A small research team at the University of Michigan has come out with a study that could provide possible treatment for alcohol dependency especially in individuals who use the substance to get sleep.
There are many alcoholics who drink so they can sleep. They use it as an alternative to sleeping pills. Little do they know, they’re not exactly getting quality sleep. On the contrary, there is a higher risk of them developing chronic insomnia which could further aggravate their dependence on liquor. Doctors are hesitant to prescribe sleeping pills for these patients because just like alcohol, these drugs can be habit-forming. It could give rise to whole new addiction.
Hence, the study that was conducted by sleep researchers on a potential treatment to the dilemma.
The study was presented in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research. The research suggests that a drug called gabapentin may be able to help lessen the insomnia that those trying to recover from alcoholism may be experiencing.
Gabapentin is generally used to treat epilepsy and chronic pain. Unlike other drugs that are prescribed for insomnia, this medication is not addictive.
The study consisted of 21 insomniacs who were recovering from alcoholism. The experiment was randomized and placebo-controlled. According to the results of the experiment, thirty percent of the subjects who got the treatment during recovery went back to alcohol use. Eighty percent of those who got the placebo experienced the same effect. The researchers found that those who got the drug were less likely to go back to their old drinking habits or, if relapse was even possible, it happened later. This was according to Kirk Brower MD, leader of the experiment. “Gabapentin prevented and delayed relapse. Meanwhile, patients reported sleeping better in both the treatment and placebo groups which may be due to the gabapentin in the first group and the resumption of drinking in the other.”
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