Close Menu

Pray away your booze cravings, says study

The desire for a drink can be staved off through the power of prayer, according to a new study.

Researchers say that the act of praying can stimulate parts of the brain that control emotion and attention, helping to dull alcohol cravings.

As part of the study, carried out by a team from New York University, a group of long-term Alcoholics Anonymous members were assessed.

They were shown images thought to encourage the desire to drink alcohol, and were asked about their cravings before and after prayer.

The craving for alcohol was substantially weaker among participants after prayer, according to the researchers.

Marc Galanter, Director of the Division of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse at the university, who led the study, said the experience of going to AA had left some people with an “innate ability” to use prayer to minimise the effect of alcohol triggers.

“Craving is diminished in long-term AA members compared to patients who have stopped drinking for some period of time but are more vulnerable to relapse,” he continued.

MRI scans showed those who prayed had increased activity in the regions of the brain which control attention and emotion.

The results of the research could now be used to find out what stimulations can trigger relapses in recovering alcoholics.

“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”, Dr Galanter said.

“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.”

It looks like you're in Asia, would you like to be redirected to the Drinks Business Asia edition?

Yes, take me to the Asia edition No