Addiction

Alcohol harms the brain in teen years –– before and after that, too

Claire McCarthy, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

During adolescence, the brain grows and changes in crucial ways and is particularly vulnerable to the effects of alcohol. When teens and young adults drink alcohol, it can interfere with brain development processes and cause long-lasting effects.

The health effects of too much gaming

While playing video games can be a fun pastime, and there are some potential benefits, there are health risks associated with too much gaming. They include repetitive stress injuries, vision problems, sleep deprivation, depression, and possibly addiction to playing.

How to avoid a relapse when things seem out of control

This year has been extremely stressful for everyone, and that stress can lead to harmful habits. For those working to stay in recovery from an addiction, the challenge is even more profound. Those in this situation know that the more stressful things are, the more important it is to practice the healthy habits that sustain recovery.

Mind-body medicine in addiction recovery

Mind-body medicine, the use of behavioral and lifestyle interventions to address medical problems, is becoming a key component of recovery from addiction. There are now several scientifically-based mind-body medicine options for people in recovery, and promising research on their effectiveness.

Blown up in smoke: Young adults who vape at greater risk of COVID symptoms

While the majority of deaths from COVID-19 have occurred in people 65 or older, younger people who smoke or vape are at much higher risk of becoming infected — twice as likely as those in the same age group who do not use any nicotine-containing substance.

Brain plasticity in drug addiction: Burden and benefit

The brain’s neuroplasticity — its ability to adapt and change — makes it possible for us to learn new skills and solve complex problems, but it also makes some people more vulnerable to the consequences of substance use disorders. This same ability also makes it possible for a person to make cognitive modifications in order to change an addictive behavior.

If cannabis becomes a problem: How to manage withdrawal

There is disagreement over whether or not there is such a thing as a cannabis withdrawal syndrome, but it’s definitely real, and with increased availability of legal marijuana and other products, even those who use it medicinally need to be aware of the symptoms, and what to do if they think they have it.

Recovering from addiction during a time of uncertainty and social distancing

Because the very nature of recovery support involves face-to-face interaction, whether in support group meetings or dispensing medication, it is at odds with the need for social distancing during the COVID-19 crisis, creating barriers to receiving support and maintaining recovery.

EVALI: New information on vaping-induced lung injury

Molly Wolf, MD

Contributor

The surge in lung injuries and deaths related to the use of vaping products has raised many questions, along with concerns about potential long-term health issues caused by various ingredients and the heating process.

Dopamine fasting: Misunderstanding science spawns a maladaptive fad

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter involved in the body’s system for reward and pleasure. A recent trend has people avoiding stimulating activities in the belief that doing so allows the body to reset from being overstimulated, but the original idea has been misunderstood and wrongly applied.