19 episodes

'PhD: addicted to research' is a podcast created by PhD students funded by the Society for the Study of Addiction and is for anyone doing a PhD or thinking about doing a PhD. We are all at different stages of our studies, from starting off to writing up, and will release a podcast every 2 weeks. In the episodes, we discuss our experiences and fears about going through 3 (and more) years of study. We also interview experts to get the best tips and advice for making it to the final graduation ceremony.
We are very grateful to George Verrall for producing the music for this podcast.

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PhD: Addicted to Research The Society for the Study of Addiction

    • Education

'PhD: addicted to research' is a podcast created by PhD students funded by the Society for the Study of Addiction and is for anyone doing a PhD or thinking about doing a PhD. We are all at different stages of our studies, from starting off to writing up, and will release a podcast every 2 weeks. In the episodes, we discuss our experiences and fears about going through 3 (and more) years of study. We also interview experts to get the best tips and advice for making it to the final graduation ceremony.
We are very grateful to George Verrall for producing the music for this podcast.

See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

    Mendelian Randomisation

    Mendelian Randomisation

    In this episode, Chloe Burke and Saba Ishrat introduce you to the basics of Mendelian Randomisation. They talk about how and why Mendelian Randomisation is used in addiction research to look at causal relationships, as well as its limitations.
     
    They speak to two experts in the field. First, Dr Anya Topiwala talks about her experiences of using Mendelian Randomisation, including research assessing the relationship between drinking and telomere length. And second, to Dr Robyn Wootton who talks about using Mendelian Randomisation in studying the relationship between mental health and substance use. The second interview also covers the potential pitfalls of Mendelian Randomisation, and some practical tips to avoid them.
     
    Chloe and Saba have compiled a selection of open-access links below:
    Assessing and addressing collider bias in addiction research: the curious case of smoking and COVID-19. By Harry Tattan-Birch and colleagues. Published in Addiction (2020).Assessing causal relationships using genetic proxies for exposures: an introduction to Mendelian randomization. By Srinivasa Vittal Katikireddi and colleagues. Published in Addiction (2017).Mendelian randomisation for psychiatry: how does it work, and what can it tell us? By Robyn E. Wootton and colleagues. Published in Molecular Psychiatry (2022).Making sense of Mendelian randomisation and its use in health research: A short overview. By Sean Harrison and colleagues. Published by Public Health Wales NHS Trust & Bristol University.MR Dictionary. Published by University of Bristol. 
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    • 43 min
    Smoking cessation in drug and alcohol treatment services

    Smoking cessation in drug and alcohol treatment services

    In this episode of PhD: Addicted to Research, Rachel Coleman and Zoe Swithenbank talk about smoking cessation in drug and alcohol treatment services. Zoe talks about how a day on the Recovery Walk first made her interested in this area. they talk about including smoking in a person’s recovery plan, whilst acknowledging some of the challenges for the workforce referred to in the Dame Carol Black review.
    Rachel and Zoe then talk to Dr Tom Ainscough about his research on using contingency management to support engagement with smoking cessation for people who use drugs.

    “The whole point about recovery is that it’s not a quick process and it’s generally… making life better, not just removing the substance, it’s about changing life and making that better in so many different ways, and health is one of those aspects”
    “[Smoking cessation is] not a priority for a lot of people, and I get that, I can see why that’s the case. But that doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be addressing it at some point.”
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    • 38 min
    From PhD to post-doc

    From PhD to post-doc

    Merve Mollaahmetoglu talks to Dr Carol-Ann Getty and Dr Basak Tas about the time immediately after your PhD. They discuss funding, how to look out for a permanent position and how to choose your post-doc university. They also talk about how competitive fellowships are and when you should start applying for them.
    “I’m in my final year and in the writing up process. but I can’t image doing that alongside writing up a fellowship or a grant application”
    They also cover the impact of the pandemic and how to look after yourself during and after your PhD.
    “There’s this idea in academia that, because we like what we do, we have to sacrifice our personal life for it…. Yes, you know you do also need to think about your personal life and that can be an important priority in terms of choosing what type of route or what career you do take in academia”
    At the end, Merve interviews Professor Sir John Strang about the SSA’s post-doc transitional scheme and about his own reflections on working in addictions.
    “It probably does involve having an approach to [an academic career] where you’re much more willing to listen and to look around you at how both the nature of the problem one’s talking about, but also societal responses might be changing. And I think you have to be prepared to change your own thinking and change the type of work that you do over time. Some people would find that unsettling and view it negatively. Personally, I think it’s what makes the addictions field or substance misuse field endlessly fascinating.”

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    • 1 hr 2 min
    Ketamine and alcohol use disorders

    Ketamine and alcohol use disorders

    Chloe, Merve and Zoe talk about recent research into ketamine treatment for alcohol use disorder. They cover the background of this area before taking an in-depth look at the results published in Merve's recent paper. The team discuss how the experiences that people had on ketamine changed their relationships with alcohol. They discuss the role of qualitative research in understanding the impact of psychedelic therapies particularly when people have different goals. They also cover some of the challenging and positive experiences that people had during the trial.
    "One aspect of the ketamine experience was that there were some inherent contradictions in it. The biggest were around the contradiction between the highly positive and highly negative experiences that people had and then also between the strong dissociation versus the feelings of connectedness and the unity with other beings that people reported."
     
    The original paper can be found here: Frontiers | “This Is Something That Changed My Life”: A Qualitative Study of Patients' Experiences in a Clinical Trial of Ketamine Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorders | Psychiatry (frontiersin.org) and here is a link to the AWAKN Clinic mentioned this the podcast Awakn Clinics - The Effective Treatment Alternative (awaknlifesciences.com). There is also an episode on ketamine by Suzi Gage that is worth checking out Ketamine | Say Why To Drugs on Acast.

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    • 30 min
    Conducting research during a pandemic

    Conducting research during a pandemic

    Chloe Burke talks to Dr Jenny Scott, Katy Penfold, Marie Jameson and Rebecca Dwyer about their experiences of conducting research during the COVID-19 pandemic and about what changes they made along the way. Dr Scott discusses her research on the impact of the epidemic on people who use opiate substitute medications in rural areas. Marie Jameson talks about how moving to an online format was not appropriate for her research with kinship families affected by parental substance misuse, and how she coped with this. Katy Penfold talks about her qualitative research into online Gamblers Anonymous meetings during lock-down, and Rebecca Dwyer explores how her research into cognitive aspects of alcohol use among undergraduate students changed from measuring brain activity in the lab to online data collection.  
    Links:
    How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected people in rural areas who take opiate substitutes?
    Living Under Coronavirus and Injecting Drugs in Bristol (LUCID-B): A qualitative study of experiences of COVID-19 among people who inject drugs

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    • 23 min
    Co-dependency with Dr Ingrid Bacon

    Co-dependency with Dr Ingrid Bacon

    In this episode, Dr Ingrid Bacon talks to Ayan Ahmed and Chloe Burke about her work and research on co-dependency in addiction. Dr Bacon explains co-dependency as a 'chameleon concept' and talks about some of her experiences through her PhD (including changing the concept half way through - it's never too late?). They discuss factors that are common across co-dependency, depression and anxiety disorders and how co-dependency can encompass many other underlying issues. Finally Dr Bacon shares her advice for how to enjoy your PhD.
    Dr Ingrid Bacon is a mental health occupational therapist and a Senior Lecturer in Kingston and St George's University of London.
    Music by George Verrall.

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    • 35 min

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