Scientists hope to reverse alcoholic mush brain, prevent recovery relapse

Photo illustration courtesy Pixabay

We know that alcohol turns the brain to mush, as they say.

Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute want to know just what’s in that “mush.” They also hope to find ways to make the brain fresh again with newly developed Pharma treatments.

The esteemed research organization announced Tuesday it has received a $10 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction to further its work.

“There hasn’t been a new pharmacological treatment for alcohol dependence in decades,” Barbara Mason of Scripps La Jolla explained in a news release. “We want to change that and help facilitate a return to homeostasis in the brains of people with alcohol use disorder.”

Just as important as restoring the brain of people who quit drinking, new drugs could even help hardcore alcoholics quit drinking.

“After someone with alcohol use disorder stops drinking and undergoes acute withdrawal, there’s then a protracted withdrawal phase that’s characterized by activation of stress systems in the brain and symptoms of negative affect such as anxiety, dysphoria, and irritability,” said Mason. “These symptoms ultimately drive craving and relapse, and we want to stop that cycle.”

The money will be used to bring together scientists from molecular pharmacology, neurochemistry, electrophysiology, neurocircuitry. It also will help fund clinical studies.

Sound heavy? Mason gets it. From the Scripps news release:

Mason’s research has already revealed that when someone with alcohol use disorder stops drinking, their brain releases stress neuropeptides—molecules that turn on stress pathways in the brain. They’ve also homed in on the extended amygdala—an area of the brain involved in mediating emotional behaviors—as helping mediate the interactions between stress and addiction.

I applaud any effort to create new ways of helping people quit drinking and drugging.

I recently wrote a blog criticizing the use of kratom for opioid withdrawal. While I stand by the premise — you can’t use it to detox from opioids cold turkey, and people are dying that way – I do know that many people insist it has been of great help.

Whatever works to get people on the road to freedom from drugs and alcohol. Safely.

I know the brain regenerates quite well on its own, without Pharma drugs, when a person gets sober. I’m proof of that. You can read about neuroplasticity and how the brain performs workarounds by clicking here. 

I always say my writing got me sober and keeps me sober. You can read about that by clicking here.

We certainly need options beyond “The Rooms.” That goes without saying.

Until next time.

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