The discovery that alcohol has the potential to damage our brains at levels at which we might find surprising and in ways that are not usually detected, has major implications for our society. by Tony Rao It’s a well-known fact that drinking too much alcohol can have a serious impact on your health, including damaging your liver. But how much is too much? For conditions such as liver cirrhosis, that’s usually more than 21 units of alcohol a week – around two bottles of wine a week or one and a half pints of beer a day. The UK’s Chief Medical Officer recommends … Continue reading Dementia Has No Cure. But We Might Know Now What Causes It.
by Nick Leftley Sometimes, the “good” version of you — the one that successfully holds down a job, keeps a relationship together and maintains a semblance of a normal life — is eclipsed by a different one: Enter Drunk You. This is the you that thinks eight cheeseburgers is a reasonable dinner; that sees a fistfight as a valid response to being bumped into; that thinks, hey, it’s really important that I tell my much-more-sober boss every detail of the last 10 years of my sex life. Drunk You is the you that tries to loudly undo all the good that Sober You does, a rampaging … Continue reading IS DRUNK YOU THE REAL YOU?
Carl Hart says drug addiction is often distorted by scientists and the media. BY MARK MACNAMARA Carl Hart is a neuroscientist and Ziff Professor of Psychology at Columbia University—he was the first tenured African-American professor of sciences at Columbia. His research focuses on the “behavioral and neuropharmacological effects of psychoactive drugs in humans.” Hart’s new book, Drug Use For Grown-Ups, is a bold and engaging effort to counter what he sees as generations of misinformation and moral grandstanding about drug use. Today’s “sensationalistic media coverage of the opioid crisis continues a long, awful tradition of exploiting ignorance and fear to vilify … Continue reading I Am a Heroin User. I Do Not Have a Drug Problem
Regulators will soon grapple with how to safely administer powerful psychedelics for treating depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. by Paul Tullis On a sunny day in London in 2015, Kirk Rutter rode the Tube to Hammersmith Hospital in hopes of finally putting an end to his depression. Rutter had lived with the condition off and on for years, but the burden had grown since the death of his mother in 2011, followed by a relationship break-up and a car accident the year after. It felt as if his brain was stuck on what he describes as “an automatic circuit”, repeating … Continue reading How ecstasy and psilocybin are shaking up psychiatry
by SARAH SLOAT EMBRACED THEN VILIFIED, the drug lysergic acid diethylamide is on a path toward redemption. While LSD remains a legally restricted psychoactive substance, scientists are pursuing its therapeutic potential — continuing a conversation that began in the 1950s. LSD’s prosocial effects hint at its potential for helping with conditions from anxiety to alcoholism. Happiness, trust, and empathy are all effects of the psychedelic. Scientists haven’t been able to identify the exact neurobiological mechanisms underlying these feel-good experiences, though. And that has stalled efforts to create treatments that use LSD. A new study might have the answer. The research identifies three features of the … Continue reading CAN LSD HELP STRUGGLING PEOPLE MAKE FRIENDS? WHY A NEW STUDY IS SO PROMISING
‘Natural’ remedies are metaphysically inconsistent and unscientific. Yet they offer something that modern medicine cannot by Alan Jay Levinovitz is an associate professor of philosophy and religion at James Madison University in Virginia. His most recent book is The Gluten Lie: And Other Myths About What You Eat (2015) and Natural: How Faith in Nature’s Goodness Leads to Harmful Fads, Unjust Laws, and Flawed Science (2020). Edited by Sam Haselby What follows is a list of ‘natural remedies’, familiar to anyone with more than a passing interest in contemporary natural healing. These were put together specially in April 2020, as a COVID-19 protocol by Cristina … Continue reading Natural and unnatural
A new theory explains that dreaming opens our minds to unexplored possibilities. BY ANTONIO ZADRA & ROBERT STICKGOLD Without a doubt, the biggest questions about dreaming are all variants on this question: Why do we dream? We began studying dreaming in the early 1990s and, between the two of us, have published over 200 scientific papers on sleep and dreams. Pulling together a variety of compelling neuroscientific ideas and state-of-the-art findings in the fields of sleep and dream research, we propose a new and innovative model of why we dream. We call this model NEXTUP. It proposes that our dreams … Continue reading Dreaming Is Like Taking LSD
POSTED BY NUPUR TRIVEDI FOR WELLBEING Writer Nupur Trivedi questioned her relationship with alcohol during lockdown and decided to give it up for good. Here’s what she gained from going sober. If you had told me last year that I’d be heading into the holiday season sober, I probably would have had a good laugh before ordering another pint. Last December I had recently moved to the UK from Australia and was planning on going to as many pubs and Christmas market bars as I could before starting work in January. In 2020, rarely a weekend went by without a night of heavy drinking with friends. Binge drinking felt … Continue reading “I gave up alcohol and here’s how it’s helping me get through the pandemic”
Studies show a connection between mental illness and marijuana use, but it’s one that’s complex. by Maria Loreto The use of marijuana has many scientifically proven health benefits. These can be as simple as helping users relax or as complex as managing chronic pain or stimulating appetite. There’s a lot we don’t know about marijuana, especially when discussing its negative side effects; aside from red eyes and the occasional bout of paranoia, can the use of the plant worsen conditions like mental illness? There’s not a lot of evidence or scientific research out there, but some studies have found links … Continue reading Can Smoking Weed Regularly Actually Worsen a Mental Illness?
What goes on inside the locked doors of an alcoholic’s isolated binge — and why do we almost never see it on TV? by Gavin Jenkins In “Adjournment,” the sixth episode of Netflix’s hit mini-series The Queen’s Gambit, Beth Harmon’s success as a chess player propels her into a financial situation where she can buy her adoptive father’s house. After the deal is made, her drinking spirals out of control, and in one scene, she drunkenly dances alone in her underwear to Shocking Blue’s “Venus.” Countless movies and TV shows have portrayed characters battling addiction, but this scene hit me harder … Continue reading THE SADNESS AND THRILL OF DRINKING ALONE