AI and genetics could help doctors treat alcohol addiction

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In a new study, a doctor named Albert Arias was working with a team at Virginia Commonwealth University to help patients with alcohol use disorder.

They knew that abstinence from alcohol was important for these patients, but they also knew that it was not easy to achieve.

There were different medications available to help patients reduce their desire to drink, but it was not always clear which medication would work best for each patient.

Dr. Arias and his team wanted to solve this problem.

They thought that if they could better understand which individual factors could predict how patients would respond to certain medications, they could make better medication recommendations.

To do this, they turned to artificial intelligence, a technology that can help analyze large amounts of data and find patterns.

The team analyzed data from a clinical trial where heavy drinkers were given either a placebo or a drug called zonisamide, which has shown promise in helping patients overcome alcohol addiction.

The researchers used this data to create predictive models that would help them understand which combination of individual traits were most associated with fewer days spent drinking heavily following zonisamide treatment.

They looked at traits like alcohol cravings, anxiety, depression, mood states, and genetic profiles associated with alcohol use.

The models were very accurate in determining which people would benefit from zonisamide. They found that genetics was the most important factor for predicting treatment response, but even without the genetic profiles, the models were still able to provide strong predictions.

This means that even basic clinical information can be used to calculate the likelihood of response to a certain medication for alcohol use disorder.

Up to 35% of heavy drinkers are estimated to develop alcohol-related liver disease, which can ultimately lead to liver failure.

Researchers spoke about the importance of bringing together different disciplines to address the problem of liver disease and metabolic health.

They emphasized the potential for the research community to do amazing things that will be transformative for patients.

So, with the help of artificial intelligence and a collaborative effort from researchers, there is hope for better treatment options and outcomes for patients with alcohol use disorder and liver disease.

How to treat alcohol addiction

Treating alcohol addiction involves a combination of therapies that are tailored to the individual’s needs. Here are some of the common treatment options:

Detoxification: This is the first step in treating alcohol addiction. It involves withdrawing the individual from alcohol and managing the withdrawal symptoms, which can be severe. Detoxification is typically done in a supervised setting, such as a hospital or detox center.

Medications: Medications can help reduce cravings and make it easier for the individual to stay sober. Some of the medications used to treat alcohol addiction include naltrexone, acamprosate, and disulfiram.

The medication that works best for an individual may vary based on their unique circumstances.

Behavioral therapies: Behavioral therapies can help individuals change their attitudes and behaviors toward alcohol.

This can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps the individual identify and change negative thoughts and behaviors, and motivational interviewing, which helps the individual find the motivation to change.

Support groups: Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, can provide a sense of community and support for individuals in recovery. Support groups can also provide accountability and encouragement to stay sober.

Aftercare: Aftercare is important to help individuals maintain sobriety after treatment. This can include ongoing therapy, support groups, and follow-up care with a healthcare provider.

It’s important to note that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to treating alcohol addiction. Treatment must be tailored to the individual’s unique needs and circumstances.

If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol addiction, it’s important to seek help from a healthcare provider or a substance abuse professional.

If you care about alcohol, please read studies that people over 40 need to prevent dangerous alcohol/drug interactions, and how to prevent alcohol poisoning.

For more information about alcohol and your health, please see recent studies about how to treat non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, and results showing that alcohol abuse can be a symptom of dementia.

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