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Prayer Found to Reduce Alcohol Cravings

Prayer Found to Reduce Alcohol Cravings
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By    |   Thursday, 26 May 2016 03:28 PM

Can prayer reduce alcoholics’ cravings for a drink? A surprising new study of long-term members of Alcoholics Anonymous suggests the answer may be yes.

Researchers at NYU Langone Medical Center found AA members reported little to no cravings for their drink of choice after participating in the program, suggesting the faith-based program may somehow change the brains of participants.

For the study, published in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, the researchers recruited 20 long-term AA members who had reported having no cravings for alcohol during the week before testing. Each participant was placed in an MRI scanner and asked to read a newspaper or recite an AA prayer promoting abstinence from alcohol.

The participants were then shown images of alcohol and drinking.

All of the research subjects reported cravings after having seen the images, but they reported less intense cravings after reciting the AA prayer. The MRI scans showed significant changes in regions of the brain associated with controlling attention and emotional responses.

"This finding suggests that there appears to be an emotional response to alcohol triggers, but that it's experienced and understood differently when someone has the protection of the AA experience," said lead researcher Dr. Marc Galanter, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse at NYU Langone.

The findings suggest what AA members refer to as a “spiritual awakening” — the transition from craving alcohol to rejecting it — may result from psychological or neurological changes that lead to a different, more effective attitude toward drinking.

"Our current findings open up a new field of inquiry into physiologic changes that may accompany spiritual awakening and perspective changes in AA members and others,”
Galanter noted.

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Prayer can help reduce alcoholics' cravings for a drink, a surprising new study of long-term members of Alcoholics Anonymous suggests.
prayer, alcohol, cravings
Thursday, 26 May 2016 03:28 PM
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