Latest Developments in Addiction Research


The latest developments in drug addiction research particularly in the area of neuro science has made a huge contribution to the “addiction industry” in recent times.
A lot of these advances have come from Cambridge University. (It does not get better than that in terms of credibility). According to a recently published article “The Addicted Brain” the locus of activity for most of the heavily used and abused drugs including cocaine, heroin, amphetamine, nicotine and alcohol has been identified.
Some of the most interesting discoveries are:
• That drug addiction is a form of aberrant learning resulting from a ‘hijacking’ of the natural reward system
• That dopamine release in an area of the brain called the nucleus accumbens is responsible for amphetamine’s stimulant behavioral effects.
• That drug cravings arise in part from memories for cues that have become associated with the drug”.
Researchers are now focusing on the ways to disrupt the addiction cycle and almost diminishing the power of these destructive memories.
We are aware of the fact that many addicts are “thrown into” these memories around the people they used with, the places where they used and the activities undertaking while using. The memories are triggered normally by the senses, be they visual, auditory and sometimes most powerfully olfactory senses. It is interesting that the recall normally centres on the euphoria or positive aspects of using rather than the destructive memories.
Teams of researchers are involved isolating those factors, including genetic ones that predict whether someone is vulnerable to the effects of drugs of abuse.
Cambridge scientists are using all forms of knowledge gathering techniques with emphasis on the “neurochemical and molecular aspects of addiction” to come up with new forms of treatment, some of them of a “pharmaceutical’ nature, to develop effective treatment programmes.
With relapse rates as high as they are with the disease of addiction, those who help in the treatment process are obliged to remain current with all forms of new innovation to assist in the treatment process.
With the advances intersecting the contribution of ‘hard” neuro scientific research to the softer behavioural sciences we can only develop much better advances to helping our clients who suffer from the disease of addiction.
Crossroads Recovery Centre is continually striving to use all tools principles and methodologies to make this contribution.