A drug that has been used for helping fight nausea with chemotherapy patients may also help alcoholics curb their drinking. In the near future we may see the medication ondansetron (Zofran), being used by therapists and counselors to help some alcoholics become abstinent. A study led by Bankole A. Johnson, Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences at the University of Virginia, published Wednesday in the American Journal of Psychiatry, deals with research on a gene known as 5-HTT, this gene plays an important role in the serotonin system of the brain. Variations 5-HTT can increase one's risk of a number of psychiatric disorders:
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
Science is changing how addiction may be treated in the future, understanding one's genetic makeup may be crucial to how people receive treatment on an individual level. "Genotyping is becoming more common place and inexpensive," Johnson said, opening the door to tailoring addiction treatment based on an individual's genes. Obviously, these are uncharted waters and will probably be a long time before any of this is put into practice, but, this is all part of the evolution of addiction treatment.