Tuesday December 10, 2019

New Therapy Could Help Combat Drug Addiction

In their experiment, the researchers trained rats to press on a lever for cocaine infusions at certain light cues

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New Therapy Could Help Combat Drug Addiction
New Therapy Could Help Combat Drug Addiction. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a treatment that may help reverse chemical imbalances made to the brain by habitual drug use and could one day help recovering drug addicts avoid future drug use.

When tested on rats, the new treatment was effective in reducing the animals’ cravings, according to the findings published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.

When someone habitually misuses drugs, their brain chemistry is changed in ways that make it harder for them to quit taking drugs despite negative consequences.

Once someone has developed this brain disorder, their mind pays sharper attention to cues that encourage drug use, making it harder for them to abstain.

Serotonin, a brain chemical that transmits information between neural regions, is a key player in these changes.

The researchers found that the serotonin 2C receptors in drug addicts do not work as well as they should.

drugs
Representational image. Pixabay

The team led by researchers from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston in the US designed, synthesised and pharmacologically evaluated a series of small molecule therapeutics designed to restore the weakened signalling.

The findings showed that the novel therapeutic may help reverse chemical imbalances made to the brain by habitual drug use.

In their experiment, the researchers trained rats to press on a lever for cocaine infusions at certain light cues.

Once the rats learned this cocaine-seeking behaviour, half of them received the most promising therapeutic and the other half received only saline.

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The findings showed that the animals treated with the new therapeutic pressed the lever for cocaine far fewer times than the saline-treated control animals, even when reinforced with the cocaine-associated light cues.

“We are the first to show that a serotonin 2C receptor therapeutic of this type can be successfully used to decrease drug-seeking behaviours,” said Kathryn Cunningham, Director of Center for Addiction Research at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.

“Our findings are especially exciting because in addition to someday helping people to recover from drug addiction, impaired functioning of the serotonin 2C receptor is also thought to contribute to other chronic health issues such as depression, impulsivity disorders, obesity and schizophrenia,” Cunningham added. (IANS)

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Mindfulness can Reduce Opioid Cravings, Study Says

Mindfulness is the meditative practice of focusing on the present moment and accepting one's thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, without judgement.

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Mindfulness
Study Says, People suffering from opioid addiction and chronic pain might have fewer cravings and less pain if they use both Mindfulness techniques and Medication for opioid dependence. Pixabay

People suffering from opioid addiction and chronic pain might have fewer cravings and less pain if they use both mindfulness techniques and medication for opioid dependence, a new study said.

Mindfulness is the meditative practice of focusing on the present moment and accepting one’s thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, without judgement.

According to the researchers, for many of those with opioid addictions who experienced chronic pain, anxiety and depression, methadone maintenance and mindfulness-based, non-drug interventions were promising treatments.

“Methadone maintenance therapy (MMT) has been an effective form of medication treatment for opioid use disorder,” said Nina Cooperman, Associate Professor at Rutgers University in the US.

“However, nearly half of individuals on MMT continue to use opioids during treatment or relapse with six months,” Cooperman said.

The study, published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, examined the effects of mindfulness and methadone therapy on 30 patients with opioid addiction and chronic pain.

Mindfulness
Mindfulness is the meditative practice of focusing on the present moment and accepting one’s thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations, without judgement. Pixabay

The findings showed that those who received methadone and a mindfulness training-based intervention were 1.3 times better at controlling their cravings and had significantly greater improvements in pain, stress and positive emotions, even though they were aware of more cravings than those who only received standard methadone treatment and counselling.

The researchers said that mindfulness-based interventions could help people dependent on opioids increase their self-awareness and self-control over cravings and be less reactive to emotional and physical pain.

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Individuals with an opioid addiction could also be taught to change their negative thoughts and savour pleasant events, which might help them to regulate their emotions. (IANS)