Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Addiction: Can you ever really completely leave it behind?

Date:
September 23, 2013
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
It is often said that once people develop an addiction, they can never completely eliminate their attraction to the abused substance. New findings provide further support for this notion by suggesting that even long-term abstinence from cocaine does not result in a complete normalization of brain circuitry.

A new study in Biological Psychiatry suggests the answer is no

It is often said that once people develop an addiction, they can never completely eliminate their attraction to the abused substance. New findings provide further support for this notion by suggesting that even long-term abstinence from cocaine does not result in a complete normalization of brain circuitry.

Scientists are currently trying to answer some of the 'chicken and egg' questions surrounding the abuse of drugs. In particular, one of those questions is whether individuals who abuse psychostimulants like cocaine are more impulsive and show alterations in brain reward circuits as a consequence of using the drug, or whether such abnormalities existed prior to their drug use. In the former case, one might expect brain alterations to normalize following prolonged drug abstinence.

To address these questions, Krishna Patel at Institute of Living/Hartford Hospital and colleagues compared neural responses between three groups of people who were asked to complete a task that resembles bidding on eBay items.. The 3 groups consisted of 47 healthy controls, 42 currently drug-abusing cocaine users, and 35 former cocaine users who had been abstinent an average of 4 years. They also compared all three groups on their levels of impulsivity and reward responding.

They found that active users showed abnormal activation in multiple brain regions involved with reward processing, and that the abstinent individuals who were previously cocaine dependent manifested differences in a subset of those regions. Both current and former cocaine users displayed similarly elevated impulsivity measures compared to healthy controls, which may indicate that these individuals had a pre-existing risk for addiction. Indeed, the degree of impulsivity correlated with several of the brain activation abnormalities.

These findings suggest that prolonged abstinence from cocaine may normalize only a subset of the brain abnormalities associated with active drug use.

"The knowledge that some neural changes associated with addiction persist despite long periods of abstinence is important because it supports clinical wisdom that recovery from addiction is a lifelong process," says Dr. John Krystal, Editor of Biological Psychiatry. "Further, it is the start of a deeper question: How do these persisting changes develop and how can they be reversed?"

The authors agree that further studies will be needed to investigate such questions, including the continued attempt to determine the extent to which differences in former cocaine users reflect aspects of pre-existing features, exposure to cocaine, or recovery.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Elsevier. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Krishna T. Patel, Michael C. Stevens, Shashwath A. Meda, Christine Muska, Andre D. Thomas, Marc N. Potenza, Godfrey D. Pearlson. Robust Changes in Reward Circuitry During Reward Loss in Current and Former Cocaine Users During Performance of a Monetary Incentive Delay Task. Biological Psychiatry, 2013; 74 (7): 529 DOI: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2013.04.029

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Addiction: Can you ever really completely leave it behind?." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130923092744.htm>.
Elsevier. (2013, September 23). Addiction: Can you ever really completely leave it behind?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130923092744.htm
Elsevier. "Addiction: Can you ever really completely leave it behind?." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/09/130923092744.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
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