While craving is a normal part of life, it can cause trouble when we satisfy our cravings by binging. This is also true for alcoholics. Researchers have identified in alcoholics, a part of the brain that becomes active when they crave alcohol….perhaps leading to a better understanding of why they drink.
Robert T. is the man to call when a heater or air conditioner breaks down. They’re easy for him to fix. His personal problem is not. He’s fought a drinking problem much of his life.
Robert is a recovering alcoholic:
“The majority of time….the day I start drinking is going to a major binge or whatever.”
Robert was in a group studied at the University of Alabama at Birmingham in an effort to pinpoint the area of the brain that craves alcohol.
Participants were asked to smell a drink and to barely sip it. Then a radioactive tracer injected in the arms of the alcoholics showed increased blood flow in the same area of the brain. It’s a part of the brain that most of the time gives us rational responses in dealing with problems.
“We now know that, that particular part of the brain is involved so we can study drugs that might affect that particular part of the brain and might reduce craving that way.”
Research was conducted beforehand to make sure the experiments would not harm alcoholics. The participants felt liberated in many ways by what they learned from the craving test.
“I always thought I drank just because I was a bad person, you know.”
“The individual learns more about their drinking and what makes them want to drink. It’s not just the alcohol, it’s how I’m feeling about myself, what kind of stress I’m under, whether I’m associating with my drinking buddies or not and maybe it has more to do with my lifestyle and my psychological feeling at the time than it does the chemical of alcohol. And this helped most all the subjects in their sobriety.”
Dr. says alcoholics drink because of their genes as well as social and psychological stresses. Treatment cannot be the same for everyone — it should be tailored to the individual.