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All Posts in Category: Addiction Recover

drug addiction treatment

Revolutionary Research Psychiatrist Looks To Reinvent Drug Rehabilitation

Nora Volkow, a psychiatrist who revolutionized the science of addiction, has set her sights even further: addiction treatment.

Volkow was the first person to show the effects cocaine has on the brain. She has also used brain scanning tools to find the exact changes in the brain that addiction causes, as well as the physical abnormalities inherited by some people that make them more vulnerable to addiction. Her research has had major implications in the study of addiction as a whole; her brain scanning experiments pushed forward the notion that addiction is more than a lack of willpower.

Now, still pushing the limits, she has proposed that the same neural mechanisms behind cocaine and alcohol addiction are also responsible for eating disorders leading to obesity – namely the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for our decision-making abilities.

Volkow also discovered the abnormal functioning of the D2 receptor in the brains of addicts. In her research, she found that drug addicts have reduced numbers of the D2 receptor – which is responsible for determining how sensitive an individual is to the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine is associated with rewarding feelings and pleasure. This causes individuals with decreased numbers of D2 receptors to have improper functioning of their prefrontal cortex and have difficulty controlling their compulsive behavior, while also lessening their ability to find something rewarding or valuable.

This is where Volkow looks to apply her research to drug rehabilitation. Addicts with lower numbers of D2 receptors than the average person are much less sensitive to traditional reinforces such as money or food; they are only really interested in the drug, making detoxification and abstinence a difficult problem because only the drug is rewarding to them. In an ideal world, says Volkow, scientists would be able to develop a biochemical intervention that would be able to increase the number of D2 receptors in the brain, but this is not feasible in the near future.

Now, her main objective is to try and advance the science behind medications for drug addiction treatment. She believes that with the current knowledge we have, there should be a medication available that would help individuals overcome their addiction, however there has been push back from pharmaceutical companies who are not overly interested in that sort of development. To try and combat this, Volkow has partnered with some pharmaceutical companies. She hopes that her work will help change the negative associations some companies feel with develop should they work with addiction science.

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U.S. Surgeon General Urges Doctors To Treat Alcohol Addiction As Physical Diseases

In a recent report released last week, the Surgeon General’s office called for alcohol abuse to be recognized as a serious medical condition – putting alcohol abuse on the same level as cancer and heart disease.

 

The report, titled “Facing Addiction in America,” argued that findings from medical research should be used more often as a guide for how to treat and prevent alcohol abuse and addiction. The report further emphasized the need to conceptualize alcoholism as a physical disease, rather than as a moral failure or a failure of willpower.

 

“Science tells us clearly that addiction is a disease of the brain,” said Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy. “It affects the circuitry of our brain that controls decision-making, impulse control and our stress and reward systems.”

 

Addiction is a chronic relapsing disorder; physical changes take place in the brain that alter day-to-day functioning even after years of sobriety.

 

In the report, Murthy asserts that substance abuse programs should be moved into the general health care programs in order to better serve the tens of millions of Americans who need help. Further, Murthy and his team insist that recovery programs are much more effective at treating substance abuse and lowering the risk of relapse because each program is tailored to the individual with the addiction, allowing the health care practitioner more flexibility to address the needs of the person.

 

Moreover, the report detailed alcohol’s major impact on America’s health and economy – more than $249 billion is spent each year due to alcohol abuse.

 

“(Alcohol) really is a cost leader in terms of deaths, lost work days and motor vehicle fatalities, but it gets a fraction of the (National Institutes of Health) money that illicit drugs get,” said Barbara Mason, an addiction scientist as Scripps Research.

 

Mason also says that scientists have recently discovered medication that can help moderate the changes in the brain cause by alcoholism. One of the drugs found to have promising effects is gabapentin, which was originally approved for epilepsy treatment. In a study led by Mason, gabapentin was found to help alcohol-dependent patients avoid heavy drinking by relieving stress and inducing drowsiness.

 

Further, the National Institutes of Health is working to educate doctors and other health care practitioners on how to use already approved medication, like gabapentin, to help wean people off of alcohol.

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Inpatient Rehab Vs. Outpatient Rehab

Manitoba Alcohol Rehab

Alcoholism is an issue affecting many people across the province. If you have developed a dependency on alcohol or a drinking problem, understanding your treatment options is very important. Alcohol rehabilitation centers in Manitoba can offer you the medical treatment you need to overcome your addiction, as well as the social and psychological support to make the recovery process as easy as possible to ensure success..

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