substance misuse

A drug is a chemical substance that acts on the brain and nervous system, changing a person’s mood, emotion or state of consciousness. Drugs are often classified by the effect they have.
Stimulants, such as cocaine, make people feel full of energy. Depressants (or sedatives), such as heroin, make people feel relaxed. Hallucinogens, such as LSD, make people see, feel or hear things that are not real. Drug or substance misuse is when a person regularly takes one or more drugs to change their mood, emotion or state of consciousness.

Our substance misuse Blogs

Smoking and risk of schizophrenia: new study finds a dose-response relationship

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Marcus Munafò looks at the mounting evidence about smoking and risk of schizophrenia, including a new case-control study that provides clear evidence of a prospective association between cigarette smoking and a subsequent diagnosis of schizophrenia.

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Smoking is associated with an increased risk of dementia

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Caroline Struthers reports on a recent meta-analysis, which finds that smoking is associated with an increased risk of dementia. The review finds that quitting smoking reduces the risk to the same level as those who have never smoked.

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Pharmacotherapy for anxiety and comorbid alcohol use disorders

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Natasha Clarke summarises a recent Cochrane review of pharmacotherapy for anxiety and comorbid alcohol use disorders, which found only very low quality evidence about the effectiveness of medication (buspirone, paroxetine, sertraline) for treating patients with both conditions.

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CBT for substance misuse in young people

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Eleanor Kennedy summarises a Campbell systematic review of CBT for substance misuse in young people in outpatient treatment, which is inconclusive in terms of CBT being more or less effective than other therapies.

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Alcohol use confounds the relationship between cannabis use and conversion to psychosis

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Kathryn Walsh presents a study of ‘high risk’ young people, which found that cannabis abuse or dependence significantly increased the risk of conversion to psychosis. The research also found that alcohol use weakened the relationship between cannabis use and conversion to psychosis.

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The effect of smoke-free psychiatric hospitals on smoking behaviour: more evidence needed

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Olivia Maynard appraises a recent systematic review, which investigates the impact of smoke-free psychiatric hospitals on patients’ motivations to quit and smoking behaviour.

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Promoting smoking cessation in people with schizophrenia

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Meg Fluharty summarises a recent clinical overview of smoking cessation in people with severe mental illness, which provides useful practical advice to clinicians who are trying to help service users with schizophrenia, psychosis and other conditions to quit smoking

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Varenicline supports smoking reduction and smoking cessation, according to RCT

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Paul Christiansen highlights an RCT of varenicline on smoking cessation through smoking reduction, which suggests that varenicline may be an effective treatment for smokers who wish to gradually reduce their cigarette consumption.

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Motivational interviewing may help people quit smoking, but more research is needed

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Olivia Maynard summarises the recent Cochrane systematic review on motivational interviewing for smoking cessation, which concludes that motivational interviewing may assist people to quit smoking, but does not tell us much about the actual components of MI that optimise the success of the intervention.

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