Brain Imaging Provides Insight into a Person’s Odds of a Relapse of Alcohol Abuse

Brain Imaging Provides Insight into a Person’s Odds of a Relapse of Alcohol Abuse
Brain Imaging Provides Insight into a Person’s Odds of a Relapse of Alcohol Abuse
October 26, 2016

Detoxifying and coming out clean from alcohol addiction can be quite challenging. Well, what is more challenging is to steer free from situations that can trigger one to get into the habit. This need not be a reason to worry as the latest advancements in the science of brain imaging offers clues about whether or not you are likely to get back into the craving desire for addiction. This article features on the latest advancements in brain imaging and people who are at a greater risk of a relapse of alcohol addiction.

MRI brain scans can help in identifying susceptible patients

The region in the brain called the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is responsible for a person’s decision making abilities and controls emotions and the ability to withhold an urge. Over consumption of alcohol can damage this region of the brain and affect a person’s ability to fight urges. The brain scans of patients that show a high level of activity even at resting period are those who are at a rick of a relapse of addiction as opposed to those with regular brain patterns.

Read also: A miracle Chinese Herb to Cure Alcohol Induced Hangover

Structural MRIs analyzes changes in the parts of brain

Structural MRI image shows water molecules in the brain regions. The differences in the amount of water is showed in different shades of grey. It helps doctors to distinguish normal areas from abnormal tumors. Over consumption of alcohol can enlarge or shrink certain areas of the brain and structural MRI brain image can help in finding this.

Functional MRI assesses activities in the brain regions

Functional MRIs maps a person’s cellular activity level in different regions of the brain during different conditions. The images showed that alcoholics had less activation in prefrontal areas of the brain and also suggested impairing of the prefrontal cortex.

Read also: Alcohol can Cause Cancers and Accidents

Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy show changes in brain cells

This scan can show the exact location and presence of targeted chemicals in the tissues of the brain. MRS helps to understand the changes caused in the brain cells of alcohol addicts and impairments in areas that are responsible for cognitive skills and behavior.

Nuclear Medicine Imaging Techniques are helpful in alcoholism research

The nuclear medicine techniques are PET and SPECT that help to find out certain molecules in the brain. They can measure the amount of molecules where the concentration levels are very low. SPECT helps to analyze the blood flow in the brain. The PET and SPECT imaging techniques show how the use of alcohol affects neurotransmitters.

Read also: The Origin of the Word ‘Alcohol’ and What It Symbolizes

 A person’s personality will decide if relapse is possible

Meditation can calm the hyperactive prefrontal region of the brain of an alcoholic. This can change the personality of the alcoholic and thus with meditation the chances of a relapse can diminish.

Those who are ashamed of drinking are prone to relapse

The areas of the brain that are responsible for rewarding guides the decision-making process. These regions categorize experiences as pleasant or punishable. Alcoholics have an elevated level of activity in this area that forces the neurological system to vie alcohol as a very important thing. Thus alcoholics respond to stress by excessive drinking to satisfy urges.

Brain imaging techniques analyzes the effects of alcohol in brain

The brain imaging techniques help to understand the changes in different regions of the brains of alcoholics and compare the differences with non-alcoholics. The technique has helped to understand that alcohol addiction was a disease in itself that led to impairments in the brain and also affected the cognitive skills. These studies have led to a deeper understanding of the symptoms of addiction and the different approaches that can be adopted in choosing treatment for recovering. It also helps to study patients who are prone to a relapse and helps to decide the treatment options for such patients.

Read also: Alcoholism may be Associated with Intestinal Flora

Article highlights

  • Brain imaging can help in understanding the changes in the brains.
  • MRIS can help in identifying people prone to relapse.
  • Structural MRIs helps in finding out changes in the size of brains due to drinking.
  • Functional MRI points out changes in the level of activities in the brain.
  • MRS helps to determine the impairments caused in the brain.
  • PET MRI shows how drinking affects the brain cells.
  • SPECT MRI shows the blood flow in the brain.
  • Meditation can relax the hyperactive prefrontal region of the brain.
  • Those ashamed of drinking are more susceptible to a relapse.
  • Treatment options can be chosen accordingly.

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