Recognizing and Treating Alcohol Problems

<b>Recognizing and Treating Alcohol Problems</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – While some 18 million Americans suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence, only one in eight receives treatment. Poor diagnosis may play a role in people being undertreated, but there are a growing number of tools to help people assess and understand whether they have alcohol problems.

One of the latest tools is a new government Web site called “Rethinking Drinking,” which, through a 20-question assessment, is designed to determine whether your drinking patterns are safe, risky or harmful.

Launched and supported by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) division, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) web site features a self-assessment test that is completely confidential and anonymous.

Medications for Alcohol Dependence

The Food & Drug Administration has approved medications for the treatment of alcohol dependence which offer treatment options in addition to traditional 12-step and counseling programs. Rethinking Drinking provides key facts about medications for alcohol dependence:

* Newer medications can make it easier to quit drinking.

* Newer medications don’t make you sick if you do drink.

* None of these medications is addictive.

* Medications can be combined with support groups or alcohol counseling.

Traditionally, approaches to overcome alcoholism have not included medications. Government statistics show that 75 percent of people receiving traditional approaches for alcohol dependence relapse to heavy drinking within the first year of beginning treatment.

New Guidelines Include Medications

Last year, the HHS issued best-practice guidelines for the treatment of alcohol dependence. These guidelines include for the first time the recommendation to consider the two most recent FDA-approved medications for alcohol dependence, naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension and acamprosate calcium.

One of the newly added medications in the HHS guidelines is an extended-release injection taken once a month. Pill medications have been successful for some patients. However, in cases where a patient may be challenged to reliably take a daily pill, an extended-release injection that is given once a month can be a helpful treatment option.

To find a physician in your area, go to www.alcoholanswers.org/local. For online self assessment, go to www.rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.gov.

New Guidelines Include Medications For Treatment of Alcohol Dependence

<b>New Guidelines Include Medications For Treatment of Alcohol Dependence</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Well-established ways to overcome alcoholism include counseling, 12-step recovery programs and addiction treatment centers. But government statistics show that 75 percent of people receiving conventional treatment for alcohol dependence relapse to heavy drinking within the first year of beginning treatment.

A division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) has recently issued best-practice guidelines for the treatment of alcohol dependence. The guidelines, entitled “Incorporating Alcohol Pharmacotherapies Into Medical Practice,” include for the first time the two most recent FDA-approved medications for alcohol dependence, naltrexone for extended-release injectable suspension and acamprosate calcium.

FDA-Approved Medications

The FDA has approved medications for the treatment of alcohol dependence that offer treatment options in addition to traditional 12-step and counseling programs. Medications can act by blocking or interacting with certain receptors or biochemical effects in the brain of a person with alcohol dependence.

Medications are used along with counseling to help a person stop drinking. One of the newly added medications in the HHS guidelines is an extended-release injection taken once a month.

When medications are part of the treatment program along with counseling, a physician must consider whether the patient can reliably adhere to a daily pill regimen. A recent study analyzed the magnitude of challenges faced when prescribing oral pharmacotherapy for alcohol dependence. Over a six-month period, more than 85 percent of patients were non-persistent with oral therapy. Oral therapy has been successful for some patients. However, in many cases in which adherence is a challenge, an extended-release injection that is given once a month can be a helpful treatment option.

“We now know that alcohol dependence is a chronic disease with a potentially life-threatening course,” said Harold C. Urschel III, M.D., chief of medical strategy, EnterHealth LLC. “These new guidelines increase awareness and information about the new medications available for alcohol dependence so that patients and their doctors can consider all the available tools for each individual case.”

As with other complex chronic diseases, like depression, asthma or diabetes, patients, along with their physicians and family members, work together to determine the best treatment option for each person with alcohol dependence.

A copy of the HHS guidelines can be found at www.alcoholanswers.org/TIP49.pdf.

To find a physician in your area, please visit www.alcoholanswers.org/local/.

New Service Curbs Drunk Driving With Mobile BAC Calculator

<b>New Service Curbs Drunk Driving With Mobile BAC Calculator</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Social events often include cocktails and other alcoholic beverages, but few people realize exactly how alcohol impacts motor function and response time.

A person’s ability to process alcohol is based on their body weight and gender – many people might not understand exactly how their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) may change based on the number of drinks they consume. For this reason, The Century Council, a not-for-profit organization funded by distillers, developed an interactive program to show how alcohol consumption affects an individual’s BAC. Called B4UDrink (B4UDrink.mobi), the program allows users to access information via their cell phone, Blackberry or iPhone.

Before going to a party, users can quickly enter the type and amount of drinks that they plan to consume. A few short clicks later, the program approximates their BAC. For example, a male weighing 200 pounds can drink four mixed drinks over the course of two hours for a BAC of .05, which is below the legal limit to operate a vehicle. Conversely, if a 150-pound woman drinks the same mixed drinks over two hours, her BAC would be .10, which is significantly over the legal limit to drive. All 50 states and the District of Columbia designate .08 BAC as over the limit to drive.

Susan Molinari, chairman of The Century Council, stated, “B4UDrink.mobi is an excellent tool to raise awareness about how alcohol affect’s an individual’s BAC.”

Drunk driving should be avoided at all costs. Here are some heartbreaking statistics from the Century Council:

– In 2007, in the United States, an estimated 12,998 people were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes.

– Drivers with blood alcohol concentration levels above .15 are only one percent of all drivers on weekend nights, but they are involved in nearly 50 percent of all fatal crashes at that time.

– Sixty percent of Americans don’t know the legal BAC limit.

For more information, visit www.B4UDrink.mobi.

Parents, Open the Door to Communication

<b>Parents, Open the Door to Communication</b>“></td>
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<p>(<a href=NewsUSA) – Opening the doors of communication could be all that it takes to prevent your child from drinking alcohol while underage.

A survey commissioned by The Century Council, a not-for-profit organization that fights drunk driving and underage drinking, revealed that 65 percent of kids say they have obtained the alcohol they drink from family and friends.

Having recently relaunched its Web site, www.centurycouncil.org, The Century Council believes that parent-child communication and community outreach are the best ways to curb underage drinking. The redesigned Web site proves a user-friendly platform for helpful, informative content to assist parents in initiating the all-important conversation regarding the dangers of underage drinking.

Parents of middle schoolers are offered “Ask, Listen, Learn: Kids and Alcohol Don’t Mix,” a program, developed in partnership with Nickelodeon, which uses activities and educational games to teach kids about the dangers of underage drinking.

The Century Council has a number of programs for parents of high schoolers including “Girl Talk: Choices and Consequences of Underage Drinking” and “Brandon Tells His Story.” Many parents feel that the conversation about alcohol is uncomfortable;

www.centurycouncil.org provides tips on how to begin the conversation and important points to convey to your teens to keep them safe and alcohol-free.

“Parents, You’re Not Done Yet” reminds parents that the conversation about alcohol must continue even though their teens have left for college.

Susan Molinari, chairman of The Century Council, added, “I’m excited about our new Web site and hope that parents will visit often to help facilitate conversations with their children about the dangers of underage drinking. After all, parents wield the greatest influence over a teen’s decision to drink -; or not to drink -; alcohol.”