A recent study has shown that "Brains may be wired for addiction". This study has shown that siblings have similar abnormalities (compared to the general population) in brain structure but one has become an addict whilst the other hasn't. The abnormalities are in the areas of self-control and emotional response it is believed.
My first thought on hearing this was "no shit Sherlock" - anyone who has been around addiction and in particular 12-step recovery groups will normally find an overwhelming belief within the majority addicts that they were "wired up differently" and with retrospective hind-sight consider themselves to have been "an addict waiting to happen" long before they discovered their drug of choice. As I say this isn't everybody's view but a prevalent one. I know little of the addiction issues in previous generations in my family - largely as many were dead long before I was either alive or able to ask them. However one other close relative of mine is in recovery now in their 20s and in a smallish family you have to say there is there anecdotal evidence that it is an inherited trait right there. Funny that the scientists are catching up with a view held by AA for approaching 80years or so now.
The bit I found most interesting was a comment from one of the authors on the BBC report that said "...offer the possibility of new ways of treating high-risk individuals to develop better 'self control'" ... Really? The simple fact is that in over 7 years of recovery now I've not found a single alcoholic that can develop better self-control - we normally have spent several years in that battle, I had. There was no control possible I had to stop - but then the difficulty with the stopping was huge as alcohol ruled my life by then. Also all those I've met have reached some point of "rock bottom" - that doesn't have to be homeless, on the street, daily drinking but some form of emotional, spiritual, emotional or health rock bottom that has made them just give up the fight. All forms of rationalisation should, you would have thought, brought them to the understanding that they couldn't and shouldn't drink like they did a long time before that point.
The idea of a "magic pill" to make addicts stop craving and feel better is a notion all in the throws of addiction and recovery have desired either desperately or as merely as a laughable thought. However replacing one substance that is altering how your mind functions with another one may only create legions of "addiction drug therapy" users. And one thing with an addict if they find something that makes them feel better trust me they will abuse it - that is what is in their nature or by then nurture maybe. There are times we all need to take things for headaches, depression, etc. but I for one am always highly critical and vigilant about how much I'm taking and why I'm taking it needing to question my motives all the time I know more than one alcoholic who had a slip that started with a quick gulp of cough syrup to ease that tickly cough.
I applaud the work and it is good it has received a lot of publicity with the article getting published. It won't of course stop those that always say that drunks should just stop drinking and see it as a moral issue rather than a disease but hopefully this will have just nudged some of the doubters to more open views on addiction and those that suffer in it's grip. If just one person hearing that today decided to get help for their own problem then that is an even greater benefit.