennifer Elliott, Service User Representative and Guideline Development Group member says: "When I was pregnant with my first child I didn't really understand why tests such as those for Down's syndrome were being offered to me or even that they were being offered at all - as a result l did not feel in control of my pregnancy. This guideline firmly places women at the centre of decision making about their care - all women will be given information about why screening tests are carried out, what other decisions testing might lead to and be able to discuss their concerns and ask questions. By ensuring that women are informed about their pregnancy, they will feel less anxious and more likely to have a positive experience."

1. The guidance is available at
2. One small glass of wine = 1.5 units
3. Five small glasses of wine = 7.5 units

About NICE

1. The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is the independent organisation responsible for providing national guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention and treatment of ill health.

2. NICE produces guidance in three areas of health:

-- public health - guidance on the promotion of good health and the prevention of ill health for those working in the NHS, local authorities and the wider public and voluntary sector

-- health technologies - guidance on the use of new and existing medicines, treatments and procedures within the NHS

-- clinical practice - guidance on the appropriate treatment and care of people with specific diseases and conditions within the NHS

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Effects and Remedial Measures of Crack Cocaine and Gambling

Cocaine - what is it?
Cocaine is an illegal drug which is used in most inner cities. This drug is widely used. Crack cocaine and powder cocaine are the two products of cocaine. The powder cocaine is regarded as the drug of middle class families and is always associated with good money. The punishments for possessing crack cocaine is severe than that for possessing powder cocaine.

Crack cocaine - What is it?
The chemical cocaine is crack. When the cocaine is chemically processed to remove the hydrochloride it cracks or snaps due to heating and smoking so it is usually called
as crack cocaine and the name of the process is called as freebasing. Crack is usually sold in small cylindrical glass and in small quantities (300-500mg). Each of these vessels can be used for 2-4 inhalations which last for 10 to 20 minutes. Its wide availability, ease of concealment and low cost has increased its use. The powder cocaine is usually mixed with sodium bicarbonate or ammonia, which can be snorted or smoked.

What does it do?
Crack disturbs the central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system. It increases the neurotransmitter’s level which creates a heightened sense of pleasure, euphoria and increased energy.

The Human Brain and Addiction
The brain is one of the most vital organs of our body. It is the center of command. For a normal human the brain weighs about 1400gms. The brain has different centers which are designated for different purposes. Lobes which are present in the brain process the information that is sent by the sense organs for instance the occipital lobes receives information from our eyes. The thinking center is called the cerebral cortex which is at the top of the whole brain. Here all the information like language, math and strategies are processed. It is also responsible for survival, memory and things like appetite and thirst. The brain stem at the base controls the heartbeat rate, breathing, sleeping and it also does things which we can’t even think of.

How does our brain communicate?
The brain communicates through special cells called neurons. These brain cells send and receive messages. The messages are in the form of an electric impulse and it travels along the axon of the neuron. A chemical compound called neurotransmitter is released at the end of the axon and then it travels to the other neurons. Then the messages are processed and the chemical is released back, reabsorbed to the sending neurons. Our brain releases different kinds of neurotransmitter depending upon the kind of work we do.

How does drug influence our brain?
The drugs we use have similar shape and size as that of the natural neurotransmitters. These drugs inside our brain cause to start an unnatural chain reaction of electrical charges, which causes the neurons to release neurotransmitter of their own kind. Some drugs act like a pump which causes to release more neurotransmitter, which creates feelings of high pleasure.
What are the side effects and remedial measures?

The side effects of crack cocaine are deadly. Some of them are increased blood pressure, increased heart rates, increased anxiety and hyperactivity, nausea sensation and vomiting, decrease in appetite and easily vulnerable to heart attacks and strokes. When the person uses overdoses for a long period of time, the blood will have certain amount of poisonous toxics forever. Because of crack being rapidly absorbed by the blood, it induces the user to consume more. Moreover consuming this drug causes the user to be depressed and it also induces to consume more which may lead to mental instability. Crack cocaine is usually combined with a number of impurities which always makes the presence of side effects and toxicity. It’s very difficult to improve health without medical treatment. Many of the individuals who use crack cocaine experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop using it because of the addictive nature of the drug. Feelings like intense cravings, irritability, hunger and anxiety prevent the persons from stopping from using crack.

