Although there are many different facets to curing alcohol addiction, solving the chemical aspect could be the first step toward recovery for some.
Treating alcohol addiction with medicine is not a new idea. Almost a century ago the medication Disulfiram was created to help in the treatment of alcoholism; it is a pill that once ingested gives a person severe hangover-like symptom almost immediately after taking a drink. According to WebMD,
The drug changes the way your body breaks down alcohol. If you drink alcohol while you are taking disulfiram, you will experience uncomfortable symptoms, including severe nausea, vomiting, and headache.
It would seem to be a relatively easy solution for someone struggling with addiction right? Unfortunately, the side effects are so intense that most patients stop taking it after a short time, rendering it useless. That may not be a problem for too much longer though. The Daily Mail reports that Scientists from the University of Chile may have discovered a solution, in the form of a vaccine that once administered could last anywhere from 6 months to a year.
The vaccine, which was developed to help combat the growing problem of alcoholism in Chile, keeps the liver from expressing the enzymes that break down alcohol in a person’s blood stream. They are so close in fact; researchers are hoping to be through the preclinical phase in time to start clinical testing on humans as early as November.
Although not a cure-all, the vaccine could be a good first step for many addicts who are trying to get sober. Dr. Juan Asenjo, director of the university’s Institute for Cell Dynamics and Biotechnology told the Santiago Times,
People who end up alcoholic have a social problem; a personality problem because they’re shy, whatever, and then they are depressed, so it’s not so simple … But if we can solve the chemical, the basic part of the problem, I think it could help quite a bit.
The researchers believe this new drug has the potential to affect millions of lives across the globe who are struggling with addiction.
Do you think vaccinating someone to have a physical aversion to alcohol will help reduce rates of alcoholism?
Feature photo: Imagens Evangélicas/Flickr
Photo: Andres Rueda/Flickr