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.[5] 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

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  1. Hi
    I agree with your comments about Baclofen it must be worth a try I dont know how expensive it is but janes GP could write her a private prescription for it.
    Good Luck

  2. Hi Sue

    Thanks for this. We'll give it a try!


  3. greetings all!

    even the big book of alcoholics anonymous says that there may one day be a cure for alcoholism in pill form and bill w. himself tried a few during his time that were touted to be "promising" in the treatment of this disease. though we have as yet not found the "magic" bullet, i have no doubt that technology will one day achieve this end.

    that being said, though, an alcoholic has to be fully committed to leading a sober life because it is not only the booze that is eliminated it ius also the behaviors, delusions, the irresponsibility that goes hand in hand with drink. sobriety requires "growing up" and being accountable. no more excuses. for some of us that is a tough concept to follow. it seems so much easier to be "taken care of" by those who love us and who remain willing to do for us what we should be doing for ourselves. that is why the alcoholic's loved ones get as sick emotionally, spiritually, physically (at times) as the alcoholic does.

    freddy, if you can step back a bit and begin forging a life for yourself free of the ever present demands placed on you by the nature of the disease i think you will a vsst improvement in the friendship that the two of you still must remember and i believe both of you will start to get healthy again. start by going to support groups of your own (such as al-anon or coda(codependancy) meetings). find social outlets involving those things that interest you. in my case i belong to a book club, a writer's group and take a few classes at the local college for fun. volunteer. you sound as if you're someone who could really be successful at helping someone as a mentor or a "big brother" as it were. try the theater or visit a place you've never been but would like to go to and that could just mean a museum in your neighborhood. you need to laugh and have fun again. there is nothing more healing than laughter and resentments slide away when one is seeing the glasss as half full rather than half empty.

    you can have an incredible life once again. jane can have an incredible life once again. just remember-"easy does it"/"first things first"/one day at a time"/:live and let live". i use to abhor those aa slogans but they do make a tremendous amount of sense now. oh, and the very best one of all-"DON'T GIVE UP 5 MINUTES BEFORE THE MIRACLE"!!!!!!

    merry x-mas! devon

  4. Hi Devon

    Thanks for the comment - good advice and I will take it. I am going to Al Anon and you are correct. I need to do as you say. I'll be looking to join some clubs/groups.

    I felt better after Al Anon but it didn't last. I just need to do more of that kind of thing.



I'd like to hear the experiences of both alcoholics and the victims of alcoholics, please.