Gambling Addiction
Does genetic component have influence on gambling addiction?
There are no genetic, physical or psychological influences found for becoming an addict. It is proved from the research that no chromosomal defect has satisfactorily linked to gambling and does not run in families.

What is the treatment for gambling addiction?
There is no certain cure for gambling addiction. It may take years to get rid of gambling. The individual must attend counseling. Alcohol and smoking must be strictly prohibited. They should be treated with drug therapy. Moreover pure determination and strong desire of the individual himself to stop his activities can be the only cure.

A major lifestyle change is required to prevent the worst behavior to re occur.
What are the addiction treatments available for crack cocaine?
The crack cocaine is a powerful addictive drug and even with a short time usage the individuals become so addictive that they start to experience withdrawal symptoms like depression and irritability when they stop using it. The individuals are unable to improve their health without medical help. The person must undergo counseling for a long time to come out of addiction.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Surprising Truth About Addiction

The Surprising Truth About Addiction

Change is natural. You no doubt act very differently in many areas of your life now compared with how you did when you were a teenager. Likewise, over time you will probably overcome or ameliorate certain behaviors: a short temper, crippling insecurity.

For some reason, we exempt addiction from our beliefs about change. In both popular and scientific models, addiction is seen as locking you into an inescapable pattern of behavior. Both folk wisdom, as represented by Alcoholics Anonymous, and modern neuroscience regard addiction as a virtually permanent brain disease. No matter how many years ago your uncle Joe had his last drink, he is still considered an alcoholic. The very word addict confers an identity that admits no other possibilities. It incorporates the assumption that you can't, or won't, change.

But this fatalistic thinking about addiction doesn't jibe with the facts. More people overcome addictions than do not. And the vast majority do so without therapy. Quitting may take several tries, and people may not stop smoking, drinking or using drugs altogether. But eventually they succeed in shaking dependence.

Kicking these habits constitutes a dramatic change, but the change need not occur in a dramatic way. So when it comes to addiction treatment, the most effective approaches rely on the counterintuitive principle that less is often more. Successful treatment places the responsibility for change squarely on the individual and acknowledges that positive events in other realms may jump-start change.

Consider the experience of American soldiers returning from the war in Vietnam, where heroin use and addiction was widespread. In 90 percent of cases, when GIs left the pressure cooker of the battle zone, they also shed their addictions—in vivo proof that drug addiction can be just a matter of where in life you are.

Of course, it took more than a plane trip back from Asia for these men to overcome drug addiction. Most soldiers experienced dramatically altered lives when they returned. They left the anxiety, fear and boredom of the war arena and settled back into their home environments. They returned to their families, formed new relationships, developed work skills.

Smoking is at the top of the charts in terms of difficulty of quitting. But the majority of ex-smokers quit without any aid—neither nicotine patches nor gum, Smokenders groups nor hypnotism. (Don't take my word for it; at your next social gathering, ask how many people have quit smoking on their own.) In fact, as many cigarette smokers quit on their own, an even higher percentage of heroin and cocaine addicts and alcoholics quit without treatment. It is simply more difficult to keep these habits going through adulthood. It's hard to go to Disney World with your family while you are shooting heroin. Addicts who quit on their own typically report that they did so in order to achieve normalcy.

Every year, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health interviews Americans about their drug and alcohol habits. Ages 18 to 25 constitute the peak period of drug and alcohol use. In 2002, the latest year for which data are available, 22 percent of Americans between ages 18 and 25 were abusing or were dependent on a substance, versus only 3 percent of those aged 55 to 59. These data show that most people overcome their substance abuse, even though most of them do not enter treatment.

How do we know that the majority aren't seeking treatment? In 1992, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism conducted one of the largest surveys of substance use ever, sending Census Bureau workers to interview more than 42,000 Americans about their lifetime drug and alcohol use. Of the 4,500-plus respondents who had ever been dependent on alcohol, only 27 percent had gone to treatment of any kind, including Alcoholics Anonymous. In this group, one-third were still abusing alcohol.

Of those who never had any treatment, only about one-quarter were currently diagnosable as alcohol abusers. This study, known as the National Longitudinal Alcohol Epidemiologic Survey, indicates first that treatment is not a cure-all, and second that it is not necessary. The vast majority of Americans who were alcohol dependent, about three-quarters, never underwent treatment. And fewer of them were abusing alcohol than were those who were treated.

