Monthly Archives: October 2016

Binge drinking rising at a dangerous rate: U of C Study

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Researchers at the University of Calgary have released some troubling statistics in a study on binge drinking.

Dr. Andrew Bulloch, deputy director of the Mathison Centre for Mental Health, found that 20 per cent of Canadians engage in binge drinking, which is defined as having at least five drinks at least once a month in the past year.

“It’s dangerous,” said Bulloch. “We think that alcohol is becoming more heavily advertised. It’s becoming more available, and it’s becoming cheaper.”

Bulloch added that people who show a pattern of binge drinking also show a loss of control over the use of alcohol. That means the behavior can progress into a dependency over time.

“It’s a warning sign,” said Bulloch, who proposed that successful attempts to regulate accessibility in other countries would point towards a need for local policy makers to make a change.

Dr. Scott Patten, who co-authored the study, said that binge drinking can have dangerous consequences.

“There is quite a link between depression and drinking,” said Patten.

But it doesn’t stop there. Patten said that violence, social problems, suicide, and a number of chronic diseases can also result from the excessive consumption of alcohol. He said it’s imperative that both health officials and policy makers take heed.

“Trends suggest tightening alcohol laws rather than loosening them. Or changes to the taxation, or regulations surrounding the marketing,” said Patten.

Some data that wasn’t released in the paper showed that almost 40 per cent of individuals between the ages of 18 and 24 are binge drinkers, something Bulloch attributes to a Canadian culture.

“I think it just becomes a cultural norm, but it doesn’t mean it’s morally or ethically acceptable,” said Bulloch.

Retrieved from: http://www.metronews.ca/news/calgary/2016/10/25/binge-drinking-rising-at-a-dangerous-rate-u-of-c-study.html

University of Saskatchewan expert helps develop first-ever FASD medication guidelines

For decades, experts have searched for answers when it comes to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) but one has remained a mystery, until now.

On Monday, 10 leading experts in this area began work on medication guidelines so health care providers will no longer need to write prescriptions based on their best guess.

READ MORE: ‘Their life is tough’: mom of 2 kids with FASD shares their struggles

The first-ever algorithm developed by an international panel included Dr. Mansfield Mela, head of the psycho-legal and FASD research lab at the University of Saskatchewan (U of S), who hopes to have it published within the year.

“We’ve been encouraged by the hope that there are people with FASD that say, ‘Yes, this works for me’ and we’re also encouraged that there’s literature to support that there are things that actually do work if you get it right,” Mela said.

“We’re hoping that these challenges will be overcome by the algorithm.”

The algorithm should unlock answers for health care providers and eliminate any guessing games when prescribing medications to someone with FASD.

READ MORE: U of R president shares story of daughter’s fetal alcohol spectrum disorder at national conference

The guidelines should also lead to patients being prescribed the right medication the first time, without unwanted side-effects.

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“It really provides the average provider – whether they be a psychiatrist or family doctor – with an expert’s opinion on what has worked because this has just not been done before,” Dr. Marilyn Baetz, head of the department of psychiatry at the U of S, said.

“Rather than treat everybody as a one-off, we’re able to now look and say ‘this is the best evidence overall.’”

According to experts, FASD is often accompanied by other mental health issues which is why it’s difficult to prescribe medication.

It’s estimated 92 per cent of those living with FASD have other psychiatric conditions including ADHD or depression.

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Other studies have shown that a range of 10 to 20 percent of those in the criminal justice system have FASD which is why officials say early intervention is key.

“What we hope is if this algorithm, which we expect will work, intervenes appropriately at a good time, most of the patients will come back, most of the patients will improve in their symptoms,” Mela said.

“More importantly, most FASD individuals have additional problems and if we take care of those additional problems we will improve their quality of life.”

