Alcohol has been used for recreational purposes since ages. It is also used by many as self-medication to mask the symptoms of various mental disorders like anxiety or depression. Today consuming alcohol is no more a taboo, in fact, no celebration or occasion is complete without raising a toast. Unfortunately, chronic alcohol users develop a dependency on alcohol over time, due to which the brain often stops functioning normally as it did earlier. Once a dependency is developed, the brain undergoes chemical changes resulting in an imbalance, which can lead to increased stress levels or the worsening of an existing mental health condition. Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy North Hollywood has some nice tips on this.
Although alcohol is a widely accepted substance worldwide, addiction to it is still looked down upon in several societies. People with an alcohol addiction are often accused of having a flawed character. They are also blamed for having a weak willpower due to their inability to quit alcohol. However, studies have shown that addiction is a chronic brain disease that develops due to various environmental and genetic factors amongst others.
Quitting alcohol or drugs is a tough decision, especially when someone is psychologically dependent on it. But, a new remedy developed by researchers at University College London has given a ray of hope for millions of people battling with alcoholism. The treatment involves the use of the tranquilizer ketamine, which eliminates drink-related memories.
Ketamine blocks brain receptors required for formation of memories
Ketamine is an anesthetic drug often used for recreational purposes. It has been found that the drug has the potential to erase memories, a property that can be used to overwrite the memories responsible for addiction or other risky behaviors. For a chronic drinker, memories of being in a certain place and drinking large quantities of alcohol can never be erased, rather, they get continuously triggered by unavoidable factors according to the researchers. Ketamine has shown promising results in erasing the memories of past drinking experience that often instigates and provokes people to drink again.
It works by blocking the brain receptor called NMDA, which is a prerequisite for the formation of memories. Using ketamine in treating alcohol addiction is considered a major breakthrough, since there has been a remarkable increase in relapse rates among Americans, in recent years.
Leading an alcohol-free life is possible
Excessive drinking affects one’s coordination, balance and speech by severely damaging the central nervous system and other portions of the brain. The high concentration of alcohol impairs the capacity of the brain to think clearly and create memories. Being a depressant, drinking also affects a person’s mood and lowers the serotonin level in the brain, which increases the risk of depression and psychosis. Moreover, chronic drinking increases the chances of risk-taking behaviors, such as suicide.
It is essential to break free from alcohol addiction to lead a healthy life. Looking at its harmful consequences on youngsters, more awareness needs to be spread about the ruinous effects of drinking, ranging from conviction for a crime to permanent memory loss. Discussing one’s addiction issues with a doctor is a great way to get rid of alcoholism.