Introduction and description
Alcohol acts on the GABAA receptor as an allosteric modulator. It sedates, it reduces anxiety, it has a slightly hypnotic effect, and it can be calming. But it is also addictive. Alcoholism treatments.
Tolerance to alcohol is developed as the GABAA receptor adapts to the drug by increasing the number of receptors so more of the drug is needed to have the effect. This is a most unusual way for any drug to work. Most drugs tend to kill off cells when taken in high amounts, but all the GABAA agonists and allosteric modulators, when taken in very high quantities on a regular basis, cause the system to adapt by increasing the receptors and thus toning down the effect of continual intake.
But, if the alcohol is withdrawn, the receptors become hyperactive &ndash, stimulated &ndash, because there is not enough calming agent &ndash, GABA or alcohol or similar to tone down the excitability induced by the glutamate in the body.
The results are highly dangerous and can cause seizures, hallucinations, anxiety, depression, irritability, hypertension, tachcardia, muscle tension, insomnia and many other symptoms associated with tolerance and withdrawal. Additionally, the upregulated Calcium Channels are linked to an increase in neuropathy pain. Headaches, migraines and other sorts of sensitivity to pain.
In order to help alcoholics, a class of drug was developed that aims to replace the alcohol - the alcohol treatment drugs.
There are two types of drug that have been developed in this respect:
GABAA drugs - This replacement is, interestingly enough a GABAA allosteric modulator, which means you are replacing one allosteric modulator with another. So not treatment really &ndash, just replacement.
Opioids - Another solution that scientists appear to have come up with is to provide people with opioids. This is indeed novel, the opioids relieves the pain and suffering of the withdrawal, sedate the person and ensure that the person is dependent on two types of substances &ndash, opioids and GABA related alcohol.[sorry for the slight cynical slant here]. &hellip,&hellip,&hellip,&hellip,.
Alcoholism its treatments and mistreatments
And these have produced hallucinations, although it is often difficult to tell whether the hallucinations are caused by the drug or the alcohol withdrawal or withdrawal from the drug - it is, in the long term, often the latter.
The fact that some of these drugs are simply a replacement of one GABAA allosteric modulator with another has not gone unnoticed in the research community &hellip,&hellip,&hellip,&hellip,
As you can see, it has also not gone unnoticed that drugs like clomethiazole are abused and also bring with them problems of dependence. On the other hand, the message has not entirely got through to all researchers that drugs are drugs are drugs&hellip,&hellip,&hellip,&hellip,
As a small aside, (GHB), also known as 4-hydroxybutanoic acid and sodium oxybate is categorized as an illegal drug in many countries. It is currently regulated in Australia and New Zealand, Canada, most of Europe and in the US. GHB has been used in a medical setting as a general anaesthetic, but has also been used as an intoxicant (illegally in many jurisdictions) or as a date rape drug.
If you were an alcoholic trying to get off the alcohol, which would you prefer &ndash, a gradually reducing supply of 1989 Beaujolais or a date rape drug?
There is one advantage of some of these drugs &ndash, some not all - over alcohol as the means of withdrawal and that is that they give the liver a chance to recover.
A glance at the eHealthme site which reports on the actual side effects reported by doctors as experienced by their patients describes common side effects as follows:
As of mid 2014 in the USA, Xyrem had caused 314 deaths, Oxazepam had caused 160 deaths, Vivitrol had caused 43 deaths, Revex had caused 1 death.
How it works
Why do these drugs produce hallucinations, visions, near death experiences etc?
All the drugs in this class are potentially addictive.
All of them produce sedative effects just like alcohol which they mimic. So ultimately the hallucinations being experienced in theory from these drugs is actually not caused by the drugs but by withdrawal from the drugs.
And here the experiences mimic those of alcohol withdrawal with delirium tremens, wild hallucinations and so on.
But Xyrem may produce hallucinations for a different reason. Xyrem is the sodium salt of &gamma,-hydroxybutyric acid ( GHB). The section on this drug should help in explaining why hallucinations occur with Xyrem
References and further reading
The table below shows the summary of the number of hallucinations according to eHealthme. The link provided with each drug takes you to the eHealthme site and shows the side-effects of each drug, as compiled from actual patient reports and experiences
Alcoholism treatment quarterly
Wisdom, Inspiration, Divine love & Bliss
Out of time
Near death, Out of time, Out of body, Rebirth
Kundalini, Ecstasy, Moksha, Nirvana and Annihilation
Synaesthesia, Pure or enhanced perception, Inter composer communication, Vision, Dream, Perception recall, Exploring group perception