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When Pot Use Starts in Teens, Drug Addiction More Likely: Study

Teens who try marijuana or other drugs are at greater risk of developing a drug addiction than those who wait a few years before experimenting with drugs, a new study finds.

"Though not everyone who uses a drug will develop addiction, adolescents may develop addiction to substances faster than young adults," said study co-lead author Dr. Nora Volkow. She is director of the U.S. National I...

Gen X, Millennials in Worse Health Than Prior Generations at Same Age

Medicine may have advanced by leaps and bounds over the last century, but Generation X and millennials are in worse health than their parents and grandparents were at their age.

That's the conclusion of a new study that looked at markers of physical and mental health across the generations.

And overall, there has been a downhill slide over time: Gen X'ers and millennials were in wor...

Drinking, Drunk, Deadly: Know the Signs of Alcohol Overdose

Wednesday is St. Patrick's Day, a holiday often marked by one (or more) too many drinks. But experts warn that simple holiday fun can quickly turn deadly when alcohol is involved.

The U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) offered these reminders about the dangers of alcohol overdose and urged everyone to drink responsibly or not at all.

Binge or high-intens...

AHA News: RAPIDO -- a New Spanish Acronym to Raise Stroke Awareness

Researchers have developed a new Spanish acronym aimed to raise awareness of stroke symptoms in the Hispanic community. Known as RAPIDO, it seeks to replicate the popular FAST mnemonic that exists in English.

Studies show that while Hispanic adults currently have a similar rate of stroke as their non-Hispanic white counterparts, they are not as aware of the symptoms. A Centers for Disease...

Pandemic Stress Has Americans Gaining Weight, Drinking More: Poll

If you're drinking more, sleeping less, seeing downright scary numbers on your scale and fretting about the future, you're far from alone, a new survey reveals.

"We've been concerned throughout this pandemic about the level of prolonged stress, exacerbated by the grief, trauma and isolation that Americans are experiencing," said Arthur Evans Jr., chief executive officer of the American Ps...

Drinking Too Much During the Pandemic? You're Not Alone

The stress of the pandemic could be prompting some people to turn to he bottle more often, researchers warn.

This is particularly problematic for people who live in areas where there are stay-at-home orders, especially for young adults, men and people who have lost their jobs.

"Being under lockdown during a worldwide pandemic has been hard on everyone, and many people are relying on...

Child Bullies at Higher Odds for Substance Abuse as Adults: Study

Schoolyard bullies have been making life difficult for kids for eons, often causing lasting damage to their victims. Now, new research shows these bullies can also suffer lasting consequences as they age.

Bullies may be more likely to abuse drugs, alcohol and tobacco later in life, and this risk is greater for childhood bullies than those who picked on others during their adolescent ...

Anxiety, Depression and Drinking: An Unhealthy Combo During the Pandemic

People with anxiety and depression are more likely to step up their drinking during the COVID-19 pandemic than those without these mental health issues, an online survey revealed.

Alcohol use grew the most among young people, but older adults with anxiety and depression were about twice as likely to report increased drinking as older adults without those struggles, New York University res...

Alcohol Plays Role in U.S. Cancer Cases, Deaths: Report

There's another reason to keep your tippling to a moderate level: Alcohol plays a significant role in cancer cases and deaths in the United States, researchers say.

On average, drinking accounted for 4.8% of cancer cases and 3.2% of cancer deaths or about 75,200 cancer cases and nearly 19,000 cancer deaths a year, from 2013 to 2016.

Rates ranged from a high of 6.7% of cancer cases ...

Hope Can Save People From Making Bad Choices: Study

Hope may help prevent you from doing things that aren't good for you, a new study claims.

The investigators wanted to find out why some people are more likely to fall into risky behaviors, such as gambling, drinking too much, taking drugs and overeating.

To do this, the team at the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom focused on something called relative deprivation, whic...

ADHD Raises Adult Suicide Risk, Especially for Women

Adults with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) have a strikingly high prevalence of attempted suicide, with women being at particular risk, researchers say.

The study of nearly 22,000 Canadian adults found that 14% of those with ADHD had attempted suicide. That was roughly five times the rate of adults without ADHD, at 2.7%.

The findings among women were particular...

Binge Drinking Soared During Lockdown: Survey

The COVID-19 pandemic and the life stresses it triggers are exacerbating binge drinking, a new study finds.

Researchers conducted an online survey of nearly 2,000 U.S. adults from mid-March to mid-April 2020, coinciding with a pandemic-related stay-at-home order ("lockdown"). Based on the answers, each participant was categorized as a binge drinker, a non-binge drinker or a non-drinker. <...

Drinking Most Harmful at 3 Points in Life Span

Alcohol poses the greatest threat to brain health at three periods of a person's life, according to new research.