Retrieved from: http://globalnews.ca/news/3023178/expert-at-university-of-saskatchewan-helps-develop-first-ever-fasd-medication-guidelines/

Women now drinking almost as much as men

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Traditionally, alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse have been more commonly associated with men than women. But as more women drink alcohol, a new analysis finds they are catching up with men at an unprecedented rate. This also means women are affected by the same harmful effects of alcohol as men, and the new study highlights the need for women-specific information and educational campaigns in order to reduce the negative effects of alcohol consumption.
[Woman relaxing on a couch holding a glass of wine]

Historically, men have used alcohol anywhere between 2-12 times more than women, the analysis reports.

However, the new research revealed a steady decrease in the sex ratio of alcohol consumption, alcohol abuse, and related harms.

In the early 1900s, males were twice as likely to consume alcohol than females and almost four times more likely to develop an alcohol-related condition.

By contrast, in the late 1900s, the gender gap has nearly disappeared, with males only 1.1 times likelier to consume alcohol than females and just 1.2 times more likely to experience alcohol-related problems.

The closing gap is most obvious in the youngest adults, namely those born as recently as 1990 and aged between 15-25 years.

The analysis – published in the journal BMJ Open – examined studies that tracked alcohol patterns in participants born as early as 1891, ranging all the way to 2001. The research collected data between 1948-2014 and included more than 4 million people. Some of the studies considered spanned over 30 years or more.

Health risks of alcohol use

Alcohol is one of the leading risk factors for global disease, together with smoking, pollution, and high blood pressure.

In 2010, alcohol accounted for 5 percent of deaths worldwide and was the leading risk factor in Eastern Europe, Andean Latin America, and southern sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2012, alcohol accounted for 3.3 million deaths, which is 5.9 percent of the global number of deaths.

In the United States, alcohol is currently listed as the fourth preventable cause of death by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Traditional gender expectations and alcohol consumption

Some studies have pointed to the connection between gender expectations and alcohol consumption patterns. Social norms associate drinking with displays of masculinity, while traditionally defined femininity associates women with abstinence.

Because of sex-based social roles, we also tend to judge women more harshly for using alcohol or having an alcohol addiction.

Gender roles perceived in this traditional way might cause women’s drinking problems to be ignored or mishandled. In fact, a study reported that women often feel that the social stigma stands in the way of seeking and receiving treatment, and women were more likely to report stigmatization than men.

Women must be warned of alcohol risks

The analysis conducted by Slade and team questions traditional assumptions and urges relevant institutions to put women at the center of new prevention and intervention programs:

“Alcohol use and alcohol use disorders have historically been viewed as a male phenomenon. The present study calls this assumption into question and suggests that young women, in particular, should be the target of concerted efforts to reduce the impact of substance use and related harms.”

The study does not provide any explanations for why the gender gap is closing, but speculations include changes in traditionally female gender roles; the researchers point to a study that showed alcohol consumption rates were most similar between men and women in countries where male and female roles were most equal.

The men and women in the analysis were very young and early in their alcohol use, the authors warn. As a result, more studies will have to be carried out as the young males and females age into their 30s and 40s.

Written by Ana Sandoiu

Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313662.php

Women now drinking almost as much as men

download

Taditionally, alcohol consumption and alcohol abuse have been more commonly associated with men than women. But as more women drink alcohol, a new analysis finds they are catching up with men at an unprecedented rate. This also means women are affected by the same harmful effects of alcohol as men, and the new study highlights the need for women-specific information and educational campaigns in order to reduce the negative effects of alcohol consumption.
[Woman relaxing on a couch holding a glass of wine]
The new study finds women are now drinking almost as much as men.

Historically, men have used alcohol anywhere between 2-12 times more than women, the analysis reports.

However, the new research revealed a steady decrease in the sex ratio of alcohol consumption, alcohol abuse, and related harms.

In the early 1900s, males were twice as likely to consume alcohol than females and almost four times more likely to develop an alcohol-related condition.

