Alcohol dependence is such that despite being aware of the ill effects of drinking, a person fails to have any control over the amount and frequency of its consumption. There is always a strong need and craving to drink among alcoholics. It has negative effects on the vital organs, such as brain, heart and liver, impacting the overall immunity. It also makes the body prone to a number of diseases.
Chronic drinkers are more prone to illnesses like pneumonia and tuberculosis as compared to those who do not drink regularly because it weans the body off strength to fight infections. A 2016 study by the Society of Nuclear Medicine showed how the sober brain might act as a guard against further relapse by blocking the activity of a particular receptor related to cravings.
An emerging molecular imaging technique showed the role of a receptor in breaking the cycle of addiction. It could indicate patients’ risk and lead to right drug treatments, said the researchers while presenting the study at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI).
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), almost 7 percent of Americans suffered from a drinking disorder in 2014. Alcohol-related deaths are the fourth leading cause of preventable deaths in the country.
Findings can help experts forecast relapse
The researchers observed the brains of recovering patients suffering from alcoholism and noticed an inverse and compensatory alteration in a particular receptor linked with memory, learning, and the feelings of pain and anxiety. A receptor named metabotropic glutamate subtype 5 (mGluR5) is found throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems but, in certain areas of the brain, it is associated with strong cravings and addictive relapse.
It appeared as if the brains of recovering patients had adapted to the new state of chemical dependency by significantly hindering mGluR5 receptors in the cerebral cortex and limbic system, thereby lessening the cravings.
“Alcohol addiction is a complex, chronic brain disorder associated with enormous physical, social and financial consequences worldwide, and yet current therapies remain unsatisfactory,” said senior author Koen Van Laere, MD, PhD, University Hospital Gasthuisberg, Leuven, Belgium. “Our team was able to investigate, for the first time, these marked changes in the brain circuitry of alcohol-dependent humans.”
The findings suggested that the relationship between mGluR5 and the urge to drink could help unlock the key to attain long-term sobriety by enabling healthcare experts forecast if patients are likely to relapse. It also widened the scope of new targeted drugs that limit receptor activity in patients who are at an increased risk of going back to alcohol abuse.
Available treatment options
Decision to quit alcohol or drugs forever is a hard one for anyone who has been an addict for long. It is certainly a difficult choice, but once sobriety is achieved, the person realizes that it is a healthier and a happier way of life. Detoxification is the first step in the recovery process. It works by removing the toxins, a common effect of drugs or alcohol, from the body. It helps the patient deal with withdrawal symptoms and curbs cravings and relapses. It can be done under expert medical supervision. Expert counseling right in the initial stages of the treatment can help the sufferer in the long run.
If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, it is time to look for one of the reputed detox centers in Florida according to your needs. The Florida Detox Helpline can help you find the best treatment center. Our experts can give you the precise information about drug detox in Florida. Chat online or call at our 24/7 helpline number (855) 920-9869 to talk to one of our experts for more information.