Thursday, 11 December 2008
Cure for Alcoholism
Photo by confusedvision
There is no cure for alcoholism; just control over it. But people continue to look for a cure. Something that can be taken, ingested, to change the way the brain works. God, we like that sort of thing! Instant fix, feel better in a bottle.
Maybe we have something after all. I've just read about a drug that is used as a muscle relaxant called baclofen. This has been used by a Frenchman, a doctor (Dr Olivier Ameisen, 55), who became alcoholic and basically gave it a try. It worked for him. A kind of miracle cure. He wrote a book about the experience called, "Le Dernier Verre (The Last Glass)".
He has tested on a small number of people with severe alcoholism and a high percentage found it worked for them. He seeks proper trials.
So there it is, a cure for alcoholism? Is this the real deal? I doubt it but if it helps and even cures some people it will be a success. It begs the question as to whether addiction generally can be cured. Is addiction a state of mind, a habit, a programming of the brain (action: drink alcohol -- reward: feel better for a hour) or is it simply a question of chemistry, something happening in the brain chemistry that produces addiction? It is probably both one leading to the other. In which case a chemical should be able to cure it by reversing the chemical imbalance caused by the addiction.
What is baclofen? This is an extract from Wikipedia (it is allowed to reproduce text verbatim under their creative commons license):
"Baclofen (brand names Kemstro and Lioresal) is a derivative of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) primarily used to treat spasticity......Baclofen is used for the treatment of spastic movement, especially in instances of spinal cord injury, spastic diplegia, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig's Disease) and trigeminal neuralgia. Baclofen has been shown to be as effective as diazepam in uncomplicated alcohol withdrawal syndrome. An Italian study showed that it was effective in promoting alcohol abstinence in patients with severe liver cirrhosis."
OK, there it is. It would be nice to be able to try it without waiting ten years for trials to be concluded. Jane may not last that long. And in any case the good doctor tried it to good effect and this drug is already on the market so a lot is known about it. When one considers the near death situations that alcoholism brings the risk/reward equation of trying an untested drug to "cure" or treat alcoholism would seem to favor trying it out without trials. This is probably not a cure for alcoholism but it may help and it may lead to further profitable (in terms of helping alcoholics) research.
Cure for Alcoholism to Alcoholic Stages
Wikipedia® published under GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version, November 2002 Copyright (C) 2000,2001,2002 Free Software Foundation, Inc. 51 Franklin St, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301 USA - - no other conditions to the license are added.
Cure for Alcoholism - Photo published under creative commons license: