Excessive drinking could alter DNA triggering alcohol cravings, says new study

Excessive drinking could alter DNA triggering alcohol cravings, says new study

February 04, 2019

Excessive drinking could alter DNA triggering alcohol cravings, says new study

Addiction Alcohol

While alcohol continues to remain the most preferred drug of choice among all sections of the American society, a recent study conducted by the Rutgers University threw light on how excessive consumption of alcohol could cause long-lasting genetic modifications in users. Further, the study findings also suggested that these modifications may result in heightened alcohol cravings.

According to a report by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), when people continue to consume large amounts of alcohol for a long period of time their brains are exposed to drastic alterations resulting in long-lasting debilitating defects that require professional care and treatment at a credible alcohol addiction treatment center.

Higher alcohol consumption leads to lower rates of protein production

The scientists examined two genes – PER2 and POMC – associated with controlling drinking patterns. The former influences the body’s biological clock, while the latter regulates the stress-response system. They also studied the drinking patterns of groups of moderate, heavy and binge drinkers using a technique called methylation – an alcohol-influenced gene modification process – to arrive at comparative differences. The findings confirmed reduced rates of protein creation in the genes of binge and heavy drinkers. These changes became more prominent with higher alcohol consumption.

“We found that people who drink heavily may be changing their DNA in a way that makes them crave alcohol even more,” said lead author Professor Dipak Sarkar of the Endocrine Program in the Department of Animal Sciences at Rutgers University in New Brunswick. “This may help explain why alcoholism is such a powerful addiction and may one day contribute to new ways to treat alcoholism or help prevent at-risk people from becoming addicted.”

In another experiment, drinkers were shown three types of images – stress-related, neutral, and alcohol-related. After the pictures, they were shown beer containers and were allowed to taste beer. The scientists evaluated their desire to drink and found that those drinkers craved more alcohol whose genes had changed because of alcohol use. Dr. Sarkar believes such studies can facilitate the identification of biomarkers capable of predicting an individual’s predisposition for heavy or binge drinking.

Assisting people in coping with alcohol cravings

Studies have shown that the use of medications, behavioral therapy or a combination of both can help patients cope with dangerous situations without falling back into the grip of alcohol. Further, medical specialists should consider a wide range of treatment options, and in most cases, customize these treatments according to the patient’s needs, to assist them in successful recovery from the harmful outcomes of alcohol abuse.

In a primary care setting, a physician can develop and apply the following treatment tools and methods:

  • Medications and counseling: It is important to consider brief-interventions strategies, including counseling and medications, to treat alcohol problems in a cost-effective manner. Various medications, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can be used efficiently to sustain longer periods of abstinence and improve health and social functioning of an individual addicted to alcohol.
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): While treating problem drinking, CBT can be the best approach to prevent relapse and to address a plethora of other co-occurring problems. In a CBT session, a therapist helps enhance a patient’s self-control by developing realistic coping mechanisms.

Way forward with alcoholism

Similar to other dangerous conditions, what starts as casual, social drinking can gradually assume the form of compulsive alcohol seeking behavior. That is why it is imperative to reexamine drinking habits and seek help from professional alcohol rehab centers as early as possible to keep addiction at bay. A rehab center for alcoholism can offer crucial help especially when an individual is trapped in the stronghold of alcohol.

Invictus Health Group, a much sought-after treatment center in the U.S., is the leader in treating alcohol abuse patients throughout California. If you or a loved one is addicted to alcohol or any other drug and is looking for treatment, get in touch with our 24X7 helpline (866) 548-0190 or chat online with our representative to seek certified advice and avail customized world-class alcohol detox treatment at any of our facilities.

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