By contrast, in the late 1900s, the gender gap has nearly disappeared, with males only 1.1 times likelier to consume alcohol than females and just 1.2 times more likely to experience alcohol-related problems.

The closing gap is most obvious in the youngest adults, namely those born as recently as 1990 and aged between 15-25 years.

The analysis – published in the journal BMJ Open – examined studies that tracked alcohol patterns in participants born as early as 1891, ranging all the way to 2001. The research collected data between 1948-2014 and included more than 4 million people. Some of the studies considered spanned over 30 years or more.

Health risks of alcohol use

Alcohol is one of the leading risk factors for global disease, together with smoking, pollution, and high blood pressure.

In 2010, alcohol accounted for 5 percent of deaths worldwide and was the leading risk factor in Eastern Europe, Andean Latin America, and southern sub-Saharan Africa.

In 2012, alcohol accounted for 3.3 million deaths, which is 5.9 percent of the global number of deaths.

In the United States, alcohol is currently listed as the fourth preventable cause of death by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

Traditional gender expectations and alcohol consumption

Some studies have pointed to the connection between gender expectations and alcohol consumption patterns. Social norms associate drinking with displays of masculinity, while traditionally defined femininity associates women with abstinence.

Because of sex-based social roles, we also tend to judge women more harshly for using alcohol or having an alcohol addiction.

Gender roles perceived in this traditional way might cause women’s drinking problems to be ignored or mishandled. In fact, a study reported that women often feel that the social stigma stands in the way of seeking and receiving treatment, and women were more likely to report stigmatization than men.

Women must be warned of alcohol risks

The analysis conducted by Slade and team questions traditional assumptions and urges relevant institutions to put women at the center of new prevention and intervention programs:

“Alcohol use and alcohol use disorders have historically been viewed as a male phenomenon. The present study calls this assumption into question and suggests that young women, in particular, should be the target of concerted efforts to reduce the impact of substance use and related harms.”

The study does not provide any explanations for why the gender gap is closing, but speculations include changes in traditionally female gender roles; the researchers point to a study that showed alcohol consumption rates were most similar between men and women in countries where male and female roles were most equal.

The men and women in the analysis were very young and early in their alcohol use, the authors warn. As a result, more studies will have to be carried out as the young males and females age into their 30s and 40s.

Written by Ana Sandoiu

Retrieved from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/313662.php

FASD is a public safety and justice priority for Aboriginal groups

Federal, provincial, and territorial ministers met in Halifax, Nova Scotia, on October 14-5 to discuss issues of justice and public safety in Canada including the impact of FASD. Co-chairs of the meeting were Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybold, Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, Ralph Goodale, and the Minister of Justice and Atto2016-09-life-of-pix-free-stock-leaves-red-sky-leeroyrney General of Nova Scotia, Diana Whalen. Five national indigenous groups participated in the meeting: the Native Women’s Association of Canada, the Assembly of First Nations, the Métis National Council,Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, and the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples.

Vice-Chief Kim Beaudin from the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples outlined the groups’ priorities to the ministers. Stating that “the most significant issue is violence against women and girls” Beaudin further stressed related issues of FASD, Indigenous girls’ health and safety, violence against Indigenous women, and family justice reforms for Indigenous women.

During the meeting, Ministers discussed the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action. It underscores the need to address FASD in action numbers 33 and 34, in particular. Ministers agreed to collaborate on addressing solutions for the economic and social impacts of alcohol abuse and to release their final report on FASD and Access to Justice.

FASD prevention efforts in Canada call for multiple approaches that are holistic and move beyond just advising women not to drink during pregnancy (See: Four-part Model of Prevention). The impact of violence and trauma in all its forms on the mental and physical health and safety of women and their families and communities informs and shapes these efforts.

For more on related topics, see earlier blog posts:

Retrieved from: https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/2380007/posts/1198088240

Canada’s family violence rates are staggering, says new report

Canada’s family violence rates are staggering, says new report

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