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Old 08-03-2010, 09:00 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Biochemical Factors in Alcoholism

Hi all! Hope everyone is having a happy Tuesday.

I was reading some stuff online and came across an interesting article I wanted to share with everyone. Click here for the article.

Basically it addresses the Biochemical reasons we are addicted to alcohol and how we can use science and nutrition to help in recovery. I'm not a scientifically inclined person, but it makes sense and I have seen stuff like this elsewhere.

Incidentally, the research in this article was done by a woman who is 20 years sober

Just wanted to share!
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:40 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I attend a ongoing county government program that runs groups for those in dual-recovery. There are a good amount people that have recovered from some very difficult problems regarding mental health and addiction. I've seen the scientific approach work brilliantly when other methods fail miserably for these people, including myself.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:18 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hey, LaF, I have to go to irk for a few hours, so I'll check this out tonight.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:19 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Hey Zen, Would love to hear more about that program!

This article made so much sense as to why getting over addiction isn't just about willpower. It talks about the Limbic System, and how alcohol messes up our biochemistry as well as how some of us are predisposed to a body chemistry that is more suscpetible to alcoholism:-)
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:25 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for sharing. I'm going to read it in depth later. One thing, skimming it, I noticed is she seems to focus on the brain functioning for the physiological part played in alcholoism. i do not doubt this is a factor. But I think there is more to it that may be overlooked by this article, namely the functioning of the liver in breaking down alcohol in our systems. Just a thought!
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:28 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I can't remember if she mentions the liver function aspect as well, but that's a good point! I need to read the article slower next time because I have a bad head cold and I don't think my brain is working on all cylinders today:-)
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:32 AM   #7 (permalink)
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i've read several things like it that were linked from the good people on here.

i like to think myself cerebral (not when passed out on the sofa) but it was an eye-opener for me on how alcohol doesn't just rewire our brain but many of our other organs.

they have to compensate for something they don't need. the day i quit my right side was 'hard'...it was definitely worrisome and being an idiot guy i just hoped it would go away instead of going to my doctor.

it did get better and i got a full workup at 3 months and my liver numbers were fine.

thanks for sharing.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Hey Fallen Man! I can relate, my body was so sick at the end, it was awful. I am currently uninsured but in the process of getting insurance, once I do I will see about a work up...I was scared to get one when I was drinking because I knew I was messing myself up!
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:41 AM   #9 (permalink)
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LF - that was a "deeeeeep thought" article and really makes sense. The following statements made me stop; grasp the concept and realize there is hope for all of us:

"When you stop artificially stimulating the reward pathway and allow your neurotransmitters to stabilize, cravings for alcohol and/or drugs simply disappear. When cravings disappear, then staying sober is no longer a struggle."

Thanks again for sharing and highly recommend everyone read it.

btw..... I'm trying to catch up with ya, but I'm still one day behind you..... :ghug3
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:45 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Cat, you gotta get a time machine! But I know how you feel I am always chasing Murray and TexasNative:-)

I thought the article gave a lot of hope on beating this disease...there is so much new research being done on addiction and the reasons behind it...we don't just have to accept a life sentence

P.S. - Class of July 2010 ROCKS!
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Old 08-03-2010, 01:05 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LaFemme View Post
Hey Fallen Man! I can relate, my body was so sick at the end, it was awful. I am currently uninsured but in the process of getting insurance, once I do I will see about a work up...I was scared to get one when I was drinking because I knew I was messing myself up!
i was the same way with my bp. i knew it was sky high. i didn't want to hear it from my doc.

i didn't want to see my liver numbers until the body had some time to heal.

fortunately everything looks great. my primary physician is a great guy and knows how i've battled. he's watched me quit 2 other times and is very proud that this one has stuck so far.

says i'm in great health for an old man....and he's older than me!!! is that any way to treat a patient???

tho' the human body has a great capacity for healing itself i sometimes catch myself wondering how much of my lifespan i took off with my abusive drinking. i love every day now and am in no hurry to get out of here.
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Old 08-03-2010, 01:16 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Not only do I regret the years I've taken off the length of my life but the wasted years drinking....that's why its so important to embrace the miracle of our sober lives:-D
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Old 08-03-2010, 04:02 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I am wondering about something. So I had my 4 days of withdrawal at the beginning and have been fine since. A few days ago I started to feel not so fine and for the past two days I have had a terrible head cold. I did a highly informal survey and found a fair number of people here also got sick in their first month of recovery.