This is not to say that treatment can't be useful. But the most successful treatments are nonconfrontational approaches that allow self-propelled change. Psychologists at the University of New Mexico led by William Miller tabulated every controlled study of alcoholism treatment they could find. They concluded that the leading therapy was barely a therapy at all but a quick encounter between patient and health-care worker in an ordinary medical setting. The intervention is sometimes as brief as a doctor looking at the results of liver-function tests and telling a patient to cut down on his drinking. Many patients then decide to cut back—and do!

As brief interventions have evolved, they have become more structured. A physician may simply review the amount the patient drinks, or use a checklist to evaluate the extent of a drinking problem. The doctor then typically recommends and seeks agreement from the patient on a goal (usually reduced drinking rather than complete abstinence). More severe alcoholics would typically be referred out for specialized treatment.[note: I volentaraly (and desperatly) signed into a six week place upstate, I was not "referred" (just another example of how it really comes down to the individual} A range of options is discussed (such as attending AA, engaging in activities incompatible with drinking or using a self-help manual). A spouse or family member might be involved in the planning. The patient is then scheduled for a future visit, where progress can be checked. A case monitor might call every few weeks to see whether the person has any questions or problems.

The second most effective approach is motivational enhancement, also called motivational interviewing. This technique throws the decision to quit or reduce drinking—and to find the best methods for doing so—back on the individual. In this case, the therapist asks targeted questions that prompt the individual to reflect on his drinking in terms of his own values and goals. When patients resist, the therapist does not argue with the individual but explores the person's ambivalence about change so as to allow him or her to draw his own conclusions: "You say that you like to be in control of your behavior, yet you feel when you drink you are often not in charge. Could you just clarify that for me?"

Miller's team found that the list of most effective treatments for alcoholism included a few more surprises. Self-help manuals were highly successful. So was the community-reinforcement approach, which addresses the person's capacity to deal with life, notably marital relationships, work issues (such as simply getting a job), leisure planning and social-group formation (a buddy might be provided, as in AA, as a resource to encourage sobriety). The focus is on developing life skills, such as resisting pressures to drink, coping with stress (at work and in relationships) and building communication skills.

These findings square with what we know about change in other areas of life: People change when they want it badly enough and when they feel strong enough to face the challenge, not when they're humiliated or coerced. An approach that empowers and offers positive reinforcement is preferable to one that strips the individual of agency. These techniques are most likely to elicit real changes, however short of perfect and hard-won they may be.

No matter what approach in recovery you are taking it's always important to have a network of support. If you need help with addiction and would like to have some support please visit us at The Sober Village, where we do recover and will support you in your efforts.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Drug Addiction and Alcohol Abuse

For help with drug addiction and alcohol abuse please visit the sober forums at The Sober Village

A drug addiction alcohol abuse is very complex and normally comes with life-threatening issues. For families and friends who suffer on this kind of abuse by their loved ones usually get confused in the process of how they will proceed on the treatments.

Majority of the people is very unfamiliar with chemical dependencies, drug addictions and alcoholism. Because of this, people end up making inappropriate choices of not getting the best help possible or even worse. Detoxification is the initial step in the rehab process of a drug addiction alcohol abuse.

Let's go over to some drug addiction alcohol abuse principles that you can learn and get yourself familiarize with.

There is no single drug addiction alcohol abuse treatment that is appropriate for all individuals. Complementing the several drug abuse settings, interventions, and services to each individual's particular problems and needs is very critical to their ultimate success in returning to the productive functions in the society, workplace and family where you belong.

Drug addiction alcohol abuse treatments are needed to be readily available as individuals who are addicted to drugs may be uncertain about entering the treatment as well as taking advantage of the opportunities when they are ready for rehabilitation.

An effective rehabilitation attends to different needs of the individual in accordance to drug used. To be effective, it must address the individual's drug use and any associated legal, vocational, social, psychological, and medical problems. An individual's plan must be evaluated continually and modified if necessary to ensure that the plan meets the changing needs of the person.

An individual may require varying combinations of services and rehabilitation components during the course of recovery of drug addiction abuse. It is a very critical approach to be appropriate to the individual's gender, age, culture and ethnicity. Staying in rehabilitation for a period of time is critical for drug abuse treatment effectiveness. Some research indicates that for most individual, the edge of important improvements is reached in about three months in drug abuse treatment. After this edge is reached, there would be additional drug abuse treatments for producing further progress towards recovery of the individual.

