What drives us to drink
The mechanism behind the need for an evening relaxer
15th September 2017
Researchers at the University of Adelaide have discovered a new link between the brain's immune system and the desire to drink alcohol in the evening and there does appear to be an antidote to this age-old problem.
Taking the opiate antagonist naltrexone appears to stop this impulse by blocking the immune receptor - toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) - in the brain.
In laboratory studies using mice, the researchers showed a significant reduction in nigh-time drinking in those who had been given naltrexone.
"Our body's circadian rhythms affect the reward signals we receive in the brain from drug-related behaviour, and the peak time for this reward typically occurs during the evening, or dark phase,” says PhD student Jon Jacobsen.
"Our studies showed a significant reduction in alcohol drinking behaviour by mice that had been given