Turns out it’s not just genetics that determines alcoholism. Hormones may be to blame. too.
Addiction is a disease. What else can you call a substance effectively rewiring a person’s brain and successfully altering their habits and personality? There’s no other way to describe it. Addicts admit it takes over their lives because it’s the only thing they can think about.
As for alcoholism, Merriam Webster defines it as:
“A chronic disorder marked by excessive and usually compulsive drinking of alcohol leading to psychological and physical dependence or addiction.”
Imagine a round-the-clock craving? Or you being unable to think of anything else?
Pretty scary if you ask me.
So, that’s why there’s so much pressure to find a cure. Or, at least something to mitigate the symptoms of addiction.
Colleges say binge-drinking is a rampant issue now. Also, millennials now consume more alcohol than any other generation.
Which is why programs and organizations like D.A.R.E. and MADD can be so effective. By highlighting the real-life consequences, those contemplating experimentation know the potential risks. And, sometimes, it can help dissuade those who might already be pre-programmed for addiction.
Yes, scientists did isolate a gene responsible for alcoholism. It’s called GABRG3 and those with that specific genetic mutation have an increased likelihood of abusing alcohol. Fun, right?
But, some people with absolutely no history of addiction in their family are still at risk. Or, can develop a risk.
CT Post reports that the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse made a huge discovery about alcoholism. Turns out, a hormone may be at fault for turning people into alcoholics.
They zeroed in on a hormone called aldosterone, which the adrenal glands produce. It’s responsible for regulating your body’s electrolytes, fluid balance, and blood pressure. Technically speaking, it’s a steroid your body naturally produces.
But, if your body produces too much of it? Yeah, all hell breaks loose.
Study senior author Dr. Lorenzo Leggio said it plays a role in anxiety, stress, and stress-induced drinking.
Not to mention the hormone makes you feel more stressed and anxious. Considering studies also found a link between stress and alcoholism, that’s not a great combo.
So, the hormone effectively enables a person to keep drinking. With millennials pegged as the “most-stressed” generation, it’s no wonder why 30 percent of them are “frequent drinkers.”
That, and, drinking makes the body produce more aldosterone. In short, it’s a never-ending cycle of stress, sadness, and drinking.
Lovely, right? You drink, you create the hormone, which makes you crave more alcohol.
But, now that researchers have this discovery on the books, it means they can now work on pharmaceuticals to counteract it. Which means, there may be a pseudo-cure on the horizon.
Or, something that could help alcoholics manage their symptoms.
But, before we get to that point, more studies have to be done. But, isolating that particular hormone certainly helped speed along the process. You know the phrase, knowing is half the battle. Or, know thy enemy.
Either way, now that the hormone is on their radar, researchers can refine their studies.
Now that they isolated the specific chemical which enables drinking, it opens a new door into researching and understanding alcoholism.
In short, we could very well be on our way onto a cure. Or pseudo-cure.
Either way, this study should be seen as a beacon of hope. Especially to those who struggle with alcohol addiction.
By creating a drug that could maintain the body’s production of that specific hormone, it could stop the deadly cycle in its tracks. A person could have one drink and not feel the burning desire to have more. Nice.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse is optimistic about the medical breakthrough, too. They hope that this paves the way of creating a specific therapy. Although creating one will take years.
But, it looks like we’re on our way.
What do you think about this? Do you think we’ll see a cure or treatment soon? If so, when do you think it’ll hit shelves?
Also, do you think it’ll be covered by health insurance? Let us know in the comments below.