Fralin Institute for Biomedical Research receives $3.5 million grant to study recovery from alcoholism

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) – Roanoke researchers are launching a long-term study to determine what helps people recover from alcoholism.

the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke received a $3.5 million grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism for a five-year study.

“It’s very exciting,” said Dr. Warren Bickel, a professor at Virginia Tech and director of the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute Addiction Recovery Research Center. “There have been very few studies of people in longer-term recovery that have not been linked to a particular treatment center, but we are not. We will attract people all over the United States.

The goal is to provide a scientific understanding of recovery and why people relapse, as well as identify ways to prevent people from relapsing.

Until now, research on alcohol use disorders has generally focused on relapse and recovery over a short period of time, such as during and immediately after a treatment episode. This study will look at long-term recovery to find out why some people have a much harder time staying in recovery without relapse.

“To identify pathways to recovery,” Dr. Bickel said. “To identify markers that may indicate success versus lack of success and we will do this online through our registry.”

Researchers know that addicts tend to have a short-sighted view, and often people in recovery have some kind of broadening of that view, Bickel explained. This research can help the team better understand the recovery process.

“Our pitch is to help us help others,” Bickel said. “If we can figure out what it takes to be successful, we can use it to help people who are struggling.”

Scientists at the Fralin Institute for Biomedical Research have been tackling the addiction crisis since Bickel launched the International Surrender and Recovery Registry in 2011.

Now in its 11th year, the registry is like a Facebook site for people in recovery. Besides being a social forum for people to share their experiences, it has collected data to better understand how to beat addiction.

The researchers will recruit several hundred people from the registry to participate in the five-year study.

To join the registry, Click here.

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