Here at Fairwinds Treatment Center, we have long believed that mental illness and substance abuse are often linked, and now a new study is underscoring that connection. British researchers say that a particular gene variant makes carriers two to three times more likely to develop alcoholism, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. Approximately one in 200 people has the variant of the GRM3 gene, which is believed to play a role in the ways different parts of the brain communicate with each other.
Scientists at University College London (UCL) conducted a study in which they analyzed the genes of 4,971 people with one of the three disorders and compared them to 1,309 healthy subjects. They found that those with the relevant mutation were two or three times as likely to struggle with alcoholism and/or schizophrenia and three times as likely to develop bipolar disorder. The research recently appeared in the journal Psychiatric Genetics.
Study co-author David Curtis, a psychiatry professor at UCL, says the findings could have big implications for people struggling with alcoholism, bipolar disorder and/or schizophrenia. A separate, related research project in which he also participated confirmed the link between the GRM3 variant and mental illness. That research involved a consortium of scientists from more than 200 institutions working together to study the genomes of 36,989 schizophrenic subjects and 113,075 healthy ones.
"We could be looking at the next big drug target for treating mental illness," Curtis said in a news release. "The work opens up new ways to prevent and treat mental illnesses by revealing the mechanisms involved in their development. The result for GRM3 from the consortium is particularly compelling, as the odds of this occurring by chance are only one in a billion."
We were unsurprised to hear that researchers have linked a particular gene mutation to both alcoholism and mental illnesses like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. In fact, we firmly believe that many people struggling with addiction are also suffering from undiagnosed psychological conditions that have triggered or exacerbated their problems with substance abuse. Treating one without acknowledging the other is almost certain to result in a failed recovery.
That's why Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef has spent the last 25 years using a unique dual diagnosis methodology to treat patients with addiction. Since he founded Fairwinds Treatment Center in 1989, Dr. El-Yousef has worked to address patients' mental, psychological and emotional issues as well as their physical addictions. We use a combination of clinical treatment and therapeutic counseling to promote total recovery and healing for both addiction sufferers and their loved ones.
If you or your family member needs help, there is no better place to recover than Fairwinds Treatment Center in Clearwater, Florida.