A revolutionary new treatment - maybe even a cure?
Chronic alcoholism has now reached epidemic proportions.
There are many possible causes and maybe even different types of diseases. I have argued elsewhere that our toxic alcohol environment is critical to this massive increase in the number of patients. To keep alcohol abuse under control, it is imperative that this factor be addressed.
Many treatments have been used over the years to combat the disease of the individual. These range from psychological, psychiatric, and drug therapies; often used in combination. Few had significant success, ie long-term abstinence.
It is becoming increasingly clear that many of us end up consuming alcohol in order to limit the extremely debilitating situation for us. Many people with alcoholism also suffer from various degrees of chronic anxiety, sometimes mixed with obsessive-compulsive characteristics. To them, the hardships of a normal life seem exaggerated and disproportionate. Many find everything except impossible to work at home or at work. To “calm down” this chronic state of tension, fear or even panic, they turn to an easily available “anxiolytic”. Alcohol. And unfortunately it works miracles. At least for a while. And at what price for the individual, his family, his job, his finances and his health. So far, this has been underestimated and therefore outsourced.
Baclofen is a long-established drug that has been used for over 70 years to treat many neurological diseases such as spasticity (increased muscle tone), muscle cramps, etc. are annoying; for example. Multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, cerebral palsy, etc. Some of these symptoms are not uncommon in chronic alcoholics, and when baclofen has been used to treat such symptoms in this group, the craving for alcohol has been reported to be significantly reduced.
Baclofen is a synthetic analogue of GABA - a neurotransmitter that "nestles" or inhibits the nervous system in general.
Several preclinical studies (i.e. primarily experimental laboratories), often on rats, have shown that synthetic agonist analogs from GABA, particularly baclofen, are likely to help promote and maintain abstinence from a variety of drug abuse.
Simply put, lab rats obviously have no idea what drugs are. They are rats. So if you provide them with medication, they only take it when they need it in an addictive sense. To use the jargon, they "manage" themselves. If you are addicted to them by giving them drugs in advance, you can test the effectiveness of drugs like baclofen to help them abstain, that is, not themselves to hurt. administer.
Such prevention of self-administration in baclofen has been found to occur in rats dependent (among other things) on cocaine, nicotine, heroin, methamphetamine and alcohol. Baclofen also appears to have a beneficial effect on reducing opiate withdrawal symptoms in morphine-dependent rats.
What do we now know about how that could happen?
We need to examine two different but related concepts very briefly.
On a positive note, the reward of feeling really good when the rat is on the drug is obviously making the rat do it again and again.
If the reinforcement is negative, the medication is conjured up to prevent or alleviate the unpleasant or downright painful signs and symptoms, i.e. the effects of withdrawal.
It seems that different parts of the brain could be involved in these different effects.
The important point is that baclofen can play a valuable role in these two types of strengthening. The details of neurophysiology are far too complicated for this particular discussion.
The parts of the brain that appear to be involved in the path of positive reinforcement appear to be associated with a great sense of well-being (euphoria) for cocaine, heroin, nicotine and alcohol. Baclofen acts as an analogue and synthetic agonist from GABA to reduce this feeling of euphoria.
Conversely, there is now evidence in rats that baclofen also relieves the terrible, often painful signs and symptoms of withdrawal from opioids such as morphine.
There are fewer human studies, but the evidence for the benefits of baclofen is growing.
Although the data require further investigation, it appears that baclofen has the same potential to improve both positive and negative values in humans.
This is why it was thought possible that baclofen could play a potentially valuable role in the treatment of alcohol cravings and other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal and chronic anxiety, which seems to be so common among alcoholics.
It is very early and a lot of research is needed. However, a French cardiologist with a very problematic alcohol addiction used baclofen on himself with surprising results. He maintained very long abstinence; the feeling that his desires were not suppressed, but were eliminated.
This has prompted many people to choose baclofen as the preferred treatment option for their own alcohol problem. There are now thousands of individual reports that Dr. Confirm Ameisen's own experience. Both the desire for alcohol withdrawal and the underlying chronic anxiety are reduced, if not very often, completely eliminated. In addition, baclofen is safe, inexpensive, and free from all addiction / withdrawal problems associated with many other anxiolytic medications. In addition, overdosing has never been fatal, even at high doses.
Unfortunately, despite this steadily growing number of "evidence", the medical community is very slow to recognize this potentially enormous advance in this debilitating disease.
Dr. Ants teases us with the suggestion that baclofen may have cured his addiction. It is the experience of many, including me, that he is right.