There have been a multitude of studies done throughout the years regarding how addiction comes into being. This has included studies regarding physiological, as well as psychological factors regarding the development of addiction and cravings. Even with the vast amounts of study and research done, the different results of these have not completely ascertained what causes addiction cravings. While this may be the case, research always continues, which has produced results from a new study which may shed some light on the precise genesis of addiction cravings in the brain.
A New Study Regarding Alcohol’s Effect Upon the Brain
According to a new study, it turns out that your cravings for a drink could be from a small part of the right side of the brain. This small structure is called the ventral striatum, and it functions as a large part of the reward system of the brain. Scientists at the Indiana University School of Medicine conducted a study using two forms of brain imaging methods, PET (positron emission tomography) and fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), to see what happened in the brain when 28 beer drinkers were given some of their preferred beer in comparison with when they had a taste of a type of sports drink. The ventral striatum and frontal lobes showed an increase in activity from the taste of the beer, while the sports drink produced much less activity in these parts of the brain.
A previous study lead by one of the same researchers as the recent study, David A. Kareken, Ph.D., who is the deputy director of the Indiana Alcohol Research Center, as well as professor of neurology at the Indiana University School of Medicine yielded other interesting results as well. The previous study, which was done upon 49 men with regard to alcohol’s effect upon the brain, had shown that alcohol produced dopamine release. This was prior to the subjects feeling any sort of intoxication from alcohol consumption, but rather just the taste produced this release. Dopamine release in the brain has been connected by a lot of research to the use of other types of drugs as well. The difference in this newer study was the addition of fMRI scanning which showed the connection of tasting beer with the activity in the frontal lobes and ventral striatum.
The new study using both brain imaging methods, rather than only PET scans, was done upon 28 men that were beer drinkers, who were part of the previous study as well. The results of this research are a great breakthrough in the science behind alcohol’s effect upon the brain, and were even published in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The additional type of brain imaging in this study opened a whole new door in locating the origination point of cravings. This could be the first step in discovering the exact way in which individuals develop a dependency upon certain substances, and the physiological mechanics of it.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, do not hesitate to seek help. Addiction is a progressive disease and can tend to worsen over time. We know it can be difficult to find the right treatment center that will fit the needs of you or your loved one. We are here to expedite that process as much as possible for you. Our advisors can help you to find the perfect private inpatient rehabilitation center to address all the needs of you or your loved one. Do not wait, call us today.