Alcohol Addiction, Substance Abuse  |  July 21, 2016

It has long been known that some people are more prone to alcoholism than others.  Researchers at Texas A&M have recently made an interesting discovery that may provide at least a partial explanation as to why.

These researchers sought to understand whether a certain type of nerve cell – called a neuron – might influence a person’s ability to say no to alcohol consumption.

What they found was that the act of consuming alcohol changes the physical structure and function of particular spiny neurons in the brain called D1 and D2 neurons.  These tiny neurons actually serve as a control devices in the brain… “go” – “no go” switches if you will.    The D2 neurons are the “no go” switch.  When activated, they discourage a person’s actions – and may therefore be crucial in the battle against addiction.

Sadly – it appears that the D2 neurons are actually deactivated when we drink too much,  leading to an even weaker inhibition signal – and you guessed it – more drinking.

So what’s to be gained by this discovery?

That’s a question researchers are now struggling with.

Some believe that in time, we may be able to develop drugs that actually re-activate D2 neurons – helping people control the urge to drink.

Others believe that electrical stimulation therapy may hold the key to creating a healthy number of active D2 neurons.

Researchers will also be looking at the possibility that alcoholics in general have fewer “no-go” D2 neurons to begin with as well as exploring the possibility that long-term abstinence may increase the number of active D2 neurons in the brain.

If you or someone you know suffers from addiction to alcohol, the Recovery Specialists at Aware Recovery Care in Connecticut can help.  With the guidance of addiction specialists at Yale University, we have developed a program that is research proven to be highly effective and that allows our clients to successfully break their addictions while living at home.  Please

call us

if we can help you.  www.awarerecoverycare.com

Photo credit: NICHD NIH via StoolsFair / CC BY