Prof Alex Baldacchino at CARE project in Oslo

Prof Alex Baldacchino at CARE project in Oslo

Oslo skyline

Professor Alex Baldacchino will be in Oslo between 1st and 3rd May as a scientific adviser on the invitation of the CARE project.

The CARE project, funded by the Norwegian Research Council from 2016, is looking at the interface between mental health and child welfare services in Norway.

This will focus around the assessment of health and social care needs of children at risk especially children of mothers in opioid replacement treatment and others entering out of home care and children living in foster homes.

Inside the secret lives of functioning heroin addicts

Inside the secret lives of functioning heroin addicts

Functional Heroin Addicts

(CNN) – They’re not slumped over in alleyways with used needles by their sides. Their dignity, at least from outside appearances, remains intact. They haven’t lost everything while chasing an insatiable high.

They are functioning heroin addicts – people who hold down jobs, pay the bills and fool their families. For some, addiction is genetic; they’re wired this way. For others, chronic pain and lack of legal opioids landed them here. Or experimentation got them hooked and changed everything.

What addicts have in common, according to experts, is a disease that has more to do with their brains than the substances they use. About 85% of people can take a pain pill, for example, and never crave it again.
This is a story about the others, those travelling the dangerous road of functional addiction. What works for them now, experts explain, can easily and lethally be derailed.
Hanging in the balance are people you may never imagine: peers, co-workers and neighbours. Loved ones, bosses and teachers. Respected members of your community who, for the benefit of everyone’s understanding, want to be heard.

Click here to read the full article


iCAAD London 2018

iCAAD London 2018

Dr Christos Kouimtsidis and GaIA Healthcare will be present at the iCAAD London 2018 event.

Christos will give a talk on “Alcohol misuse in special populations”, on Wednesday 9th of May at 11:30am.
Please see the abstract below.

For information about the event please visit:

iCAAD London 2018

Alcohol misuse in special populations; learning disabilities and people with traumatic brain injury

There is little and conflicting evidence on the prevalence of alcohol misuse and treatment available for people with Intellectual Disabilities (also referred as Learning Disabilities). It is hypothesised though that similarly to other vulnerable populations, following the closure of long-stay hospitals, adults with ID have increasingly lived more independently in the community. This has increased their exposure to environmental stressors, substance misuse and alcohol misuse. Prevalence of alcohol misuse is reported to be from as low as 0.5 -2.5% to as high as 22.5% against a prevalence rate of 25% and 15% in men and women respectively in the general population. Research suggests that alcohol misuse is experienced by nearly 50% of adults with ID who are drinkers and that this negatively impacts on their functioning, relationships, physical and mental health, and safety.

Overall, the limited literature that is available suggests that motivational interviewing and education on the effects of excessive drinking using accessible materials are key elements in treatment programmes for adults with ID. In general, interventions that are effective in other population groups may also be delivered to adults with ID, but adaptations in terms of session duration, treatment content, carer participation and therapist delivery are necessary.

The presentation is based on the experience gained from the first in the UK feasibility study on this topic.

Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) is the commonest cause of disability in younger adults. Yet the community care for patients with TBI varies hugely in the UK and those with TBI often fall through the gaps of clinical mental health and neurological services. Each year an estimated 1 million people attend hospital emergency departments in the UK following TBI, and chronic psychiatric, behavioural and cognitive difficulties are common. There is a well-established link between TBI and alcohol misuse, with both TBI leading to increased levels of alcohol misuse and alcohol misuse contributing to risk of TBIs. The effects of neuronal damage have been shown to increase after TBI accompanied by alcohol intoxication, making this a pressing and timely topic for discussion. The presentation draws from the experience of setting up and running the first ever pilot of a combined TBI and alcohol brief intervention service in London.