Purdue creating technology to treat alcoholism and depression

There are drugs that treat alcoholism and there are drugs that treat symptoms of anxiety and depression. A development for a drug that can treat both is underway.

Posted: Sep. 20, 2018 7:16 PM

West Lafayette, Ind. (WLFI) -- What if there was a drug that could reduce the effects of alcoholism and depression at the same time? Purdue researchers have developed a technology that could potentially do both.

There are drugs that treat alcoholism and there are drugs that treat symptoms of anxiety and depression. A development for a drug that can treat both is underway.

Research has shown that although addiction and feelings of depression affect different parts of the brain, the disorders go hand in hand.

Robert Cassell, a researcher with Purdue is part of the creation of the drug. He said the idea in wanting to make a drug like this came from recognizing a rising issue of alcoholism in our country.

“If we could have one drug that’s able to help these various issues, both reducing people’s carvings for alcohol while at the same time reducing anxiety and depression like symptoms, and then if you’re able to kind of bring everything together, then make a happy, healthy individual,” said Cassell.

He explains the drug as a key that can unlock specific brain receptors that control desires and behaviors.

Cassell says the goal of the drug is to tap into those receptors to reduce the desire to drink alcohol while also treating the symptoms of depression.

Chris Adam, a local Crisis Counselor with National Crisis Text Line works closely with people who struggle with depression and anxiety. He said this drug can be a step forward for those dealing with the underlying issues of alcoholism.

“This drug isn’t going to help people necessarily totally end their cravings for alcohol and it’s not going to help lift their spirits suddenly and make them happy but what it’s going to be able to do hopefully, it will reduce their alcohol cravings but at the same time lessen the symptoms of depression that they’re dealing with,” said Adams.

He hopes the effects of this drug will help it’s users want to talk and work through their issues.

Researchers are still working to perfect the drug so it can one day be on the market.

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