Most people often leave drug abuse treatment pre-maturely because there are programs that include strategies to keep and engage patients in drug abuse treatment. Counseling, whether it's group or individual and other behavioral therapies are the essential components of effective drug addiction alcohol abuse treatments.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Help with Drinking Online

If you found your way to this article it's probably due to a curiosity, an uncertainty, or simply information. If you or someone you know needs help with alcohol or substance abuse there is help online. There is a vast network of resources to help you find your answers and solutions.

Because of the many information resources provided by the world wide web many individuals or seeking help and information online before consulting with anyone face to face. Be it at an AA meeting where that is just to scary to think about or even the shame of discussing your problems with alcohol or other substances with a doctor or just unfathomable to many. If you need help with alcohol or drug abuse or have a family member or friend that you are painfully watching slip into the depths of addiction please visit many of the recommended sites of the Sober Sources Network.

Help is only a click away!
Sober Source Network
The Sober Village
Sober Teens Online!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Alcoholism Self-Help

Alcoholism self help

Addiction basically means to get immune of some thing, some thing with out which a person does not get satisfied and he needs that element of addiction at every time of his life. Addiction can fall in to many categories, it could be for drugs, which may include medicines, cocaine, or it could be for television, sleep, travel, eating, or drinking.

When use of anything exceeds more then your needs and when a person would want to reduce the need of that addicted thing, this becomes very difficult. That is why it is known as addiction.
In case of alcoholism, it has a lot of disadvantages, which are physical and psychological.

Alcoholism makes a person alcohol dependant and for which there might be reasons like physical, mental, emotional and spiritual and at the same time all these reasons become the consequences for the addict. There are several rehabs for these kind of people so that they can get rid of these drinking problems, but the problems lies in the fact that the body of that particular person gets so much addicted to the percentage of alcohol that he can not stop his habits of drinking.

As the self help is the only concept which makes a person successful in every regards of life, weather is its money related, happiness involved or any other thing. In the similar manner self help can serve as the cure for this problem.

Any person who is an alcohol addict or alcoholic, he himself will be held responsible for being in that position, because this is a free world, where a person can do what ever he wants to, so if a person had reach to a point where he can not stop his habits which are harmful for him, there must be a definite start to all those habits, which for sure is initiated by man himself, on the basis of self help.

People start using alcohol, they enjoy it , they try it every day, and then there comes a day in there life when they realize that there is no way out without this, tough there are rehabs present to make people get rid of their addiction. But when a body gets addicted to certain percentage of alcohol, it becomes very difficult, even for rehab programs to bring that person back on track, unless the person himself have the courage to do so. So in this matter the concept of self help would be the only thing which could help that person out, as it has helped the man ever since.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Anxiety and Alcoholism

ScienceDaily (Mar. 5, 2008) — Doctors may one day be able to control alcohol addiction by manipulating the molecular events in the brain that underlie anxiety associated with alcohol withdrawal, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center report in the March 5 issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

"The association of anxiety with increased alcohol use is a key factor in the initiation and maintenance of alcohol addition," says Dr. Subhash Pandey, UIC professor of psychiatry and director of neuroscience alcoholism research, the lead author of the study.

Previous research has shown that people with inherently high levels of anxiety are at an increased risk of becoming alcoholics. In addition, withdrawal of alcohol in chronic users is often accompanied by extreme anxiety.

"Alcoholics may feel a need to continue to drink alcohol in an attempt to self-medicate to reduce their anxiety and other unpleasant withdrawal symptoms," said Pandey.

Pandey and his colleagues have discovered the molecular basis for the link between anxiety and alcohol addiction, which may help in identifying new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of alcohol addiction.

The researchers found that a protein within neurons in the amygdala -- the area of the brain associated with emotion and anxiety -- controls the development of alcohol withdrawal symptoms and drinking behaviors in laboratory animals by changing the shape of the neurons. This change in shape affects the communication between neurons, leading to changes in behavior.

Neurons communicate by sending signals through branches called dendritic spines. The researchers found that short-term alcohol exposure increased the number of dendritic spines in certain regions of the amygdala, producing anti-anxiety effects. Alcohol-dependent animals eventually developed a tolerance to the anxiety-lowering effects of alcohol.