During those three periods -- from conception to birth, from ages 15 to 19, and after age 65 -- people undergo "dynamic" brain changes that may be particularly sensitive to the harmful effects of alcohol, researchers say.

Worldwide, about 10% of pregnant women drink. Hea...

Booze Robbing Many Americans of Their Sleep

Nearly 7 in 10 Americans have lost sleep because they drank alcohol too close to bedtime, including 1 in 5 who often have this problem, a new poll shows.

In the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) survey, men were more likely to say they've lost sleep due to drinking alcohol than women (75% vs. 60%), and adults ages 35-44 (78%) are most likely to have a drink too late at night.

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'Diseases of Despair' Skyrocket in America

Even before the coronavirus pandemic began, Americans were already suffering: A new study reports that alcohol and drug misuse were up dramatically, and suicidal thoughts and behaviors were up 170% between 2009 and 2018.

Researchers call these conditions "diseases of despair."

"The origin of these conditions isn't strictly medical. Rather, they seem to follow conditions of despair i...

More Young Adults in the U.S. Are Saying No to Alcohol

In a sign that many young Americans may no longer be boozing it up, a new study finds that fewer young people are drinking alcohol now than 20 years ago.

In fact, the number of men and women in the United States between the ages of 18 to 22 who abstained from drinking increased from 20% to 28% for college students and from 24% to 30% for those not in school, the resea...

Reduced Drinking May Improve Veterans' Chronic Pain

Cutting back on booze may reduce chronic pain and use of other substances among U.S. veterans who are heavy drinkers, according to a new report.

The study included about 1,500 veterans who completed annual surveys between 2003 and 2015, and reported heavy drinking in at least one of those surveys.

"We found some evidence for improvement of pain interference symptoms and subs...

Alcohol-Linked Deaths Rise Sharply in Rural America

In rural America, drinking has become particularly deadly for many, a new government report shows.

Deaths related to alcohol use in those regions rose 43% between 2006 and 2018, health officials reported.

Over that time, the rate of deaths went from 11 per 100,000 people to 15 per 100,000. Also, the rate of deaths among women more than doubled, according to researchers ...

Pandemic Has More Americans Turning to Booze

Is the coronavirus pandemic driving people to drink?

Yes, a new U.S. survey shows, and the greatest spike in alcohol use is being seen in women.

Overall, there was a 14% jump in drinking frequency this past spring among U.S. adults over 30 when compared to last year at the same time, researchers found. Among women, drinking frequency went up 17%.

But excess...

COVID-19 Poses Added Risk for People With Addiction Disorders: Study

People with addiction disorders are at greater risk for COVID-19 and more likely to become seriously ill if infected, a new study finds.

The researchers analyzed non-identifiable electronic health records of more than 73 million patients in the United States. People with addiction disorders accounted for just over 10% of those in the study, and nearly 16% of COVID-19 cases.

More Than 1 Drink a Day Ups Blood Pressure for Diabetics

It's probably a good idea to skip that second glass of wine if you have diabetes, because new research suggests that having more than one drink daily raises your risk of high blood pressure.

People with type 2 diabetes who had eight or more drinks a week (moderate drinkers) had more than 60% higher odds of having high blood pressure, according to the study. They also tended to ha...

Each Day Sober Slowly Helps Alcoholics' Brains Recover

A new brain scan study shows why the "one day at a time" approach works for recovering alcoholics.

"For people with AUD [alcohol use disorder], the brain takes a long time to normalize, and each day is going to be a struggle," explained senior study author Rajita Sinha, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Yale University's Child Study Center. "For these people, it really is ...

People Are Dying, Going Blind After Drinking Hand Sanitizer, CDC Warns

Federal health officials have been warning for weeks that illegal forms of hand sanitizer containing toxic methanol are being sold across the United States.

Now, new data from Arizona and New Mexico illustrate the danger: During the months of May and June, 15 people were rushed to hospital after drinking hand sanitizer containing methanol.

Four of them died and three went bl...

Less Smoking, Drinking Means Fewer Hip Fractures for Americans

In a rare bit of good health news for Americans, a new government study finds that hip fracture rates have fallen substantially since the 1970s.

Between 1970 and 2010, broken hips dropped by two-thirds among Americans in a decades-long health study. The likely reason? Researchers say drops in both smoking and heavy drinking played a significant role.

The improvement was true...

PTSD Therapy Doesn't Trigger Drug Relapse in Addiction Patients: Study

Talk therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) doesn't appear to increase addiction treatment patients' risk of relapse, a small new study says.

Roughly a quarter of people with drug or alcohol use disorders also have PTSD, typically caused by a traumatic or stressful life event such as combat or rape.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the leading PTSD treatment, but s...

