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The Alcohol 'Problem' Podcast
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The Alcohol 'Problem' Podcast

Author: James Morris

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The Alcohol Problem Podcast aims to explore the nature of problem drinking with Dr James Morris and a range of guests
14 Episodes
In this episode we talk to Prof. Matt Field about the evidence behind Dry January and temporary abstinence. We discuss what is known about the possible health and other benefits for drinkers from  temporarily abstaining from alcohol.  This includes who temporary abstinence may or may not be suitable for and implications for understanding drinking and alcohol addiction or dependence. Professor Matt Field is a Professor of Psychology specialising in addiction at the University of Sheffield. He has published extensively on a range of addiction related topics including evaluations of Dry January, and is involved in ongoing research on the subject. Support the show
In this episode Professor Tony Moss talks about key drivers of drinking behaviour and alcohol-related risks, problems and causes. This covers how alcohol use can develop into addiction, and the complex nature of associated problems and the range of psychological, social and sometime biological factors involved. Prof Tony Moss is a  Professor of Addictive Behaviour Science in the Centre for Addictive Behaviours Research at London South Bank University. He has conducted a range of research related to the psychology of alcohol use and drinking behaviours. Prof Moss set up a 'pub lab' to improve validity of alcohol experiments and has appeared on multiple TV shows exploring the subject. He has recently co-edited a book on Evaluating the Brain Disease Model of Addiction and can be found on Twitter @tonymossukSupport the show
 In this episode we speak to Jon Ashworth MP about his experience and views of parental alcohol problems and affected others, as well as parliamentary drinking culture, alcohol policy and related issues. Jon has spoken openly about his father's alcohol problems which lead to his death in 2010. He has campaigned and supported a range of action to help people affected by parental drinking, including having run multiple marathons in support of NACOA. Jon is currently Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, having previously been Labour’s longest running Shadow Secretary of State for Health and Social Care.Support and further information relating to parental alcohol problems can be found at: the show
In this episode we talk to Dr Marc Lewis,  a neuroscientist and former professor of developmental psychology. We explore what addiction is from a neuroscience perspective, including why Marc does not consider it a disease, despite changes to the brain. We discuss how addiction relates to habit, compulsion, and how these can be understood as functions of the brain and human behaviour. Marc also talks about his own alcohol use and reflections about alcohol as a complex drug - both good and bad. Marc has authored or co-authored more than fifty journal articles in neuroscience and developmental psychology.  His first book, Memoirs of an Addicted Brain, is the first to blend memoir and science in addiction studies. His last book, The Biology of Desire,  refutes the medical view of addiction as a brain disease through both neuroscience and real world explorations of addiction problems. Support the show
In this episode we talk to Dr Cassie Boness about the idea of ‘Alcohol Use Disorder’ (AUD) as a widely applied concept in the identification and treatment of alcohol problems. Alcohol Use Disorder is the basis for identifying an alcohol problem in the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM, but also used as a broader term for alcohol-related problems including by the UK’s National Institute for Health & Care Excellence (NICE). Cassie is a  Research Assistant Professor at the University of New Mexico's Center on Alcohol, Substance Use and Addictions (CASA) and a clinical psychologist.  We discuss the basis of Alcohol Use Disorder and some of the issues around such attempts to identify the very complex nature of alcohol use and problems. This includes discussion on Cassie and others work on developing a new framework to better identify AUD - the  The Etiologic, Theory-Based, Ontogenetic Hierarchical Framework of Alcohol Use Disorder. Support the show
In this episode we talk to Dr Lucy Foulkes about labelling and language in the context of mental health and alcohol issues.  We discuss how labels like alcoholic or schizophrenia may serve an important role for people to identify or respond to problems, but also carry important implications for stigma and recovery. We explore how there are many similarities between the pros and cons of labelling in mental health and for alcohol issues, but some important differences. Dr Lucy Foulkes is a senior research fellow at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families and an honorary lecturer in psychology at UCL. Her research focuses on mental health and social cognition, particularly in adolescence. She is the author of the book Losing Our Minds: What Mental Illness Really Is And What It Isn't (Penguin Random House, 2021), which explores how we talk about mental health and illness.Support the show
In this episode we explore alcohol use and problems amongst older adults. Alcohol problems have been rising in recent decades amongst older drinkers, despite falls in consumption in other age groups. We talk to Dr Sarah Wadd, a researcher at the University of Bedfordshire, about some of the reasons behind alcohol problems amongst older adults and what can be done.John Slater also talks about his lived experience of developing an alcohol problem and his path to recovery, with help from the Drink Wise Age Well programme which ran from 2015-2020.WARNING: This episode contains mention of childhood trauma/abuse. If you may be upset by this you may not wish to listen. If you need help or want support relating to alcohol use in the UK, please visit the NHS support page or Alcohol Change UK pages, or call Drinkline on  0300 123 1110 (weekdays 9am to 8pm, weekends 11am to 4pm). Support the show
