Tag Archives: NIAAA

Hormone Research May Provide New Avenues of Treatment for Alcoholics

hormone treatment for alcoholicsThe brain has increasingly been a point of interest for researchers when it comes to studying addiction. In the last several years it has been discovered that areas of the brain responsible for self-control and rewards are most affected by addiction. Scientists have also found evidence of the long-lasting effects of drugs and alcohol on the biology of the brain. And now, a team of researchers from multiple universities and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) have released information about a potential cause for alcoholism.

One of the major functions of the brain is to release and regulate hormones. Hormones are an essential component of life, dictating to the body when it is time to grow, eat, sleep, and even think. One major hormone is called aldosterone. Aldosterone is an essential hormone because it regulates kidney function and ensures that the body maintains a water and salt balance. There are two parts to a hormone pathway, the hormone itself and the receptor it binds to.

The researchers of this study found that there could be a link between the aldosterone receptors and alcohol use after it was observed that the receptors for the hormone are located on areas of the brain traditionally linked to alcohol use disorders. The amygdala and the prefrontal cortex are areas of the brain that have proven to be associated to alcohol use disorder and therefore the researchers are indicating that aldosterone and its receptors could be beneficial for future medicinal trials to prevent or treat alcoholism. The findings can be seen in the journal Molecular Psychiatry.

“We believe that this target might be particularly promising for those individuals who drink excessive amounts of alcohol to cut their stress and anxiety – this is technically what we refer to as the ‘withdrawal/negative affect state,’ [and] it is a domain for which we do not have approved targeted medications,” commented Lorenzo Leggio, MD, PhD and one of the authors of the study.

Other research indicates that increased drinking produces a higher level of aldosterone levels in the body. Upon closer examination, patients with higher aldosterone levels and history of alcoholism report stronger cravings, according to the study.

The research has not yet produced any new medication geared to aldosterone receptors as a way of handling alcoholism, but scientists are hopeful that this next step will be taken soon.

Updated Survey Results Show Alcohol Use Disorders Increasing

jamanesarcOne of the largest studies commissioned regarding substance abuse-related issues has been the Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions, which was updated for the third time (NESARC-III). Findings from the survey show that Alcohol Use Disorders (AUDs) have increased over the past decade in the United States.

AUD is the medical diagnosis for problem drinking that causes mild to severe distress or harm. Roughly one-third of the adult population reportedly experiences and AUD at some point in their lives, but only about 20 percent seek treatment for the issue.

According to National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) Director Geore Koob, Ph.D., “These findings underscore that alcohol problems are deeply entrenched and significantly under-treated in our society. The new data should provide further impetus for scientists, clinicians, and policy makers to bring AUD treatment into the mainstream of medical practice.”

The most recent NESARC update was highlighted in the journal JAMA Pschiatry. It was determined that almost 14 percent of adults met AUD criteria for the previous year, and just over 29 percent met AUD criteria at some time in their life.

To gather this information, surveyors had face-to-face conversations with 36,000 adults about their alcohol consumption. What these statistics also show is that someone doesn’t have to be classified as an alcoholic to need help.

If you know someone currently struggling with an alcohol abuse problem, contact us at Desert Cove Recovery today to find out how we can help get them back on track in life.