Alcohol and Arrhythmia a Deadly Mix

Alcohol abuse is associated with an increased the risk of death in people with abnormal heart rhythms, a new study warns.

Researchers reviewed deaths among almost 115,000 patients aged 15-54 hospitalized for abnormal heart rhythm (arrhythmia) between 2010 and 2014.

Nearly 10% of the patients were also diagnosed with alcohol abuse, defined as drinking that causes problems...

Dangerous 'Drunkorexia' Hits College Campuses

College students are known to drink too much and eat a poor diet.

So it may not be surprising that new research has revealed that these two unhealthy behaviors often collide on campus.

When students diet, exercise or purge to purposely offset calories they consume from alcohol, experts sometimes call this "drunkorexia."

The new study, published online recently in ...

Pandemic Is Changing Addiction Care, for Better and Worse

The COVID-19 pandemic is shaking up America's approach to addiction treatment, but the fallout hasn't been all bad, experts say.

In-person support meetings either aren't happening or have been severely curtailed, and addiction centers are facing financial ruin because folks are too afraid of the coronavirus to seek treatment.

But paradoxically, people might have better acces...

A Drink or Two a Day Might Be Good for Your Brain: Study

Love a glass of wine with dinner? There's good news for you from a study that finds "moderate" alcohol consumption -- a glass or two per day -- might actually preserve your memory and thinking skills.

This held true for both men and women, the researchers said.

There was one caveat, however: The study of nearly 20,000 Americans tracked for an average of nine years found tha...

Older Gays, Lesbians at Higher Odds for Drug, Alcohol Abuse: Study

Alcohol and drug use is more common among older adults who identify as lesbian, gay or bisexual than among their straight counterparts, a new study finds.

For the study, New York University (NYU) researchers analyzed 25,880 responses from adults aged 50 and older who participated in a nationwide survey on alcohol and drug use between 2015 and 2017. Of the participants, 2.5% identi...

Scientists Spot More Genes Linked to Problem Drinking

It was already known that genetics can play a role in drinking problems, but now researchers have identified additional gene variants that could help identify many more at-risk people.

The team conducted a genome-wide analysis of more than 435,000 people of European ancestry to look for shared gene variants among people with problem drinking.

The researchers pinpointed 19 ne...

Mental Health is Big Issue For Police Officers  Around The World: Study

Mental health problems and substance abuse are common among cops, and more needs to be done to address those issues, researchers say.

Previous studies have suggested that first responders have a higher risk of mental health issues than the general public, but it wasn't clear how police officers were affected.

To learn more, researchers reviewed 67 studies that included more ...

Lockdown Got You Feeling Low? Yoga May Help

Many people under stay-at-home orders have turned to online yoga as a way to manage the stress. And a new research review suggests they're onto something.

The review, of 19 clinical trials, focused on the benefits of yoga for people with clinical mental health conditions ranging from anxiety disorders to alcohol dependence to schizophrenia. Overall, it found yoga classes helped ease t...

COVID-19 Pandemic May Lead to 75,000 'Deaths of Despair'

COVID-19 has directly claimed tens of thousands of U.S. lives, but conditions stemming from the novel coronavirus -- rampant unemployment, isolation and an uncertain future -- could lead to 75,000 deaths from drug or alcohol abuse and suicide, new research suggests.

Deaths from these causes are known as "deaths of despair." And the COVID-19 pandemic may be accelerating conditions that...

Religion Helps Protect Against 'Deaths of Despair': Study

As the world reels from the coronavirus pandemic, researchers say religion may provide protection from so-called deaths of despair, new research suggests.

The study, conducted in 2018-2019, found that those who attend worship services once a week are less likely to die by suicide, drug overdoses or alcohol poisoning.

"These results are perhaps especially striking amidst the...

To Cut Down on Boozing, Offer Other Choices: Study

There's a simple way to limit your guests' boozing: Give them plenty of alternatives.

A British study finds that people are more likely to choose alcohol-free options if they outnumber boozy choices.

There were more than 800 people in the study. When presented with eight drink choices in an online questionnaire, participants were 48% more likely to choose a nonalcoholic...

Heavy Drinking Tied to Raised Stroke Risk, Study Finds

Lots of boozing might increase your risk for a stroke, Swedish researchers report.

Heavy alcohol use can triple your risk for peripheral artery disease, a narrowing of arteries that results in reduced blood flow, usually to the legs. It can also increase your risk for stroke by 27%. There's also evidence of a link to coronary artery disease, atrial fibrillation and aortic aneurys...

When Booze Labels Carry Health Warnings, Drinking Declines: Study

If warning labels on cigarette packs discourage smoking, could warning labels on alcohol products discourage drinking? Researchers in Canada decided to find out.

