The Australasian Professional Society on Alcohol and other Drugs

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Original Papers

Differences in patterns of cannabis use among youth: Prevalence, perceptions of harm and driving under the influence in the USA where non‐medical cannabis markets have been established, proposed and prohibited
Elle Wadsworth, David Hammond
10 July 2018 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12842

Effects of a responsible retailing mystery shop intervention on age verification by servers and clerks in alcohol outlets: A cluster randomised cross‐over trial
Joel W. Grube, William DeJong, Maureen DeJong, Sharon Lipperman‐Kreda, Brad S. Krevor
9 July 2018 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12839

Examining the factor structure of the Motives for Playing Drinking Games measure among Australian university students
Amanda M. George, Byron L. Zamboanga, Jessica L. Martin, Janine V. Olthuis
2 July 2018 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12830

Health risk and health seeking behaviours among people who inject performance and image enhancing drugs who access needle syringe programs in Australia
Katinka Van de Ven, Lisa Maher, Handan Wand, Sonja Memedovic, Eva Jackson, Jenny Iversen
2 July 2018| DOI: 10.1111/dar.12831

Development of the Khat Knowledge, Attitudes and Perception Scale
Motohiro Nakajima, Richard Hoffman, Abed Alsameai, Najat Sayim Khalil, Mustafa al'Absi
21 June 2018 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12828

Smokers’ risk perceptions and misperceptions of cigarettes, e‐cigarettes and nicotine replacement therapies
Bill King, Enjelita Ndoen, Ron Borland
19 June 2018 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12829

Homicides with direct and indirect links to the night‐time economyHomicides with direct and indirect links to the night‐time economy
Stephen Tomsen
11 June 2018 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12824

Complications related to chronic supratherapeutic use of codeine containing compound analgesics in a cohort of patients presenting for codeine withdrawal
Victoria Cock, Carolyn Edmonds, Charles Cock
2 May 2018 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12809

Comprehensive Review

Alcohol use, aquatic injury, and unintentional drowning: A systematic literature review
Kyra Hamilton, Jacob J. Keech, Amy E. Peden, Martin S. Hagger
3 June 2018 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12817

Brief Reports

Prescribed sedative and other psychotropic medication use among clients attending alcohol and other drug treatmentPrescribed sedative and other psychotropic medication use among clients attending alcohol and other drug treatment
James A. Foulds, Victoria Manning, Joshua B. B. Garfield, Steve J. Allsop, Tina Lam, Shalini Arunogiri, Dan I. Lubman
9 July 2018 | DOI:10.1111/dar.12841

Effects of acute exercise on drug craving, self‐esteem, mood and affect in adults with poly‐substance dependence: Feasibility and preliminary findings
Maren Mikkelsen Ellingsen, Sunniva Launes Johannesen, Egil W. Martinsen, Mats Hallgren
4 June 2018 | DOI: 10.1111/dar.12818


Clinician's Corner - June 2018

DAR Front Cover

Clinician's Corner| June 2018         EARLY VIEW

Clinician’s Corner

Effects of acute exercise on drug craving, self-esteem, mood and affect in adults with poly-substance dependence: Feasibility and preliminary findings

Cravings for alcohol and/or other drugs are the most frequently cited reason for relapse to regular use, meaning that there is genuine need to identify effective ways for people using substances to manage their cravings proactively, easily and reliably in their daily lives.  There is new interest in the use of physical exercise in alcohol and/or other drug treatment, in particular to manage cravings. Physical exercise is easily accessible to most people with alcohol and/or other drug problems, with potential flow-on benefits to health and wellbeing.  But, does exercise effectively manage alcohol and/or other drug cravings? How much exercise is enough? Will people use exercise to manage cravings?  In their forthcoming article in Drug and Alcohol Review, Ellingsen et al. (available on Early View) attempt to explore these issues in a small study involving people in an in-patient drug dependency unit in Norway.  

Ten people participated in the study, selected from a group of 23 in-patients who were in the hospital ward at the time of the study. At admission, the participants were classified as dependent on two or more substances (Ellingsen et al.).  Previous exercise exposure varied between none (n=1), some in the prior 3 months (n=3), regular throughout life (n=3), regular strength training (n=1), and training in childhood and adolescence (n=1).

The exercise regimes were conducted in three 1-hour supervised group sessions over a 5-day period.  Exercise sessions occurred between 9:30-11:00am on exercise days (days 1, 3 and 5), with a non-exercise day in between.  Three types of exercise were implemented: (i) an outdoor football (soccer) game with patients divided into two teams and staff making up the numbers; (ii) circuit training in an exercise facility within the hospital, where patients performed 10 repetitions of each exercise machine using a weight that required ‘moderate straining’ to complete; and (iii) a 45-minute group walking session, supervised by a staff nurse (Ellingsen et al.).  

All participants were willing and able to participate in each type of exercise without any adverse events.  However, the impact of exercise on the experience of drug cravings was very small.  While participants reported an immediate reduction in cravings post-exercise session, at 2-hours and 4-hours post-session, football and circuit training were associated with a rebound effect, with self-reported cravings increasing above baseline levels. Ellingsen et al. suggest that adding a follow-up session in the afternoon (when cravings may naturally increase), and ensuring the hunger and thirst induced by exercise is not being confused with symptoms of cravings may counteract this rebound effect.  The immediate impact of exercise on cravings is important, however, and might suggest that implementing moderate levels of exercise when experiencing a craving may be a helpful in-the-moment coping strategy.

Exercise also reduced negative affect immediately post-activity and at 2- and 4-hours post session, with largest effects demonstrated for football. Immediately after the exercise session, mood improved following the football and circuit sessions. In contrast to walking, football and circuit training sessions were rated by participants as ‘somewhat hard’, possibly indicating that this level of intensity may be required for these effects. No significant changes were observed for the impact of exercise on positive affect or self-esteem.

While a very small study, the potential of exercise as a drug craving strategy is worthy of further exploration, but much more structured research is needed to determine whether there is a role for exercise in craving management in alcohol and/or other drug treatment.


Frances Kay-Lambkin
Deputy Editor, Drug and Alcohol Review

A complimentary PDF of the article is available to APSAD members by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Ellingsen MM, Johannesen SL, Martinsen EW, Hallgren M. Effects of acute exercise on drug craving, self‐esteem, mood and affect in adults with poly‐substance dependence: Feasibility and preliminary findings. Drug Alcohol Rev 2018. Available on Early View.