GaIA Healthcare participating in the ISAM BUSAN 2018 meeting

GaIA Healthcare participating in the ISAM BUSAN 2018 meeting

ISAM Bousan 2018

We are very pleased to announce that GaIA Healthcare is participating in the ISAM BUSAN 2018 meeting.

We are organising a symposium on alcohol treatment pathways with invited speaker Dr Dimos Fotopoulos, Consultant Psychiatrist from Greece and vice-chair of the OKANA (Organisation Against Drugs of Greece). Dr Fotopoulos will talk about the state of treatment services for alcohol disorders in Greece.

Dr Christos Kouimtsidis of GaIA will talk about the ingredients of a successful community alcohol treatment service.

The symposium will take place on Sunday November the 4th at 13:50 (S38) Room 6.

For programme information visit:

European Opiate Addiction Treatment Association (EUROPAD)

European Opiate Addiction Treatment Association (EUROPAD)

The 2018 European Opiate Addiction Treatment Association (EUROPAD) takes place in Krakow, Poland

Professor Riaz Khan in collaboration with
the International Society of Addiction Medicine (ISAM)
organises the symposium titled

“Hot topics in Substance Use Disorder patients”

and talks alongside Dr Christos Kouimtsidis
at the 2018

European Opiate Addiction Treatment Association (EUROPAD)

on Sunday 27th of May at 12:00.


  • Prof Riaz Khan will give a talk on

Public health approach as the basis for addiction policy, the Swiss report on the challenge of addictions.

Current addiction policies in most European countries including Switzerland consist primarily of a range of separate policies on alcohol, tobacco and illegal psychoactive substances. There is little or no coordination between these policy sectors.

The Swiss report on the Challenge of Addiction is a contribution towards an integrated understanding of the addiction dilemma. The report highlights the basis of a public health approach as the fundamental foundation for an addiction policy. From a health policy perspective, the aim is to broaden the scope of addiction policy in Switzerland by its strategic focus and system towards delivering services.

The report recommends ten principles which are intended to contribute to a coherent policy response to the problematic use of all psychoactive substances and to behaviours with addictive potential.


  • Dr Christos Kouimtsidis will address the issue:

Could and should Cognitive Behaviour models being applied across substance misuse groups; are there more differences than commonalities?

Cognitive Behaviour Therapy models are used in the treatment of addictions across different substances of abuse although there is little evidence available to support such approach.  These models are based on Expectancy theory which argues that positive outcome expectancies and negative outcome expectancies are important for the initiation, maintenance and recovery from addiction.

Despite the above common theoretical background measuring instruments for basic concepts such as outcome expectancies have been developed and validated for each of the substances separately.

In this session we present data from the first ever attempt to develop an outcome expectancies questionnaire for smokers, alcohol, opioid and stimulant users in treatment (Substance Use Beliefs Questionnaire). Furthermore we will discuss if these data support the propositions about the assumed causal relationships deduced from Cognitive Behaviour Therapy models and they support one model better than others for each one of the substance groups.


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.

Psychotic-like experiences with cannabis use predict cannabis cessation and desire to quit

Musa Sami 1,2Caitlin Notley 3Christos Kouimtsidis 4,5Michael Lynskey 6 and Sagnik Bhattacharyya 1,2 

  • 1 Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London, UK
  • 2 South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, UK
  • 3 Norwich Medical School, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK
  • 4 Surrey and Borders Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, UK
  • 5 Department of Medicine, Division of Brain Sciences, Imperial College London, UK
  • 6 National Addiction Centre, Addiction Sciences Building, King’s College London, UK


Background. Evidence suggests that cannabis-induced psychotic-like experiences may be a marker of psychosis proneness. The effect of such experiences on cannabis use has not systematically been examined.

Methods. We undertook a mixed-methods online survey of 1231 cannabis users (including 926 continued users) using the Cannabis Experiences Questionnaire. We examined the effect of psychotic-like and pleasurable experiences on cessation of cannabis and intention to quit. Socio-demographic variables, cannabis use parameters and substance misuse history were included as covariates. Free-text data explored subjective reasons for changes in use. Results. Cessation of cannabis use was associated with greater psychotic-like experiences [ p <0.001, Exp(B) 1.262, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.179–1.351], whilst continued cannabis users were more likely to report pleasurable experiences [ p < 0.001, Exp(B) 0.717, 95% CI 0.662–0.776]. Intention to quit cannabis in continued users was associated with greater psychotic-like experiences [ p < 0.003, Exp(B) 1.131, 95% CI 1.044–1.225], whilst intention to not quit was significantly associated with increased pleasurable experiences [ p < 0.015, Exp(B) 0.892, 95% CI 0.814–0.978]. Whereas former users clearly ascribed cessation to negative experiences, continued users who expressed intention to quit less readily ascribed the intention to negative experiences.

Conclusions. Elucidation of psychotic-like experiences may form the basis of a therapeutic intervention for those who wish to quit. Cessation in those with cannabis-induced psychotomimetic experiences may offset the risk for the development of a psychotic disorder, in this higher risk group.

Please see original article.