Removing Memories Linked With Cocaine Use Lowers Drug-Seeking Behavior
A study showed that approximately, 40% to 60% of individuals treated for substance use illness deteriorated, presenting a chief challenge to treatment’s achievement. A recent study from the UPSOM (University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine) showed that disrupting memories that linked environmental cues with drug use suggestively reduced drug seeking actions in rats, creating a possible way for evolving more effective therapies to avoid relapse. Since Ivan Pavlov’s discovery of classical conditioning in the 1890s in dogs, it has been documented that the brain links specific signals with behaviors. Breaking the connections between memories and cues is a popular strategy in treating addictions, phobias, and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).
Mary Torregrossa—Associate Professor of psychiatry at the UPSOM—stated, “While we have always identified that the brain creates these cue-associated memoirs, the particular circuits have never been evidently identified. We have discovered an important piece in the cue-memory riddle and it has been seen that removing that piece in a substance use situation can aid in reversing relapse-like behaviors. This research was published in Cell Reports. In the study, the researchers used a rat prototype of cue-linked relapse. When rats pushed a lever, they got an infusion of cocaine, convoyed by a light and a tone. With training, the rats acquired to connect the audiovisual signal with the cocaine high, and showed drug-seeking behavior equivalent to craving, constantly pressing the lever.
Speaking of the substance use disorder, recently, it was stated that “happiness” exercises can lift mood in those recuperating from drug abuse or substance use disorder. Text-based, brief, and self-administered exercises can suggestively intensify in-the-moment happiness for grownups recovering from drug abuse, reported scientists at the MGH’s (Massachusetts General Hospital) Recovery Research Institute. The research was published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment. This is the first ever test of its kind to analyze whether positive psychology exercises enhance happiness in persons improving from substance use.