The Curious Link Between Intestinal Bacteria and Alcoholism

The Curious Link Between Intestinal Bacteria and Alcoholism

Bacteria in the gut are having a field day right now. The microbes in the gut are seen more now than ever as essential to overall health. They may even play a role in alcohol addiction and risk of relapse. Studies are being done which look at evidence that alcohol addiction is not only in the brain but is the result of an imbalance in the intestinal flora. Learn why this is and how it impacts our view of addiction to alcohol.

Go with Your Gut

The intestinal bacteria was reviewed for 60 people with alcoholism. The 60 people in the study had an equal use of alcohol. After the test participants spent 19 days in rehab. It became apparent there was a big difference between those people and those who recovered well. The risk of relapse seemed to be related to gut flora. Leaky gut syndrome was one way people suffered and had a low amount of intestinal bacteria. The leaky gut syndrome is linked to inflammation of the gut and diseases like Crohn’s disease. After approximately 19 days without alcohol, the 26 test subjects scored higher on the tests measuring depression, anxiety, and alcohol cravings. The remaining 34 people with normal gut flora were recovering better, scoring low on depression, anxiety, and alcohol cravings. The scores decreased to those comparable with those who had no drinking issues. The conclusion ultimately was that intestinal flora is connected to the likelihood of relapse after sobering up in rehab.

No Connection Proven

This is one study of many being done to look at the role of gut bacteria in addiction. This is not entirely indicative of a connection between gut flora and alcoholism. The study shows correlation, and nothing else. Even though there is overlap, it does not prove there is a connection between the gut flora and increased alcohol addiction.

Brain-gut Connection

One other interesting area of exploration is looking at the bacteria in the gut and alcohol addiction. There is a need for more studies before more can be understood. It is still unknown how the connection between the gut and brain works. There seems to be some way of looking at how the brain works and what the gut bacteria has to do with syncing up to brain activity, which can relate back to addictive behavioral patterns. The key is not extrapolating before we know anything but also keeping in mind the complexities of the brain, gut, and addictive behaviors that can have many causes and need careful, individualized treatment plans to be successful.

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Community model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.