The researchers traced the anti-anxiety effect to the production of a particular protein, Arc, in response to a nerve growth factor called BDNF that is stimulated by alcohol exposure. BDNF is vital in the functioning and maintenance of neurons.

When alcohol was withheld from animals that had been chronically exposed, they developed high anxiety. Levels of BDNF and Arc -- and the number of dendritic spines -- were decreased in the amygdala. But the researchers were able to eliminate the anxiety in the alcohol-dependent animals by restoring BDNF and Arc to normal levels.

Pandey suggested that an initial easing of anxiety may encourage people to begin to use alcohol, while for chronic users, a lack of alcohol provokes high anxiety, creating a need to continue drinking to feel normal.

The researchers blocked Arc production in normal rats by injecting a complementary sequence to Arc gene DNA into the central amygdala. They found that when levels of Arc in the central amygdala were lowered, the spines decreased and anxiety and alcohol consumption increased. When levels of Arc were returned to normal three days post-injection, anxiety and alcohol consumption also returned to normal. In a previous study, researchers found that lowering BDNF in amygdala promoted anxiety and alcohol drinking.

"This is the first direct evidence of the molecular processes occurring in the neurons that is responsible for the co-morbidity of anxiety and alcoholism, which we believe plays a major role in the addictive nature of alcohol," said Pandey.

"This offers the possibility of new therapeutic target -- BDNF-Arc signaling and associated dendritic spines in the amygdala -- or new drug development."

"These observations by Dr. Pandey's research group provide an insight into the link between alcohol and anxiety and could be used to identify new targets for developing medications that alleviate withdrawal-induced anxiety and potentially modify a motivation for drinking," said Antonio Noronha, director of neuroscience and behavior research at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The work was supported by grants from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Huaibo Zhang, Rajesh Ugale, Anand Prakash, Tiejun Xu and Kaushik Misra of the UIC College of Medicine and the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center also contributed to the study.

Adapted from materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago, via EurekAlert!, a service of AAAS.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Depression Self-Test

Take A Depression Self Test

Answer yes or no to the following questions:

1. When confronted with a problem, do you normally feel helpless to resolve it?

2. Have you skipped personal hygiene (bathing, brushing teeth, etc.) more than 5 days in the last month?

3. In the last month, have you spent at least one whole day in bed because you just didn't feel like getting up?

4. Have you lost interest and stopped doing your normal housekeeping routines (dishes, yard work, laundry, etc.) for more than 2 weeks?

5. Within the last 3 months, have you cut or hurt yourself out of frustration or to ease your emotional pain?

6. Do you regularly have trouble concentrating while making love?

7. Have you lost interest in food and eating regularly?

8. In the last year, have you missed more than 5 days work (or 5 days looking for work, if unemployed) because you just didn't feel like going in?

9. Has your employer mentioned a negative trend in your attitude, work performance or attendance?

10. In the last 3 months, have you thought of ways to commit suicide?
Depression Self Test Scoring:

A. If you answered 'yes' to any of the above questions, you should ask a close friend or family member to read Depression Treating with you and help you monitor your life to see if you are showing any symptoms.

B. If you answered 'yes' to 3 or more of the above questions, you should do 'A' above and take a copy of these questions and your answers to your doctor for a complete physical and professional opinion.

C. If you answered 'yes' to 5 or more of the above questions, you should do 'A & B' above and have the friend go with you to the doctor and be present for the diagnosis and doctor's help see to it you follow through.

D. If you're taking this test to see if a loved one may be depressed, they may score fewer "yes" answers from your observation and still be depressed. You may be their last connection, so don't be afraid to be pushy. If they have mentioned taking their own life, ask them how they would do th

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


How much and how often people drink - not just the average amount of alcohol they consume over time - independently influence the risk of death from several causes, according to a new study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

"Taken together, our results reinforce the importance of drinking in moderation. In drinkers who are not alcohol dependent, the majority of U.S. drinkers, alcohol quantity and frequency might be thought of as modifiable risk factors for mortality," the researchers conclude.

"These findings underscore the importance of looking at drinking patterns when investigating alcohol-related health outcomes," says Ting-Kai Li, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the NIH.

