Scientists discover new remedies to suppress urge for drinking

Many people end up returning home in a drunken state, despite making plans to limit their drinking to just a few pegs. Interestingly, catching up with old friends always makes one forget the count of drinks he or she had, prompting a person to cross all limits of drinking. Alcohol is an integral part of the American society, which is why a majority of the population had had their first alcoholic drink during their teenage. Surprisingly, most of the people caught in the drunken state do not suffer from alcohol addiction but are involved in binge drinking or consuming excessive amount of alcohol in a relatively short period.

Hazards of alcohol are widely known, hence, people, in their pursuit of a healthy lifestyle, usually tend to avoid alcohol in their regular schedule. However, when the same people go for a party or a celebration, they end up exceeding their drinking limits, ignoring the fact that even binge drinking causes health problems that are by far similar to the damage caused by alcohol abuse. The urge to drink more, after one has finished the first peg, often leads to binge drinking.

To help binge drinkers curb their desire to drink, scientists from the UT Southwestern Medical Center in November discovered a gene that can help people suppress their drinking urge, thereby preventing binge drinking.

Protein in brain to bring revolution in alcohol addiction treatment

Published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in November 2016, the study, titled “KLB is associated with alcohol drinking, and its gene product β-Klotho is necessary for FGF21 regulation of alcohol preference” highlighted the interaction between FGF21 and a gene in the brain called beta-Klotho. According to the study, “a variation in the β-Klotho gene is linked to the regulation of social alcohol consumption. The less frequent variant — seen in approximately 40 percent of the people in this study — is associated with a decreased desire to drink alcohol.”

A similar study conducted by the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in 2015, explored a brain protein known as Neuropeptide Y (NPY), can help in putting brakes to the urge of drinking, thereby preventing the user from engaging in binge drinking. Explaining the role of the gene in suppressing the urge, the study explained that the protein acts in the extended amygdala part of the brain. This area is further associated with both stress and reward.

Thus, when drinking, the protein in the brain creates an anti-drinking effect by increasing inhibition on the specific population of cells that produce a ‘pro-drinking’ molecule called corticotrophin releasing factor (CRF). “This anti-drinking NPY system is altered by long-term alcohol drinking in multiple species, suggesting that this may be either a marker or treatment for alcohol abuse,” said the researchers. According to the study, the protein not only helps in treating the patients suffering from alcohol use disorder, but also protects him or her from becoming alcohol dependent.

Seeking professional help

Continuous excessive consumption of any alcoholic beverage can lead to addiction. Known to cause severe conditions, such as alcohol poisoning, neurotoxicity, fetal alcohol syndrome (FAS), liver failure, and the likes, alcohol addiction can prove to be fatal.

However, if you or a loved one is addicted to alcohol, get in touch with the Alcohol Addiction Get Help to know about various alcohol addiction treatment centers in the U.S. You can call our 24/7 helpline number 866-281-3014 or chat online with our treatment advisors to get immediate help for alcohol addiction.