Studies released today suggest promising new treatments for nicotine and heroin addiction, and further our understanding of pathological gambling and heroin abuse in those suffering chronic pain. This new knowledge, released at Neuroscience 2013, the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience and the world's largest source of emerging news about brain science and health, may one day lead to non-pharmaceutical interventions and therapies to treat addiction.
According to the World Health Organization, 15.3 million people worldwide suffer from drug use disorders. A variety of brain areas and processes play a role in addictive behaviors, complicating treatment and costing millions of dollars and lives each year. Today's studies contribute to an understanding of how compulsive disorders like addiction develop and provide new insight into methods to treat addictive behaviors .
The new findings show that:
Other recent findings discussed show that:
"Non-drug interventions would be an enormous step forward in drug abuse treatment, which currently relies on replacing one drug with another and has an extremely high rate of relapse," said press conference moderator Barry Everitt of the University of Cambridge, an expert in drug abuse research. "Today's exciting results give us new ways of understanding why compulsive conditions such as drug abuse and pathological gambling might arise, and give us targets to explore for non-drug treatment, which would help us treat a population suffering from addiction."
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