It’s not always easy to see when your drinking has crossed the line from moderate or social use to problem drinking. But if you consume alcohol to cope with difficulties or to avoid feeling bad, you’re in potentially dangerous territory. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse can sneak up on you, so it’s important to be aware of the warning signs and take steps to cut back if you recognize them. Understanding the problem is the first step to overcoming it.

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Researchers recruited 192 participants (99 women, 93 men), 18 to 25 years old, who completed the Multidimensional Personality Questionnaire (MPQ) to assess negative emotionality, and answered questions pertaining to alcohol and other drug use. The participants then received 10 mg d-amphetamine, and their self-reported drug effects were assessed. The researchers then evaluated the relationship between the subjective response to amphetamine and MPQ negative emotionality on the measures of substance use.

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Chronic use of alcohol and marijuana during youth is associated with poorer neural structure, function, and metabolism, as well as worsened neurocognitive abilities into later adolescence and adulthood. This may be due to biological and psychosocial transitions occurring during adolescence that impart increased vulnerability to neurotoxic influences. A study of longitudinal changes in fiber tract integrity associated with adolescent alcohol and marijuana use during 1.5 years supports previous findings of reduced white-matter integrity in these youth.

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Understanding the relationship between alcohol and anxiety at the molecular level could offer new possibilities for developing drugs to help patients with anxiety disorders who also have a history of heavy alcohol use. Doctors have long recognized a link between alcoholism and anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Those who drink heavily are at increased risk for traumatic events like car accidents and domestic violence, but that only partially explains the connection. New research using mice reveals heavy alcohol use actually rewires brain circuitry, making it harder for alcoholics to recover psychologically following a traumatic experience.

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There are many factors that affect weight loss, making the process more complicated than it may seem. The body produces different hormones in response to different types of foods and/or drinks. Losing weight is not only about calorie consumption but also about the types of foods and drinks consumed. Alcohol is one of the worst culprits when it comes to inhibiting weight loss because it disrupts the delicate balance of nutrition, fluid and hormones needed to lose fat.

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