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Research on Brain Chemicals May Lead to Treatment of Alcoholism

Alcohol-related problems cost society in economic terms approximately $185 billion a year, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The catastrophic costs in human terms cannot be determined. Addiction to alcohol results in human tragedy not only to the individual but also for families who love and support those caught in this grim illness. Joanna Peris, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of pharmacodynamics in the College of Pharmacy, is conducting basic research that looks at the changes in neurochemistry in the brains of rats choosing to drink alcohol. This research may discover what chemicals cause the cravings for alcohol and lead to a breakthrough in how to control the urge to drink too much. “My research will help us understand what goes on in the brain during excessive drinking,” Peris said. “This may lead us to come up with a therapy.”