EAP NewsBrief
Dec. 3, 2013

Holiday stress can amplify mental health, addiction issues
The Huffington Post
Most people look at the holidays as a happy season, a season where you can catch up with loved ones and friends you haven't seen all year. However, this time of year can be the most stressful and dangerous for those who suffer from mental health and addiction issues.More

Researchers ID gene network associated with alcohol dependence
University of Iowa Health Care via Medical News Today
There is good evidence from studies of families and twins that genetics plays an important role in the development of alcoholism. However, hundreds of genes likely are involved in this complex disorder, with each variant contributing only a very small effect. Thus, identifying individual risk genes is difficult. Using a new approach that combines genome-wide association studies with information about which human proteins interact with one another, researchers have identified a group of 39 genes that together are strongly associated with alcoholism.More

The return on investing in personal resilience
Government Security News
Why haven’t organizations invested more in providing enterprise-wide solutions to improve personal resilience? Why do so few companies offer their employees resilience planning tools, either directly or through their employee assistance program? It seems like a no-brainer — particularly when the ROI is not only self-evident, but in the nation's economic best interest.More

Research may lead to PTSD treatment
The Tampa Tribune
Research into the growth of neurons in the brains of mice at the University of South Florida has led to an unexpected finding: Psilocybin, the psychedelic ingredient of certain mushrooms, might one day help treat post-traumatic stress disorder. Juan Sanchez-Ramos, a professor of neurology at USF, and a former researcher in his laboratory published were attempting to determine the effects of psilocybin on the creation of new neurons in the brain, which helps learning and the development of short-term memory.More

Domestic violence reaches into the workplace
Lethbridge Herald
The long-lasting effects of domestic violence can reach far outside the home, following victims everywhere they go and causing damage elsewhere in the community — even at work, according to Jan Reimer, executive director of Canada's Alberta Council of Women's Shelters. Employers must develop proper written policies to deal with violence in the workplace, and combating the negative impacts of domestic violence should be part of that plan, Reimer said.More

UK street drug survey highlights risks of new designer drugs for young people
DrugScope via Medical News Today
The 2013 street drug survey from DrugScope, the U.K.'s leading drug information charity, highlights the health risks faced by young people experimenting with drugs designed to mimic illegal drugs and evade the drug laws, often called 'legal highs' or new psychoactive drugs. The survey, to be published in DrugScope's magazine Druglink, gathered information from 25 agencies in England, Scotland and Wales to create a snapshot of the nature of new drug use among young people and how agencies were responding.More

Even mild blast injuries tied to long-term brain changes in veterans
HealthDay News
Soldiers who suffer mild brain injuries from blasts have long-term changes in their brains, a small new study suggests. Diagnosing mild brain injuries caused by explosions can be challenging using standard CT or MRI scans, the researchers said. For their study, they turned to a special type of MRI called diffusion tensor imaging.More

Better connectivity needed to improve prescription drug monitoring programs
By Pamela Lewis Dolan
Among the most powerful tools healthcare providers have to combat the growing prescription drug abuse problem are prescription drug monitoring databases. Even though physicians and PAs in most states have access to a drug monitoring database, few actually use them. Efforts are underway to change that. Using a prescription drug monitoring database, providers can find out whether a patient to whom they are about to prescribe a controlled substance has already filled a similar prescription written by another provider. Using this information, providers can identify so-called "doctor shoppers" and also identify patients who might need addiction intervention.More

Workplace flexibility reveals drawbacks
American Society for Training & Development
Employees who avail themselves of workplace flexibility options often suffer setbacks to their careers, in the form of wage penalties, lower performance evaluations, and fewer promotions, according to the Center for WorkLife Law. That may explain employees' reluctance to take advantage of flexibility programs, despite the fact that they have become more widespread: Only 11 percent of full-time employees have formal flexible-hours arrangements and only 18 percent have informal arrangements.More

3 total-life factors that impact employee engagement
Engaged employees are more likely to believe their company cares about their total quality of life — physical, emotional, social, and financial health — not just their life at work, according to a survey from Virgin Pulse. Additionally, engaged employees are at ease more often than they're uncomfortably stressed at work and feel their family and close friends have a connection to their work life, co-workers, or employer.More

Efforts to pass paid sick leave laws face backlash
Ten states have passed paid sick leave bans in the past three years, seven of them in 2013, according to research by the Economic Policy Institute, a think tank that focuses on issues concerning low- and middle-income workers. "Absent workers impose real costs on firms," said Marjorie Baldwin, a business professor at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business. "With hiring replacement workers and lost productivity, it's natural the firms would not want to 'pay for' absenteeism."More