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Tag: brain science

Can You “Switch Off” Your Tolerance to Alcohol?

There is a curious dividing line which separates the alcoholic from the normal drinker. Even a drinker who, on regular occasion, drinks excessively, will not develop alcoholism. Tolerance is part of the disease of alcoholism. In alcoholics, the tolerance threshold for alcohol continues to get higher. Meaning, that overtime more and more alcohol needs to be consumed in order to achieve an equal or greater state of intoxication than before. That is why many alcoholics find themselves frightened when suddenly multiple bottles do not get them drunk.

For nonalcoholics, however, their tolerance level remains unchanged. Additionally, their tolerance level seems to communicate tolerance. In the alcoholic, tolerance is always surpassed as a challenge and obsessive craving desire to acquire more. Nonalcoholics do not have the compulsive need to consume more. They are able to decipher when they’ve had enough. Most importantly, nonalcoholics are able to stop.

Investigating the neuroscience of alcoholism has become an obsession in the scientific community. Tremendous discoveries have been made, clueing the world in on how exactly alcoholism works in the brain. Ultimately, the goal of such scientific inquiry is to find a “cure” for alcoholism. Recent research has found an interesting lead.

The cerebellum is the part of the brain responsible for motor functioning. Motor control and alcohol do not mix well. Alcohol impairs motor control, which is why drunk people slur, stumble, and fall down. Granule cells are found in the cerebellum which dictate the inhibition of motor functions. If granule cells get “excited”, motor control is inhibited. Alcohol slows down the cerebellum and slows down motor functions. It does so by interacting with the GABA protein. GABA is being recognized as a key player in alcoholism. Many people in treatment are being prescribed medications such as GABApentin to help reproduce this essential brain protein.

Essentially, the new research shows that by stimulating the right GABA receptors, test subjects (mice) stopped wanting alcohol. They also didn’t display many of the motor malfunctions from intoxication. What this means for the future of alcoholism treatment is that GABA stimulation can change the way a person craves and tolerates alcohol. Being able to turn that off in a person’s brain could reduce relapse timelines, cravings, and provide early intervention to alcoholism.

Enlightened Solutions supports the discovery of new treatments for alcoholism. We feel confident in our proven methods of combining evidence based treatment with twelve step philosophy and holistic healing. Our treatment facility offers partial care, intensive outpatient, and outpatient treatment levels to men and women seeking recovery. For more information call 833-801-5483.

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