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Alcohol & Chemical Dependency Research

  1. Guided Imagery Short-Circuits Food Cravings

    Guided Imagery Short-Circuits Food Cravings

    Researchers from Plymouth University in the UK tested Elaborated Intrustion Theory (EI), - the idea that food cravings happen when an involuntary thought about an appealing food (generated either by seeing it, smelling it or some other external prompt; or by internal sensations of hunger, anxiety, fatigue, etc) gets elaborated by strong, multisensory and inherently rewarding "mental images" of that food – the way it looks, tastes, smells, feels and even sounds – wonderfully described as a kind of imaginary relish that produces a form of exquisite torture.

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  2. An Online Self-Administered Program for Bulimia Performs Well

    Researchers from University Hospitals of Geneva in Switzerland evaluated the use of an online, guided, self-administered treatment program for bulimia nervosa (BN), and to determine predictors of outcome.

    Data were collected in four European countries where the program was simultaneously used. One hundred and twenty-seven female patients with bulimia nervosa (mean age of 24.7 years) participated in a 4-month intervention, using a CBT based online-guided self-help program. Contact during the treatment period included weekly e-mails with a coach.

    Measures included the Eating Disorders Inventory-2 (EDI-2) and the Symptom Check List-Revised (SCL-90R).

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  3. Reduced Depression a Possible Key to 12-Step Success

    Investigators from San Diego State University/University of California looked at whether, for dual diagnosis veterans with substance dependence and major depressive disorder, 12-Step success with alcohol and drug use might be mediated by reductions in depression. 

    Veterans (209) with this dual diagnosis (chemical dependency and depression) were enrolled in this controlled trial, randomized to either Twelve-Step Facilitation (TSF) or Integrated Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (ICBT), delivered in out-patient groups for 6 months, with support from medication.

    Twelve-Step attendance and affiliation, depression severity, percentage of days drinking and percentage of days using drugs were assessed at baseline and at months 3, 6 and 9.

    Greater 12-Step meeting attendance predicted lower depression and mediated the superior depression outcomes of the TSF group, explaining 24.3% of the group difference in depression.

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  4. Qigong Helps with Addiction, Especially with Women

    Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore investigated the efficacy of adding qigong to a residential treatment program for substance abuse.
     
    Qigong, which blends relaxation, breathing, guided imagery, inward attention, and mindfulness to elicit a tranquil, healing state, was introduced into a short-term residential treatment program.  At first clients chose to participate in qigong meditation on a voluntary basis during their evening break.  Later they chose to participate in either meditation or Stress Management and Relaxation Training (SMART) twice a day as part of the scheduled treatment.

    Weekly questionnaires were completed by 248 participants for up to 4 weeks, to assess changes in treatment outcomes.  Participants in the meditation group were also assessed for quality of meditation to evaluate the association between quality and treatment outcome.

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  5. Where to Begin with a Depressed, Chain Smoking, Traumatized Hubby

    Question:  

    Help!  Hubby is 37 years old and has been a smoker for 20+ years.  He has also had depression for the last ten plus years, as well as sleep problems.  He was just diagnosed with PTSD this past week.  Where to start???

    Gena

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  6. PTSD and Depression Get Worse after Deployment

    In this population-based, cross-sectional study, researcher-epidemiologists from Walter Reed Army Institute of Research examined the prevalence of depression and PTSD in over 18,000 U.S. Army soldiers (4 Active Component and 2 National Guard infantry brigade combat teams), using several definitions, including functional impairment, as well as the comorbidity of alcohol misuse and aggressive behaviors. Additionally, they compared rates between Active Component and National Guard soldiers at the 3- and 12-month time points following deployment.

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  7. Qigong Helps with Addiction, Especially with Women

    Researchers at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore investigated the efficacy of adding qigong to a residential treatment program for substance abuse. 

    Qigong, which blends relaxation, breathing, guided imagery, inward attention, and mindfulness to elicit a tranquil, healing state, was introduced into a short-term residential treatment program.  At first clients chose to participate in qigong meditation on a voluntary basis during their evening break.  Later they chose to participate in either meditation or Stress Management and Relaxation Training (SMART) twice a day as part of the scheduled treatment.

    Weekly questionnaires were completed by 248 participants for up to 4 weeks, to assess changes in treatment outcomes.  Participants in the meditation group were also assessed for quality of meditation to evaluate the association between quality and treatment outcome.

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  8. Alcoholics Anonymous: Cult or Cure

    Harvard researcher, psychiatrist and leading chemical dependency expert, George Vaillant, reviewed the research on effective treatments for alcoholism and assessed recovery in two community cohorts of adolescent males, followed from 1940 through the present day.

    He concludes that AA is effective because of four different factors inherent to the program that have been widely shown to reduce relapse prevention for addiction: (1) external supervision, (2) substitute dependency, (3) new caring relationships and (4) increased spirituality. He adds that AA serendipitously follows the principles of cognitive behaviour therapy for relapse prevention.
     

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  9. Reduced PTSD Symptoms Lead to Reduced Substance Abuse, but Not the Other Way Around

    A new study from researchers at C.C.N.Y. (City College of New York) examined the connection between improvements in posttraumatic stress and improvement in substance abuse over the course of time in 353 women diagnosed with both conditions.

    Participants were randomly assigned to 12 sessions of either trauma-focused treatment or health education.  Assessments were made on the PTS and the substance use during treatment at 1 week and posttreatment after 3, 6, and 12 months.

    Subjects showing no improvement, an improvement in the substance use only, or a total, global improvement early on, tended to maintain their original diagnosis over time; but subjects initially exhibiting improvement in their PTSD symptoms were significantly more likely to transition into a global response over time, indicating that they maintained their PTSD improvement, and that it was associated with subsequent improvements in substance use.
     

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  10. Enhanced Negative Emotion and Alcohol Craving

    Researchers from the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University’s School of Medicine investigated whether people who chronically abuse alcohol are extra-vulnerable to changes in stress levels altering their alcohol cravings. Twenty-eight treatment-engaged, 28-day abstinent, alcohol-dependent (AD) individuals - 6 females, 22 males - and another twenty-eight social drinkers (SD) - 10 females, 18 males - were exposed to three different brief, stress-evoking, guided imagery exercises: (1) a personalized stressful imagery, (2) an alcohol-related stressful imagery and (3)a neutral-relaxing imagery - one condition per session, presented in random order across 3 days.
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