Back in July 2012, I happened upon an article about Swedish scientists who have been working on a new drug specifically for alcohol treatment. The drug, for now given the moniker of OSU6162, is supposed to stabilize the amount of dopamine released by the brain.
Drinking alcohol triggers a release of dopamine from the brain, thereby giving more of a euphoric-type feeling. However, as more and more alcohol is consumed over time, not nearly as much dopamine is released from the brain, causing alcoholics to continue drinking more and more to try to get the euphoric feeling back again, to no avail.
The new drug being tested right now works to stabilize dopamine levels, either by raising lower levels or decreasing higher levels.
Swedish scientists have been using the new drug on rats, who reportedly have a similar brain-reward function as humans.
However, here’s the problem I have with this new development.
While it may help the brain physically, what is it doing for the person mentally and emotionally?
Addiction is a three-pronged disease, affecting mind, body and spirit. Anyone who has ever entered into a drinking rehab or who has undergone alcohol treatment of any kind is well aware of the effects that alcohol has on much more than just the brain itself.
Only three drugs have ever been approved by the FDA for alcohol treatment and dependence, and all three of them still require additional treatment options that include therapy, counseling and many other treatment options.
12 Keys Rehab is a Florida alcohol rehab that will never administer drugs as an alcohol treatment option. They firmly believe that using drugs to treat addiction is nothing more than an exercise in harm reduction. Many drinking rehab facilities have adopted harm reduction therapy as an alternative to other alcohol treatment options, including using drugs to help ‘wean’ alcoholics to more safer levels of consumption or abstinence altogether.
12 Keys believes that to be a waste of time. By working with clients to help them understand the triggers that help exacerbate their addiction and by using practical application of the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, 12Keys believes that each client can find a fulfilling life in recovery without ever having to use medication to deal with their addiction.
12 Keys chooses to look at medication as a form of replacement therapy, thereby not doing anything to help alcoholics effect change in their lives. Alcohol treatment at 12 Keys is about working with each and every client to help them understand how their actions and behaviors led to their addiction and how their actions continued to exacerbate their addiction.
By effectively going after the issues behind the physical aspects of the addiction, clients at 12 Keys are much more prepared to successfully stay away from that first drink by applying what they’ve learned on a daily basis.
No magic pill can replace that kind of therapy.