Alcoholism, which is also known as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) is a condition in which an individual has a desire or physical need to consume alcohol even when it’s affecting their life adversely. This condition is quite common and according to statistics from the National Institute of Health (NIH), an estimated 15.1 million American adults (6.2 percent of the population) had an alcohol use problem by the year 2015. Also, according to the World Health Organization, the harmful use of alcohol results in about 3.3 million deaths globally, every year.
Generally, people suffering from alcoholism never know when or how to stop drinking. They will rather spend their time thinking about alcohol and can hardly control the quantity they consume even if it’s causing them problems at work, in school or at home. It is worthy to note that alcohol abuse can be used in describing the excessive or inappropriate consumption of alcohol, but not necessarily dependence.
Some of the common symptoms of alcoholism include drinking alone or in secret, the inability to limit how much alcohol is consumed, blacking out and not being able to remember chunks of time, having rituals like drinking before, during or after meals/after work, feeling an urge to drink, storing alcohol is unlikely places, gulping drinks down in order to feel good, needing more alcohol to feel its effect, experiencing nausea, sweating and shaking when not drinking, losing interest in hobbies that were previously enjoyed, as well as having problems with relationships or the law.
Even though alcoholism develops slowly over the years in some people, it could as well take a few months to develop in others, with the risk factors being genes, peer drinking, easy access, stress, low self-esteem, depression, as well as media and advertising. Of course, alcohol abuse is bad as it could result in many other health complications such as fatigue, memory loss, hypertension, liver diseases, heart problems, gastrointestinal complications, certain types of cancers, diabetes, and erectile dysfunction. Aside from these health issues, alcoholism is equally attributed to a lot of psychological problems that could result in depression, accidents, domestic abuse, problems with work, school and the law, as well as suicide.
Alcoholism can be prevented and treated and some of the best ways of preventing alcoholism include abstinence, counselling, the use of drugs that either provoke a reaction to alcohol or curb cravings, as well as therapies that keeps one away from alcohol.
Over the years, CBD has also been fingered as one of the treatment options of Alcohol Use Disorder. Several studies have been conducted on the effectiveness of CBD in treating Alcohol Use Disorder. According to a recent study that was conducted this year (2019) and published by the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, CBD shows promise as a potential safe treatment option for alcoholism. It should be noted that this study used a comprehensive search strategy where 303 unique potential articles were identified, even though only 12 ultimately met criteria for inclusion. The findings from this study, therefore, indicated that CBD exert a neuroprotective effect against adverse alcohol consequences on the hippocampus in rodent models. As a matter of fact, CBD was found to attenuate alcohol-induced hepatotoxicity, specifically, alcohol-induced steatosis. Meanwhile, in human models, CBD was reported to be well tolerated and did not result in any adverse side effects.
In 2018, a study was also published in Neuropsychopharmacology. This study found that CBD could help in the prevention of relapse in drug and Alcoholic Use Disorder patients. This study was conducted on rats by scientists at the Scripps Research Institute in San Diego. During the study, rats were given a daily dose of cocaine and alcohol and this made them exhibit some addiction symptoms like anxiety and impulsivity. CBD gel was then injected into the skin of the rats after they became addicted. The scientist therefore observed that the rats that were injected with CBD showed reduced signs of relapse into addiction, even though they were exposed to stress. The findings from this study equally buttress the claim that CBD is effective in the treatment of Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).
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