Can alcohol abuse disorder be treated therapeutically? A new study tests the possibilities

Is it possible to cure alcohol abuse disorder therapeutically? According to the findings of a new study, a therapeutic cure is indeed possible and the brain immune protein called Interleukin 10 (IL-10) with potent anti-inflammatory properties can play a critical role.

The impact of alcohol on the brain cells is immense. After a drink or two, it is often observed that the person has difficulty walking and suffers from blurred vision and slurred speech and other such observable impediments. Long-term impact of alcohol abuse is more drastic. Affecting some 15 million people in America, the malaise of alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction is such that it rapidly spills out of control and makes it difficult for a person to live a normal life. As with other forms of substance abuse, alcohol addiction leaves a lasting impact on the brain cells – specifically inflammatory immune responses – which are responsible for alcohol-related problems.

Chronic alcohol exposure compromises brain cells

Studies have implicated the ‘amygdala ’ – an almond shaped region in the brain – as the key player in alcohol use disorder (AUD). Recent studies have shed some more light on the role of the amygdala. It has been observed that “chronic alcohol exposure compromises brain immune cells, which are important for maintaining healthy neurons. The resulting damage fuels anxiety and alcohol drinking that may lead to alcohol use disorder.”

The results of the study under Dr. Marisa Roberto, a professor with the Department of Molecular Medicine at Scripps Research have been published in Progress in Neurobiology. The findings are noteworthy as they have uncovered possibilities of therapeutic intervention for AUD. This study is complementary to another finding by the Roberto lab that has established beyond doubt the role for microglia, a type of an immune cell, in the development of alcohol dependence.

Role of IL-10 in therapeutic possibilities for alcohol addiction treatment

Roberto’s team specifically studied the role of IL-10 in preventing alcohol addiction. IL-10 is an immune protein with powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Found primarily in the brain, it ensures that when a disease strikes, the immune system does not respond very strongly. In addition to limiting inflammation due to a disease or injury, it also regulates alcohol use behavior.

The study observed that the number of IL-10 immune protein were drastically lowered in mice displaying chronic alcohol use. Even the ability of the protein to communicate with the neurons was severely compromised resulting in higher alcohol consumption. Improving the communication ability of IL-10 reduced alcohol intake and anxiety-like behaviors.

Roberto’s team has opened up a new landscape of therapeutic possibilities by showing that controlling inflammatory immune responses in the brain can help reduce the prevalence of alcohol use disorder (AUD).

Alcohol consumption has many short- and long-term effects

Long-term dependence on alcohol is bad for the brain and people who have been drinking alcohol for long are likely to develop serious conditions such as Wernicke–Korsakoff Syndrome, observed in 80 percent of alcoholics. Furthermore, high doses of alcohol could also disrupt the growth of new brain cells.

Alcohol abuse and addiction are debilitating conditions and are the third leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the U.S. Therefore, it is important to ensure necessary timely steps against the problem to avoid any repercussions to one’s life, health, relationships, etc. Fortunately, it has been observed that even in cases of chronic alcohol abuse, where the cognitive impairment is sinificant, there is some improvement in brain structure and functioning in case the individual decides to abstain. The improvements are observed within a year itself.

Seek treatment to win the fight against alcohol addiction

When it comes to any kind of substance addiction, one should not suffer in silence. Timely and professional help can go a long way in finding a viable treatment option. While the road ahead is tedious, if one has the will and determination, they can find a lasting solution. In case, there is a friend or family member who has been impacted due to alcohol abuse, seek immediate help to avoid worsening of the condition.

If someone you know is suffering from alcoholism or alcohol addiction and is looking for alcohol rehab centers in Florida, the Florida Alcohol Addiction Helpline can assist. Our representatives can connect you to one of the best alcohol rehabilitation centers in Florida. Call at our 24/7 alcohol addiction helpline 866-220-5381 or chat online to know about the best alcohol treatment available in your vicinity.