The Sweetness and Alcoholism Connection

The Sweetness and Alcoholism Connection

Is there a connection between having a “sweet tooth” and becoming an alcoholic? Researchers at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC-CH) School of Medicine suggest there is. In 1997, they first reported seeing a higher incidence in alcoholism among those people who preferred sweeter tasting foods and beverages.

The following year, these same researchers reported additional findings based on ongoing research. Now they suggest that this preference for sweets in persons with certain personality traits can actually predict with considerable accuracy a future disposition toward alcoholism. According to Research North Carolina: “These personality traits are found in a person who would be impulsive by nature, but because of fears and anxiety does not follow through with impulsive acts. This research, conducted both on humans and on laboratory rats, may lead to the development of an easy-to-administer diagnostic test for examining one’s risk of alcoholism.”

James C. Garbutt, a psychiatrist and Director of the Division of Clinical Research Services, Dorothea Dix Hospital, suggests that studies of this nature may indicate one subtype of alcoholic. His associate elaborated: “ People don’t realize there’s more than one type of alcoholism,” says Linda Powell, a clinical research associate who has worked with Garbutt since 1987. “That may be why it is so hard to treat some people. Like cancer, some types are much more treatable.” In a related matter, other researchers suggest that hypoglycemia may be impacted significantly by alcohol.

With these thoughts in mind, and the fact that with current traditional treatments for both alcoholism and obesity, people continue to drink and eat too much for their body types, it may make sense to look at alternative treatments for alcoholism. One intriguing avenue currently being explored is nutritional treatments for alcoholics. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information provide comprehensive information about alcoholism, including symptoms, diagnosis, and detoxification. It also provides an overview of some of the alternative treatments, including a nutritional approach to preventing the recurrence of alcoholism.

Another alternative approach to preventing the recurrence of alcoholism is the counter-conditioning therapy, also sometimes known as “aversion therapy,” offered by some alcohol and drug treatment centers, such as Schick-Shadel Hospital in Seattle, Washington.

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