This was originally published in ‘The Nerve’ the Southampton Biological Society Paper:
Alcoholism is a growing problem in the UK, consumption of Alcohol is constantly on the rise and the number of the people being treated on the NHS for alcoholism has never been higher. It is a good omen therefore that there has emerged from France talk of a ‘cure’.
Dr Olivier Ameisen is an eminent French Cardiologist and reformed alcoholic. Having spent month in rehabilitation clinics with little effect Ameisen set about finding a solution to his malady himself. After reading that the muscle relaxant Baclofen had an unexpected effect of reducing alcohol and cocaine addiction on dogs he self prescribed and the results he says were “magical”, he states he immediately felt less of an impulse to drink.
This revelation has caused quite a commotion in Ameisen’s native France with many demands from Alcoholics to receive this treatment. Some doctors have obliged their patient’s requests and claim to have seen “pretty miraculous” results.
However despite the band wagon being pretty full of hopeful alcoholics and doctors it may be some time before Baclofen is a certified treatment. Alcoholism frequently has a psychological factor, a reason the individual was driven to drink in the first place. Without someone addressing these issues then who is to say they would not move on to other recreational substances to deal with their problems. As well as this, due to it being an untested treatment the action the drug takes is unknown or any long term implications of taking it. So while promising the news of this ‘cure’ should, while heartening, be treated with caution.