How this pertains to this thread is that, if alcohol short circuits all our biochemistry then is this propensity towards illness in the first month or so a sign of this?

Thoughts?

Fyi, I never got sick when I drank.
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Old 08-03-2010, 04:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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That's interesting, LaFemme - I had two major sinus infections the first two months sober. I wondered the same thing myself. I know when people quit smoking they often get flu-like symptoms the first week, but that's probably because the membranes of the nose/mouth are in transition and more sensitive to viruses.

I often wondered if alcohol just killed the germs, and when it wasn't there anymore, it was easier to catch something. Hmmm..... another topic to research on Google!
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Old 08-03-2010, 05:04 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Perkins presents kind of a reductionist view of addiction in this article. Two questions popped into my mind as I read the article:

- If I remember my college logic classes the phrase “necessary and sufficient” applies to establishing scientific causality. The biochemistry described is necessary to explain addiction but is it sufficient? She lists what could be classified as contributory causes, but these do not enhance the argument for sufficiency.

- Once you have established a cause that is necessary and sufficient, is simply removing the cause going to reverse the syndrome? (Intuitively I would say no, but my brain is starting to hurt. Thanks LF;-)

I would have to read more of her work to see if she offers a broader view than behaviorism.
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Old 08-03-2010, 06:33 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Re...I think this is mostly a synopsis or intro to her theory. I'm glad your brain is hurting, its good for you;-)

AS...I've always done alcohol and nicotine withdrawal at the same time so I don't know whih of them caused my flu like 1sr week symptoms. This though is well after that? And it seems a common occurence. There is the possibility that we were too pickeled before to host viruses...but maybe we are getting sick because our body chemistry is being rewired???
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Old 08-03-2010, 09:22 PM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a fallen man View Post
they have to compensate for something they don't need. the day i quit my right side was 'hard'...it was definitely worrisome and being an idiot guy i just hoped it would go away instead of going to my doctor.

it did get better and i got a full workup at 3 months and my liver numbers were fine.
That is good to hear, my billirubin numbers were so high this spring my Dr. asked me if I wanted to go the hospital. I am supposed to go back in three months. I am not really worried about it, it is what it is, but it good to hear that news.
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Old 08-03-2010, 10:38 PM   #18 (permalink)
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La Femme:
This thread is a good one too. Thanks for mentioning it. My only criticism of the article is its statement that 12 step programs are ineffective without treating alcoholism by other means, such as diet, exercise, meditation, etc., all to rehabilitate the neurotransmitters. At least in my own experience, the 12 step program seemed to be essential and I did very little by way of exercise, diet, etc. The cravings went away in a few years. Now nearly 22 years of sobriety have elapsed. I have no alcohol cravings. But I continue to be watchful. The smell of booze can act as a trigger.
One last comment- some of the article's observations about the impact of alcohol on the pleasure centers of the brain were dramatically verified by me when I had been sober for a few months. It was always my practice to resume drinking when my wife went on a journey and left me alone. Thus, on a Sunday, when I had dropped my wife off at the airport, I was driving home and suddenly, without an ounce of alcohol in my system I suddenly felt so "high" as in the "old days" I might have felt if I had had three quick very dry martinis in a row. Pavlov's dog big time! My brain and its pleasure centers were saying "It's party time!" Fortunately I headed right away to an AA meeting. I didn't drink. Some folks have suggested that when this happens it helps to chew on a chocolate bar.
This is a fine article in most respects. As I have said, if you want more geek like musings from me, see my web page accessed by clicking on my name in the left margin of this message.

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Old 08-04-2010, 08:13 AM   #19 (permalink)
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LaFemme, thanks for pointing this out. I ordered her book, Get Sober, Stay Sober.
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Old 08-04-2010, 08:54 AM   #20 (permalink)
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As you can tell by my signature, Cynthia Perkins is singing my song.

Some people in this thread have noted that there appears to be missing information in her 'article', that's because it is an excerpt from her book, "Get Sober, Stay Sober, The truth about alcoholism". No doubt she would have fleshed out her position in other sections of the book.

I've never readGet Sober, Stay Sober but I'm going to see if our library has it, and if they don't, Ill order it online today.

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