At some point, each of us has been affected by a gnawing hunger. From that desire for waffles or eggs in the morning to that mid-afternoon craving for a snack, we seem to be plagued by a natural urge to put fuel in our tank (literally). So, did you know that this desire for food is caused by the same chemical signature that forces a drug addict or alcoholic to seek out their poison of choice? According to recent studies, chemicals that manipulate hunger may play a huge role in the “addiction process.” In fact, this new information could potentially open up new pathways for addiction treatment studies and rehabilitation methods. Let’s take a closer look at this phenomenon and find out more.
State of Hunger, State of Addiction
According to Dr. Mitchell Roitman (neuroscientist from the University of Illinois-Chicago), “gut hormones” send signals to the brain to modulate the release of dopamine (explaining why certain drinks or foods bring us great pleasure). Even more interesting, drugs like cocaine and alcohol also stimulate the brain in this same manner, forcing the gut hormones to turn up the dial on dopamine. So, the next time you reach for that donut, your pleasure is nearly identical to a cocaine addict snorting white powder (in a manner of speaking).
Good Old Ghrelin
Dr. Lorenzo Leggio (the leader of a joint team from the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Addiction) explains how ghrelin, a “hunger hormone,” can directly influence the appeal of alcohol in the same manner it triggers pleasure with food. In that light, the team from NIDA/NIAAA explains how people suffering from alcohol use disorder seek alcohol due to the influence of ghrelin alone.
Hunger Hormones vs. Hunger Hormones
So, how can this problem be overcome? When people finish eating, their bodies release GH-1, amylin, and other hunger hormones to signal that they have consumed enough food (a feeling of “fullness”). In a recent study, Dr. Elisabeth Jerlhag (University of Gothenburg, Sweden) and her team discovered that compounds chemically similar to amylin can reduce cravings for alcohol, even in rats that have been bred to exhibit alcoholism. In other words, medications that boost GH-1 and amylin can possibly reduce cravings for booze and drugs.
Seeking Treatment for Drug Addiction or Alcoholism
Always remember that alcohol and drugs do not have control over your life. You do. Are you suffering from a substance use disorder or a severe form of addiction? Do you have a friend or family member suffering from one or more of these debilitating illnesses? If you do, get in touch with Asana Recovery today. Our counselors and healthcare experts are ready to walk you through every step of the detox and withdrawal process and rehabilitation and guide you towards living a happier, healthier, and freer lifestyle. While the road to recovery might not be an easy road to travel, we promise to help you every step of the way. Take the first step to stay fit, healthy, and safe.
The time for you to take back control of your life is now. If you are interested in one of our residential treatment or supervised detoxification/withdrawal programs, we are ready and waiting to speak with you at your disclosure. Call Asana now at (949) 438-4504 to learn how to overcome your alcohol abuse, drug abuse, or addiction troubles today.