Alcoholism Vaccine Is in the Works
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A new vaccine for alcoholism that is set to undergo testing in Santiago, Chile, could finally put hangovers to good use. Reportedly, the vaccine works by speeding up the hangover process; after just one sip of alcohol, drinkers experience classic hangover symptoms such as splitting headaches and nausea. The idea is to get alcoholics to associate drinking with side-effects and illness instead of relaxation or a coping mechanism. But Dr. Juan Asenjo, director of the Institute for Cell Dynamics and Biotechnology at Universidad de Chile, acknowledges that alcoholism is a complex issue that will warrant more than a simple solution. “People who end up alcoholic have a social problem; a personality problem because they’re shy, whatever, and then they are depressed, so it’s not so simple," Asenjo tells The Santiago Times. "But if we can solve the chemical, the basic part of the problem, I think it can help quite a bit." The vaccine is not being advertised as a cure for alcoholism, but some medical experts and members of the recovery community remain skeptical at the prospect of a quick fix. "It’s not so easy for the person who already has alcoholism,” says an unnamed director of general services for Alcoholics Anonymous in Chile. “Once you have this problem. You don’t have a solution. You pick up a drink, think you can handle a few, but it’s not possible. A person needs to confront themselves.”