Tuesday, December 14, 2004


Addictions and OCD Go Hand in Hand

MSNBC - Alcoholism, overeating chemically linked: "The same brain chemical thought to increase our desire to overeat also appears to increase alcoholic tendencies, according to research released Tuesday.

A new study examined the behavior of drunken rats, but has implications for humans, researchers say. Scientists injected tiny amounts of the neuropeptide galanin, which has been shown to trigger excessive eating, into rats' brains and monitored their eating and drinking behaviors. Their water consumption did not change, but they drank far more alcohol after being injected with the appetite-increasing chemical.
Previously, the researchers found that drinking alcohol increased the amount of galanin in the brain. They described this effect as a 'positive feedback loop' between alcohol and the chemical, which also appears to prompt cravings for fatty foods. Foods high in fat have also been shown to trigger a similar feedback loop involving galanin.
'We definitely think there's a linkage there,' said Michael Lewis, a Princeton University psychology researcher and one of the study's authors."

While I am glad they have found proof of it, I think it is somewhat obvious that the same reward centers in the brain are triggered when overeating as when drinking, having sex, or doing other pleasurable things. People who have a tendency toward alcoholism tend to have other obsessive habits, maybe not to the level of a person fully diagnosed with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but notable tendencies. In fact, it is more than just buzz issue pleasures that these people tend to get obsessed over, such as hobbies, religion, work, child-rearing, etc. Since so many different things can spur a reaction from these reward centers, there is the capacity to go overboard with things perceived as less harmful. When that happens, it tends to go under the person's family's radar as just not knowing when to quit, etc.

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