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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: Research on brain chemistry, neurotransmitters, and the liver enzyme, alcohol dehydrogenase II, are all validating the biochemical model for addiction.
Author: Fraser Trevor
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brains! (Photo credit: cloois ) Researchers have discovered that alcoholics are much more likely than nonalcoholics to have a certain...
brains! (Photo credit: cloois)
Researchers have discovered that alcoholics are much more likely than nonalcoholics to have a certain gene affecting receptor sites for dopamine (a central nervous system neurotransmitter that is associated with pleasure-seeking behavior). Researchers theorize that the gene alters dopamine receptor sites in the brain. It has been found in 77% of alcoholics studied.
In research on the liver enzyme, it was found that many alcoholics process alcohol differently than nonalcoholics. Their livers change alcohol into acetaldehyde at twice the normal rate, while the subsequent conversion of acetaldhyde into acetic acid is abnormally slow and takes twice as long as normal. Two decades ago, Texas researcher Virginia Davis noticed during autopsies of skid row alcoholics that their brains contained an opiate that she first thought was heroin. Of course the indigent men could not have supported such an expensive drug habit. The heroin-like substance turned out to be potent psychoactive compounds called tetrahydroisoquinolines (THIQs), that had been manufactured inside their brains when acetaldehyde from the breakdown of alcohol had combined with natural neurotransmitters. Davis's data support the concept of alcoholism as a true addiction stemming from specific biochemical events leading to the formation of an addictive substance similar to opiates such as heroin. Although this book is focused entirely on alcoholism, a drug is a drug is a drug. All "recreational" drug use may ensue from a need for pleasure (wired in), which, when induced by an exogenous substance, changes our biochemistry and produces a dependent, or addictive state. The research all points in that direction.
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