Rosalind A. Breslow, Ph.D., M.P.H., an epidemiologist in NIAAA's Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research, and Barry I. Graubard, Ph.D., a statistician in the Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics at the National Cancer Institute, examined data from a nationwide health survey conducted in 1988. Almost half of the nearly 44,000 people who participated in the survey identified themselves as current drinkers who had at least 12 drinks of alcohol during the previous year. By the end of 2002, more than 2,500 of these individuals had died. Drs. Breslow and Graubard compared their causes of death with the alcohol consumption patterns they reported in the survey. A report of their findings appears in the March, 2008 issue of Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

The researchers found that, in men, alcohol frequency and quantity had opposite effects on cardiovascular mortality. The greater the amount of alcohol that men consumed on drinking days, the greater was their risk for death from cardiovascular disease. For example, men who had five or more drinks on drinking days had a 30 percent greater risk for cardiovascular mortality than men who had just one drink per drinking day. Alcohol quantity was also associated with increased mortality from cancer among men. On the other hand, frequency of drinking was associated with decreased risk for death from cardiovascular disease among men -- those who reported drinking 120 to 365 days per year had about 20 percent lower cardiovascular mortality than men who drank just one to 36 days per year. The current study was not designed to determine why drinking frequency might have a protective effect. Among women, frequent drinking was associated with a significantly increased risk of cancer, while increased quantity was associated with risk for mortality from all causes.

Previous studies have linked moderate drinking with reduced risk for death from cardiovascular disease, while heavier drinking has been linked with increased mortality. Such studies have typically measured individuals' average alcohol intake. A drawback of that approach, says Dr. Breslow, is that averaging obscures potential differences between people who sometimes drink heavily and those who consistently drink small amounts of alcohol.

"Average intake makes no distinction between the individual who has seven drinks one day each week, for example, and someone who has just one drink, every day," explains Dr. Breslow. "Our study is the first to look at how both quantity and frequency components of alcohol consumption independently influence cause-specific mortality within a single cohort representing the US population."

The researchers note that the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans advise men to drink no more than two drinks per day and women to drink no more than one drink per day. Because women's bodies generally have less water than men's bodies, a given amount of alcohol is less diluted in a woman's body than in a man's. Consequently, when a woman drinks, the alcohol in her bloodstream typically reaches a higher level than a man's even if both are drinking the same amount.

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, part of the National Institutes of Health, is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems and disseminates research findings to general, professional, and academic audiences. Additional alcohol research information and publications are available at

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) - The Nation's Medical Research Agency - includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit

Source: John Bowersox
NIH/National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

Monday, March 3, 2008

Children Nee Help To!

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Children Need Help Too!

Children in families experiencing alcohol
or drug abuse need attention, guidance and
support. They may be growing up in homes in
which the problems are either denied or
covered up.
These children need to have their experiences
validated. They also need safe, reliable adults
in whom to confide and who will support
them, reassure them, and provide them with
appropriate help for their age. They need to
have fun and just be kids.
Families with alcohol and drug problems usually
have high levels of stress and confusion. High
stress family environments are a risk factor for
early and dangerous substance use, as well as
mental and physical health problems.
It is important to talk honestly with children
about what is happening in the family and to
help them express their concerns and feelings.
Children need to trust the adults in their lives
and to believe that they will support them.
Children living with alcohol or drug abuse in
the family can benefit from participating in
educational support groups in their school
student assistance programs. Those age 11
and older can join Alateen groups, which meet
in community settings and provide healthy
connections with others coping with similar
issues. Being associated with the activities of a
faith community can also help.
Resources for Information and Help
There is help available in your local community.
Look in the Yellow Pages under Alcoholism
for treatment programs and self-help groups.
Call your county health department and ask
for licensed treatment programs in your
community. Keep trying until you find the
right help for your loved one, yourself and your
family. Ask a family therapist for a referral to a
trained interventionist or, call the Intervention
Resource Center at 1-888-421-4321.
Self-Help Groups
Al-Anon Family Groups
Alcoholics Anonymous
Adult Children of Alcoholics
For a pastoral counseling center in your
community, visit
For More Information
SAMHSA’s National Helpline
National Association for Children
of Alcoholics
National Council on Alcoholism and
Drug Dependence
Alcohol and
Drug Addiction
Happens in the
Best of Families
…and It Hurts
It doesn’t have to be that way