The suffering caused by alcoholism seems to be endless. So many of us either personally struggle or have a loved one struggling with the hold of alcohol. As such a common and prevalent substance in our world, it seems impossible to overcome this deadly addiction naturally. But could science hold the key to controlling alcohol abuse? In a world where science and technology seem to solve more problems every day, could alcoholism be next on the list?

According to a recent study, there is a receptor in the brain that, when activated, can help to ease the pain of alcohol withdrawal. The GPR139 receptor is found in a part of the brain, known as the habenula, that is active during the withdrawal from chronic drug and alcohol abuse. By addressing this receptor through medicinal use, researchers can help reduce the increased amount of pain that is associated with alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms can range from feelings of anxiety, headaches, nausea, sweating, shaking hands, and high blood pressure. Severe cases can even include hallucinations

This research is not only a milestone in helping with alcohol withdrawal, it is also a step closer to battling alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction itself. Understanding the GPR139 and the habenula helps scientists understand the biochemical foundations of alcoholism and can lead to more knowledge on addiction and, ultimately, the cure. 

Lab technician wearing goggles and looking at a microscope.

More recent research has found that a protein exists in the brain that binds to alcohol itself and can create a high tolerance to alcohol, which can quickly lead down the road to addiction. If science can learn how to prevent the bonding of the MUNC 13-1 protein to alcohol, this tolerance would be effectively stopped and could prevent alcoholism itself. 

This research could not come at a more crucial time. It is reported that alcoholism is on the rise amongst adults, with 1 in 8 American adults battling alcohol abuse. This number is up by almost 50% during the early 2000s, which is a tragic and terrifying trend for the nation. It is estimated that over 88,000 people ultimately die annually of alcohol-related causes. This puts alcohol abuse and alcoholism in the top three for preventable causes of death in the United States. Additionally, there is one death every 50 minutes in the United States due to an alcohol-impaired driver, which adds to the $44 billion price tag from other alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents.  

A car that was just in an accident with a fire engine nearby.

With each new day, there is new hope to help find a scientific cure for alcohol abuse and to ease the pain of alcohol withdrawal. This does not mean that you or your loved one suffering from alcoholism should wait any longer to seek professional help. There are therapeutic methods and practices already being used in professional substance abuse treatment programs that can help defeat the pull of the bottle and creating an enriching and fulfilling sober life. While the aid of science is only a benefit, it is not the only solution. Do not wait for the promises of tomorrow to battle your addiction today. Contact us for more information.