In this episode I talk to two guests about the risks of alcohol use and attempts to communicate these via the UK's recommended guidelines of 14 units a week. Firstly I talk to Tom Chivers,  science editor at UnHerd and author. We talk about how the risks of alcohol use can or should be evaluated and communicated. Tom recently co-authored a book How to read numbers which includes a Statistical Style Guide  for journalists. Next I speak to Colin Angus,  a Senior Research Fellow in the Sheffield Alcohol Research Group within ScHARR. We talk about the science and development of the UK’s 14 units a week recommended guidelines. Support the show
In this episode I talk to Chelsey (CJ) Flood, a novelist, lecturer, and the creator of Beautiful Hangover, a blog/community about alcohol and recovery. Chelsey talks about how alcohol came into her life, how it became problematic, the role of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in her recovery and coping strategies she has found post-alcohol. We discuss the pros and cons of peer support, abstinence vs moderation goals, how alcohol problems can develop, how we became aware of our problem drinking and other recovery reflections.Chelsey has two books authored as C.J Flood, Infinite Sky and Nightwanderers published by Simon and Schuster, and you can find her writing about sobriety/drinking at the show
In this episode we talk to Dr Melissa Oldham about why alcohol consumption appears to have fallen amongst children and young people over recent decades. Evidence shows that overall falls in UK consumption have been driven entirely by young people abstaining more frequently from alcohol, and when they do drink drinking less, and less often. However, the reasons for the these falls remain uncertain. For instance what role have changes in parenting, availability, social media and other cultural shifts affecting children and young people had, and what can we learn from this? Dr Melissa Oldham is a Research Fellow at University College London's Tobacco and Alcohol Research Group. If you are interested in taking part in research about drinking less, please visit the show
In this episode guests talk about the effects of COVID-19 pandemic on alcohol use.Guests include:Dr Sadie Boniface and Habib Kadiri from the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS) who provide an overview of some of the key indications from the research and importance of looking beyond media headlines.Dr Emily Nicholls and Dr Dominic Conroy talk about their research based on interviews with a number of drinkers reflecting on their alcohol use in response to the pandemic. Dr Gillian Shorter talks about British Psychological Society guidelines to support healthcare proffessionals in addressing alcohol issues.Daren Lee, a counsellor at a national addiction service and trainee psychologist currently researching the experience of people previously engaged in face to face recovery groups and have tried their online equivalent during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rosy and Martin, who offer their insights into their relationship with alcohol over the last year. See here for the latest IAS report on alcohol consumption during the pandemic. See here for COVID alcohol support resources from Alcohol Change UK.Support the show
In this episode we talk to Dr Wendy Dossett, an Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Chester,  about spirituality in recovery. This is discussed in terms of its interpretations through Alcoholics Anonymous as well spirituality in Buddhist-orientated recovery movements. Issues include how people make sense of their 'higher power' and how this may function in recovery, as well as other issues such as stigma, the 'disease model' and the pros and cons of self-labelling as 'an alcoholic' in different contexts. Wendy draws on her experience over the last eight years of researching the ways members of Twelve Step Fellowships talk about spirituality. Her project is called the Higher Power Project which you can find more about here. Support the show
In this episode we talk to Dr Sally Adams, a hangover researcher at the University of Bath's Addiction and Mental Health Group about the science around hangovers! Questions include what hangovers really are, how individuals vary in their hangover symptoms, what really 'works' to treat them and other common hangover myths. For information or support relating to help with your or someone else's drinking please see here. Support the show
In this episode I talk to journalist and TV broadcaster Adrian Chiles, the man behind the widely applauded 2018 BBC documentary, ‘Drinkers Like Me’. The programme has been credited with prompting a national conversation about alcohol use, and Adrian has continued to explore the subject and is writing a book about how to drink less. I spoke to Adrian about his journey and key questions relating to drinking and moderation. Please note: this episode explores moderation as a route to addressing potentially problematic/harmful drinking. This is not to negate abstinence related goals rather than to present and explore moderation in the context of the host guest's experiences. Anyone with physical alcohol dependence should seek medical advice before making changes to their drinking. For information or support relating to help with your or someone else's drinking please see here. Support the show
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