A Way To Prevent Craving in Recovery from....

Mood: Content
Date: Dec 19, 2013
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In recovery from addictions such as cocaine addiction, craving can be a major cause of relapse. Researchers are exploring the possibility of modifying the ability of the brain to develop specialized nerve cells that cause powerful drug cravings.ScienceDailyfor December 17, 2013, reported on a recent rat study wherein the researchers examined how the synapses (signal relays) in nerve cells in a portion of the brain responsible for reward, emotions, motivation, and addiction (the nucleus accumbens) react to cocaine. Use of cocaine stimulates the brain to create synapses specific to cocaine that are silent (called "immature" by the researchers) in terms of activity, until the individual stops use of cocaine. At that point, these "silent" cocaine synapses mature and develop the ability to send signals resulting in the characteristic craving for cocaine when the individual is exposed to environmental triggers, such as being in the presence of the drug or seeing paraphernalia used to take cocaine.

The researchers' goal in the study was to see if they could intervene to change the matured nerve cells capable of causing cocaine cravings back to "immature" cells with no signaling capability. So, in the study, the scientists removed a portion of the nerve cell that is needed in growth of the nerve synapses, and found that doing so caused the mature cocaine craving cells to revert to their previous immature or inactive state. Without the mature cocaine craving cells, the theory goes, cocaine craving will not occur.

So, we have another attempt through science to find "biological and pharmacological strategies" (words of an author of the study) to improve recovery from addiction. Please note that these strategies do not address the emotional and spiritual aspects of addictive disease.

As always, comments are invited. Jan Edward Williams,, 12/19/2013.


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