A Key Brain Circuit in Cocaine Addiction Discovered

A Key Brain Circuit in Cocaine Addiction Discovered

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, two out of every three Americans struggling with addiction relapse within a year (interestingly, Aware Recovery Care clients do far better than this national average by a factor of six or more).

Why does this happen?

Well, it turns out that addictive substances have the capacity to flood the brain with feel-good chemicals while also changing brain function.

Taken together, these changes make addictions very difficult to treat.

Scientists are now seeking ways to impact specific neural pathways involved in addictive behavior while leaving the rest of the brain intact… not an easy task.

Research published in the journal Neuron
suggests that neuroscientists at the University of California San Diego and the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC have found a brain circuit in mice that appears to trigger cocaine relapse. They also discovered that by chemically blocking that circuit, the mice lose interest in the drug and resume their normal behaviors.

The research team believes their discovery reinforces previous findings on how addictive substances alter dopamine signaling pathways in the brain and enhance addictive behaviors.

Will all of this new research translate into new drug therapies for addiction?

That is the hope.

The reality is often different. Living organisms are not an assemblage of separate parts. Each cell, every part, is interconnected in a complex system. Change the function of one part of a complex system, and one often gets unexpected consequences.

Only time, and more research, including research on humans, will give us the answer.

If you’re struggling with an addiction to alcohol and/or drugs and need help in Southern Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Florida, or Indiana, the recovery teams at Aware Recovery Care are here to help. Our unique model of care is giving clients a significantly better chance of recovery when compared to traditional inpatient rehab care. To learn more, please contact one of our Recovery Specialists.