Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Insight Into Addictive Behavior Offers Treatment Hope

Date:
May 3, 2009
Source:
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Summary:
Addictive behavior is determined by conscious, rapid thought processes, not necessarily by the content of visual stimuli as previously thought.

Addictive behaviour is determined by conscious, rapid thought processes, not necessarily by the content of visual stimuli as previously thought according to research funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Researchers from the Universities of Sussex, Cambridge and Nottingham have found that although attention to visual cues related to addictions, known as attentional bias, may be linked with bad habits as previously thought, it does not control the decision to consume unhealthy items directly. The finding, that the visual cues offer only information about availability of the bad habit but do not determine the behaviour to get it could help to develop new more effective treatments. The research is featured in the latest edition of Business, the BBSRC research highlights magazine.

Professor Theodora Duka from the University of Sussex who led the research, said: "We have shown that individuals only need to look at a cue representing the substance they are addicted to for a fleeting moment to want to act on it. This suggests that their actions are instead determined by conscious, rapid decision processes following the detection of a Pavlovian-type visual stimulus.

For example instead of the sight of a pub triggering the addictive behaviour in an alcoholic our research shows that the momentary sight of a pub leads the brain to make rapid, conscious decisions about going in for a drink, which is what the alcoholic values."

Many previous explanations for addiction make reference to Pavlov's classical dog experiments where conditional stimuli become capable of producing the same responses that are produced by the reward themselves. Some evidence shows that drug addicts who show a greater attentional bias for drug-related cues are more likely to relapse following treatment, suggesting it may be possible to treat addictions by abolishing attentional bias.

Not so, explained Dr Lee Hogarth, from the University of Nottingham: "You can draw analogies with a person looking at a restaurant menu: they may scan all the items to see what is there, but their choice is determined by the mental image or value that they place on each dish. They choose the one that is most delicious to them at the time, even though their eyes may dwell on other items for longer."

He added: "Our results suggest that while attentional bias can be used to indicate drug motivation, it does not provide a credible target for the treatment of addiction. Instead, treatments designed to modify the expected value of the drug or food type may prove more effective."

The researchers plan to look at the benefits of training mental attitudes to modify expectations about the value of things such as drugs and some foods as a possible intervention for correcting bad habits or preventing obesity.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "New Insight Into Addictive Behavior Offers Treatment Hope." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 May 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429091757.htm>.
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. (2009, May 3). New Insight Into Addictive Behavior Offers Treatment Hope. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429091757.htm
Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council. "New Insight Into Addictive Behavior Offers Treatment Hope." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090429091757.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Food Addiction Might Be Caused By PTSD

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) New research shows that women who suffer from PTSD are three times more likely to develop a food addiction. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

Corporal Punishment on Decline, Debate Renews

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) Corporal punishment in the United States is on the decline, but there is renewed debate over its use after Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson was charged with child abuse. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

FDA Eyes Skin Shocks Used at Mass. School

AP (Sep. 15, 2014) The FDA is considering whether to ban devices used by the Judge Rotenberg Educational Center in Canton, Massachusetts, the only place in the country known to use electrical skin shocks as aversive conditioning for aggressive patients. (Sept. 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins