EAP NewsBrief
Dec. 9, 2014

Could cannabis prevent PTSD?
Daily Mail
Cannabis could help prevent the symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, scientists have claimed. The drug triggers changes in the area of the brain associated with traumatic memories, they found. The new study adds to a growing body of research showing marijuana can have a positive effect on PTSD.More

EAPA offers holiday savings — view 2013 and 2014 Conference sessions for a very special price
Employee Assistance Professionals Association
Unprecedented year-end special! Save $100 on EAPA's Conference on Demand when you purchase the Unlimited Access Pack by Dec. 31! The Unlimited Access Pack includes multimedia recordings (full audio with synchronized slide presentation) of the 2013 and 2014 World EAP Conference keynotes and breakout sessions. Sessions can be accessed 24/7 as many times as you wish between now and next year's conference via EAPA's Conference on Demand website. View and hear sessions you missed — or re-experience those you attended live — and earn PDH credit for the lowest price of the year! Learn more.More

Holidays could mask bigger issues of workforce depression
Employee Benefit News
As the holidays move into full gear, what should be the most wonderful time of the year is often not that way for many employees. The added burden of family obligations combined with the huge push for end-of-year projects in an already shortened work month can make some employees lose productivity and isolate themselves from coworkers. During this potentially overwhelming season, it is important that employees have access to help. Employers can play a critical role in ensuring workers are aware of resources, such as an employee assistance program, that can provide help not only through the holidays, but all year long.More

New study: Computer-based approach to treating anxiety may reduce suicide risk
Medical Xpress
A group of psychology researchers at Florida State University have developed a simple computer-based approach to treating anxiety sensitivity, something that could have major implications for veterans and other groups who are considered at risk for suicide. "We have been using computer-delivered interventions for many years now in an effort to more efficiently deliver effective treatments," said psychology Professor Brad Schmidt, director of the Anxiety and Behavioral Health Clinic.More

7 signs of a toxic workplace culture
Employee Benefit News
If employees dread Fridays just as much as Mondays, there may be some toxic stew cooking in the kitchen, says Bernard Marr, an expert in strategy, performance management, analytics, KPIs and big data. Marr points out some of the more easily missed warning signs of a poisonous working environment — red flags benefit and HR decision-makers should be aware of.More

Investigation: Addicted nurses steal patients' drugs
The News Leader
Bonnie Zientek spent years stealing drugs from patients in Richmond, as a nursing director at more than one facility, and sick people went without narcotics. When an employer finally reported her to the Virginia Board of Nursing in 1999, the panel threw her a lifeline: go into rehab and get the black mark off her record. So she did. And within two years she had another job and was stealing fentanyl, oxycodone, morphine. By late 2003, with state monitoring starting to make it more difficult for her to take patients' drugs at will, she hatched a new plan.More

Young adults who skip college are at higher risk for nonmedical prescription opioid use
A study just released by Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health compared the use of prescription opioids and stimulants among high school graduates, non-graduates, and their college-attending peers, and found that young adults who do not attend college are at particularly high risk for nonmedical prescription opioid use and disorder. In contrast, the nonmedical use of prescription stimulants is higher among college-educated young adults. Results of the study are published online in the journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology.More

Mindfulness found to reduce opioid use
Psych Central
A new program for people with chronic pain helps individuals reduce the need for opioid medications. Researchers from the University of Utah developed a program called Mindfulness-Oriented Recovery Enhancement that applies mindfulness techniques to alleviate pain and craving. The MORE intervention concentrates on helping people to recover a sense of meaning and fulfillment in everyday life, embracing its pleasures, and pain without turning to substance use as a coping mechanism.More

New studies show anxiety, depression, guilt harm the brain
Bioscience Technology
Two studies in recent weeks have found that anxiety, depression and guilt can physically change and damage the brain from preschool through adulthood. In a study published in JAMA Psychiatry it was found that an important brain area involved in emotion — the right anterior insula — is smaller in school-aged children diagnosed with depression as preschool-aged children, and can predict risk of future struggles with depression.More

Depression in the workplace remains problematic, costs employers billions
Business Insurance
Depression among workers is costing U.S. employers billions, but few companies have devised strategies for effectively reducing the financial and operational effects of depressive illness. While depression and other mental illnesses are covered under the vast majority of corporate health care plans, the stigma associated with the conditions deters many employees from seeking help because they fear losing their jobs. Employers can take proactive steps to reassure employees that help is available if they need it, but they must also be wary of potential discrimination litigation that can arise when employees seek special accommodations for depression or other mental disorders.More

Is alcoholism genetic? Scientists discover link to a network of genes in the brain
Medical Daily
In the past alcohol and drug addictions were seen as character failings, yet today they are viewed as treatable diseases of the brain. So what could be better than finding a gene linked directly to alcoholism? One team of researchers might say identifying a whole network of genes for alcoholism. In a new study, researchers at The University of Texas at Austin discovered certain sets of genes working together as a network in alcoholics, though not in nonalcoholics. Their findings could lead to future treatments and therapies for alcoholics and possibly help doctors screen for alcoholism.More