A recent experiment with fruit flies, that showed a preference for alcohol drinking by male fruit flies, after they were rejected in mating behavior is said to be of profound significance in the future treatment of alcoholism and addiction.
The experiment has shown that levels in the brain of neuropeptide F (NPF) will determine whether or not a rejected male fruit fly turns to alcohol drinking. Fruit flies with high levels of NPF chose to eat normal food in the experiment even when rejected, whereas fruit fly males with low levels of NPF, preferred the food laced with alcohol, whether or not they were rejected.
Neuropeptide Y, (NPY) in the human brain is the equivalent of NPF in the fruit fly. NPY plays a regulatory role in dealing with stress.
NPY in the human brain is associated with anxiety and depression, memory, the reward system and stress related adaptive behavior.
NPY function is associated with other biochemicals and parts of brain, such as the hippocampus that mediates memory, spatial location, learning behavior and stress. All of the “feel good” chemicals in the body are at optimal levels, and functioning well in a person who feels happy, rewarded and content.
Low levels of the biochemicals needed to support happiness and pleasure don’t just happen of their own accord and “by chance”. Disruption of natural, normal endorythmns is a direct response when the environment fails for one reason or another to provide support, encouragement and reward.
When our natural feel good chemicals are low – we feel out of sorts, dissatisfied, perhaps painfully unhappy. This not a disease, it is not a disorder. It is the bodies way of telling us that we need to make changes in our behavior, in our environment if we want to again enjoy life and regain our former feelings of happiness.
Medical science does not see it this way – they spend a lot of time discovering the chemicals that are out of balance when we feel “disordered”. Of course, there will be chemicals out of balance when we have a disorder – that’s what a disorder is.
Medical science seeks out disordered chemical regulators in the body with the view of developing up a drug to artifically modify them, by means of “medication”.
The remedy for disorders of body and spirit is to change our attitude, the environment to the extent that we can, for more healthy conditions. Artifically stimulating one part of the body or another, with a chemical substance might bring temporary, symptomatic relief – to reap a later whirlwind of rebound stress and disorder.
Low levels of NPY are associated with alcoholism, as is depression and addictive drug use. Chronic stress and related high levels of cortisol in the body is the most frequent cause of chemical “dysregulation” in the body, that leads to variations in endocrine production, that unrelieved, and over time – can have a detrimental effect on good health.
Chronic stress leads to adrenal fatigue – the body might crave high energy food, to support activity to combat our stress – laid down as fat in the body when it is not used. Overweight, depressed, depleted, next thing we know we have diabetes type II and add insulin to our growing pile of healthcare medications.
The experiment in which sex starved fruit flies appeared to compensate for their frustration, by consuming alcohol in preference to normal food shows that the presence or absence of NPK is related to the drive for reward, when there is the experience of dissatisfaction. If you chemically inhibit, or increase the levels of a hormone in the body by artificial methods- you can cause “flow on effects” from that into other biochemcal processes.
Introducing any alien substance into the human body is effectively disruptive to normal balance and regulation. Best holistic practice ensures an optimal environment that promotes natural healing and recovery by the body and mind, that is essentially non-intrusive.
Sex and alcohol capture the human imaginattion, and to a large extent would seem to fulfil our recreational needs. Fruit flies feeling somewhat jaded, frustrated and depleted were offered alcohol in a clinical setting as an alternative pursuit. Without exception, it seems that NPK depleted fruit flies will take to the alcohol, that is a substance known to provide a positive reward, a source of energy.
Studies have shown however, that clinical studies are a restricted environment, in which choices are limited. Someone who is depressed, constrained by anxiety from exercising full freedom of choice might respond in a similar way to subjects in clinical trials. However, in the wider world there is a host of alternatives and options that we might try in preference to drug use. The human brain is designed to be inventive.
A person distressed at having to go out in the rain, because they will get wet, uses their brain to seek ways around the problem and invents an umbrella.
Medical science gives us a pill so that we don’t mind that the rain is wet. Happily we go out in the rain and come back with double pneumonia, but that’s not a problem as medical science – has a drug for that.
In a world of better options than drugs or alcohol, our sex deprived fruit flies might well take to cleaning their cars, or body building at the gym – natural options that provide pleasure, reward and use energy in a positive way.
Next time you feel disappointed, feel in need of reward, before you reach for the alcohol – think – am I a fruit fly in a clinical trial – or are there some better options available.
People who feel constrained by their lifestyle,
into bingeing on food or alcohol can get the help that they need for complete addiction recovery.
Comprehensive alcohol and drug addiction recovery programs in Canada, bring an end to substance abuse and addictive behavior – opening our minds to new solutions and opportunities.