A clinical trial into the drug helped patients cut the amount they consumed from 12.75 units a day to five units a day – a 61 per cent reduction. And patients who underwent counselling as well as taking the drug reduced their “heavy drinking days” from 23 days a month to nine days a month after undergoing the treatment for six months, researchers said.
Nalmefene is touted as having a longer half-life than naltrexone and less effect on the liver, per the first link.
While the study didn’t focus on people wanting to quit drinking, it seems this is an obvious use for it.
Sounds like a good addition to the toolbox. That said, per the first link, I do not know why it is not available in the US if it has some superiority to naltrexone.
Some interesting research funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says yes.
Using brain scans, researchers found that people in recovery from alcoholism who showed hyperactivity in areas of the prefrontal cortex during a relaxing scenario were eight times as likely to relapse as those showing normal brain patterns or healthy controls.
The prefrontal brain plays a role in regulating emotion, the ability to suppress urges, and decision-making. Chronic drinking may damage regions involved in self-control, affecting the ability to regulate cravings and resist relapse.
It certainly sounds sensical. That said, it will be a long time before rehabs, let alone general medical clinics, are offering fMRI scans to people in early recovery to check this.
But, we can take away from this that the idea of “triggers” is a real concern, if long-term drinking has affected those regulatory abilities.
And, the difference is significant:
The investigators found that individuals in recovery who showed patterns of heightened activity in the prefrontal region during the relaxing situation were much more likely to experience cravings for alcohol and subsequent relapse. These patterns of craving-related activity increased the likelihood of early relapse by 8.5 times and relapse to heavy drinking by 8.7 times. Abnormally low activity during the stressful scenario was also linked to greater number of days drinking after relapse.
So, while we’re far from the point of offering fMRIs, it seems like the need is there.
Meanwhile, keeping that idea of “triggers” handy sounds good.
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Recovery requires hard work and perseverance. If you are self-directed and want to create a personal recovery program that is yours and yours alone, you owe it to yourself to check out LifeRing Secular Recovery.
I had never even heard of such a word as “drunkorexia” until an Atlantic Monthly story caught my eye.
Here’s the gist: Young people, especially young women, worried enough about calories that they severely cut back their eating to “allow” for the calories of alcohol.
And, it’s a serious issue:
(Adam) Barry examined 22,000 college students across 40 universities and found that, even after controlling for race, school year, Greek affiliation and whether a student lived on campus (the authors did not control for whether a respondent played on a sports team), vigorous exercise, and disordered eating uniquely predicted binge drinking. In fact, those who exercised or dieted to lose weight were over 20 percent more likely to have five or more drinks in a single sitting. Students who had vomited or used laxatives in the previous month to shed pounds were 76 percent more likely to binge drink.
Add in that an empty stomach absorbs alcohol more quickly, and that alcohol’s nutrient-empty calories don’t help a dieter, and you’re looking at a variety of potential problems.
Per the story, it sounds like it’s a growing issue, too.
For Lifering, that means working to help people help themselves through both alcohol problem and the eating disorder that may also have developed.
Especially now that Lifering has gone public with its “dual diagnosis” email support list, this story from Scientific American is apropos to read. It’s primarily about PTSD in US military veterans, but due to PTSD occurrence being fairly high among alcoholics and addicts, it’s quite relevant to Lifering. It’s a good read for anybody who knows someone with PTSD, or someone suffering with its effects themselves.
It has a fair dose of “realism,” which I’ll note below the fold.