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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
19 Episodes
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In this episode we discuss alcohol treatment with two highly experienced practitioners, Dr Luke Mitcheson and Dr Mike Kelleher. We cover key components of effective treatment, mental health and other important issues, and other important issues such as the importance of the individual in leading their recovery. Dr Luke Mitcheson is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist, South London and Maudsley NHS Trust and Clinical Advisor to the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities. He has work...
In this episode we talk to Millie Gooch, founder of Sober Girl Society. Millie talks about her journey to sobriety and how this led her to setting up alcohol free spaces and events for the sober curious. We discuss the current role of sobriety and possible reasons behind recent growth in sobriety movements, mindful drinking and other alcohol-free communities. As a journalist, Millie has written for a range of publications and has been featured everywhere from ELLE and Stylist to the BBC...
In this episode we talk to Joe Heeney about his life and experience of alcohol problems and recovery.Joe is a former CEO of Resolve, a drug and alcohol treatment service based in Hertfordshire, which he founded in 2008 after experiencing his own drug and alcohol issues. Joe worked for 14 years in the Fire Brigade at a time when heavy drinking was normalised. Joe is now retired and lives in the Peak District with his wife. He now enjoys playing golf and spending time with his family and friend...
In this episode Dr James Morris evaluates the Huberman Lab's alcohol episode, particularly addressing why the language and terms used around alcohol problems are important. For instance, whilst the Huberman Lab's episode provides a detailed description of the ways alcohol can affect the brain, body and health, in using alcoholism terminology it overlooks a number of important issues. Notably, alcoholism is a non-scientific concept and embedded with stigma and myths about alcohol problems and ...
In this episode we explore what Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is and how it works. First we talk to Dr Hannah Glassman, a qualitative researcher and psychologist who has published multiple studies on experiences of people in AA. Next we talk to Prof John F Kelly who has conducted extensive research into how recovery and AA groups work. We examine a range of issues including the history of AA, expectations and traditions typically found in AA, who AA may or may not be suitable for, how AA may help...
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 Shef...
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...
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 St...
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...
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 Universi...
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...
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 Dri...
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 i...
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 ot...
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 ...
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 ta...
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-labelli...
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 p...
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