Can a Stroke Cause Alcoholism?

Can a Stroke Cause Alcoholism?

The brain is a fragile organ. Slight changes, blunt impacts, chemical alterations, or malfunctions like a stroke can cause permanent damage or change to the brain. Events like strokes are unpredictable. A stroke is a disease as well as a spontaneous event. Determining a stroke is not always easy. Most often, stroke can be identified through obvious physical symptoms. There will be a droop or drop in one side of the body. The face will appear to sag on one side as the nervous system gets confused. Muscle weakness, loss of limb control, and impaired speech will also suddenly occur. Stroke can also be subtle. Brain imaging scans can reveal that someone has gone through many “mini” strokes before, without the severe symptoms.

Strokes occur when a blood vessel, which carries oxygen and necessary nutrients to the brain, somehow gets blocked by a clot or might burst. Just one vessel block can lead to many other vessels getting blocked and result in a stroke. The brain does not receive enough blood, oxygen, and nutrients. As a result, cells in the brain die, resulting in the physical and motor function symptoms of stroke. Though an individual, their brain, face, and body, can recovery after a stroke, there are permanent damages and risks. New research has found that a stroke could lead to an increased risk of alcoholism.

Rats who had suffered a common kind of stroke, ischemic stroke, were analyzed for the study. Within five days after the stroke the rats, who were given a choice between alcohol and water, “had a much lower overall liquid intake but a significantly higher preference for alcohol over water when they did drink,” according to The Daily Mail. Compared to their preference of alcohol before the stroke, the rats chose alcohol more often after suffering the stroke.

As for why the experience of a stroke might encourage more alcohol consumption, the article explains that because stroke can “kill” certain cells in certain areas of the brain, it can prevent the inhibition of specific signals, like not taking a drink. “This then causes other parts of the brain to become more excitable, resulting in the release of the hormone dopamine.” Dopamine is a key player in the neurobiology of alcoholism, as too much dopamine alters the brain’s perception of pleasure, caused by alcohol.

 

Recovering from alcoholism takes time and treatment. Real change is possible through the residential treatment programmes at Smarmore Castle Private Clinic outside of Dublin, Ireland. If you have developed alcoholism and are in need of help, call to speak with one of our caring staff members today about our detox and treatment programmes. +353 41 986 5080.

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