In the study, which began in 2017, the researchers applied about 300,000 colorful, highly visible warning labels to 98% of alcohol containers in the largest liquor store in the Yukon, which has Canada's highest rate of a...

Have a Hangover? Try This Herbal Remedy

For as long as humans have been drinking alcohol, they have sought a cure for hangovers. Now, a small study suggests that a mix of plant extracts might help ease the misery.

Researchers found that the herbal blend -- of Barbados cherry, prickly pear, ginkgo biloba, willow and ginger root extracts -- seemed to lessen certain hangover symptoms.

The supplement also contained va...

Heavy Pot Use Linked to Mental Problems, Even After Quitting

Marijuana dependence goes hand in hand with poor mental health, and problems may persist long after stopping the drug, according to Canadian researchers.

Nearly half of people who have been or are now dependent on pot have some form of mental illness or dependence on another substance, according to a report this month in the journal Advances in Preventative Medicine. That compare...

Heavy Drinking Into Old Age Ups Health Risks: Study

Long-term heavy drinking may lead to significant weight gain and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke in older adults, British researchers warn.

They analyzed data from more than 4,800 U.K. civil servants who were 34 to 56 years old when the study began in the mid-1980s. Three-quarters were men.

Heavy drinking -- defined as three or four drinks, four or more times a...

Many Car Crash Deaths Involve Alcohol Levels Below Legal Limit: Study

About 15% of alcohol-related road deaths in the United States involve drivers with blood alcohol concentrations below the legal limit, a new study finds.

Researchers analyzed 16 years (2000 to 2015) of U.S. motor vehicle crash data. They found that 37% of the more than 600,000 motor vehicle deaths during that time involved at least one driver with alcohol in their blood...

AA Still Best to Beat Problem Drinking, Review Finds

For people who want to stop drinking, the world's oldest alcohol support group is still the best way, a new review concludes.

In an analysis of 27 studies, researchers found that Alcoholics Anonymous was typically more effective than behavioral therapies when it came to helping people remain abstinent. AA also appeared as good as those therapies in reducing excessive drinking, and the...

Alcohol-Linked Deaths Soaring in U.S., Women Hit Hardest

Americans are drinking themselves to death at ever-increasing rates, with women in particular hitting the bottle hard, a new study shows.

The rate of alcohol-induced deaths among women increased between 3.1% and 3.6% a year from 2000 to 2016, while deaths among men increased 1.4% to 1.8% each year, according to the findings.

What's worse, the rates have accel...

As Liquor Stores Close, Murder Rates Decline

Having fewer liquor stores in cities may lead to lower murder rates, a new study suggests.

The implication of alcohol zoning regulations can have life-or-death consequences -- at least in Baltimore, according to study author Pamela Trangenstein, of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and colleagues.

"There is an ongoing violence epidemic in Baltimore, with recen...

Do Young Adults Really 'Age Out' of Heavy Drinking?

During the late teens and early 20s, young people may booze it up a lot, but they eventually dial it back, right?

A new study study confirms that drinking rates do tend to decrease after college age. But on an individual level, it all depends on various factors such as the drinker's social networks and personality.

"It's almost become a myth that people mature out of alco...

Can Siri or Alexa Help You Beat Addiction? Don't Count on It

Virtual assistants like Alexa and Siri are little help for people seeking information about how to quit drinking, smoking, vaping or taking opioids, a new study finds.

"Alexa can already fart on demand, why can't it and other intelligent virtual assistants also provide lifesaving substance use treatment referrals for those desperately seeking help? Many of these same people likely hav...

College Students Picking Pot Over Drinking in States Where It's Legal

Are college students choosing marijuana instead of booze when both are legal?

New research suggests they are: In states where pot is legal, college kids use it more, but binge-drink less.

In states with legal marijuana, college students were 18% more likely to use it in the past month than in states where it's illegal, Oregon State University researchers report.

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'Intensity' of U.S. Binge Drinking Is on the Rise

While the frequency at which Americans binge drink has declined slightly over the past decade, the number of drinks they imbibe during a binge is rising to dangerous levels, new research shows.

In the new study, binge drinking was defined as five or more drinks on one occasion by men or four or more drinks for women.

Between 2011 and 2017, the percentage of Americans who sai...

Alcohol-Fueled Deaths Double in U.S. Over Past 20 Years

The number of Americans dying from alcohol abuse each year has doubled since 1999, a new study reveals.

Between 1999 and 2017, alcohol-related deaths jumped from nearly 36,000 a year to almost 73,000. That's about 1 million deaths lost to booze over less than two decades, with white women experiencing the greatest annual increases.

"Those deaths are associated with despair...