A National Directory of Drug Treatment Centers and Alcohol Treatment Centers, Therapists and Specialists. A free, simple directory providing assistance and guidance for those seeking help regarding alcohol addiction, drug addiction, dependency and many other conditions that affect the mind, body and soul.
Call 800-580-9104 to speak with an alcohol or drug abuse counselor.

Impulsivity Linked to Cocaine Addiction

Call it the chicken-and-egg debate of the addiction world: Cocaine addicts are known for being frenetic, but which came first, the behavior or the habit? New research indicates that, at least in rats, it’s the behavior that begets addiction. What’s more, the study has pinpointed the character trait–impulsiveness–that is responsible for developing true drug dependence. Experts believe that the findings may lead to new approaches for treating addiction.

Scientists who study drug addiction have a common problem: The individuals they deal with are already addicted, so it’s hard to tell what, if any, behaviors led to the initial dependence. What they do know is that two traits–impulsiveness and thrill-seeking–tend to define most drug addicts. Although the behaviors are similar, scientists have been able to parse them in the lab: Highly impulsive rats jump the gun on simple tasks–pushing a button, for example, before they are signaled to do so; thrill-seeking rats, meanwhile, will rapidly explore any new environment–immediately sniffing various objects in a new cage, for example–whereas normal rats would wait until they felt comfortable in their surroundings.

In hopes of discovering if either of these two traits might be a catalyst for drug addiction, psychologists David Belin and Barry Everitt, both of the University of Cambridge in the U.K., hooked up the sensation-seeking rats and the impulsive rats to a device that dispensed cocaine directly into the rats’ brains. The rats could control the dispenser, so they could take the cocaine whenever they wanted. As the team reports in today’s issue of Science, the thrill seekers tried the cocaine immediately, taking it in sky-high doses. The impulsive rats weren’t as quick to turn to the drug, however, and when they did, they took it in smaller amounts.

After 40 days of free access to cocaine, however, the impulsive rats were the ones who became the addicts. They were unable to stop taking cocaine even when it meant getting an electric shock, the team reports. The thrill seekers, meanwhile, had lost interest in the drug; apparently, the thrill was gone.

“This study … shows that there is a biological bridge, at least in the rat,” between impulsive behavior and drug addiction, says David Nutt, a psychopharmacologist at the University of Bristol in the U.K. Marc Potenza, a psychiatrist at Yale University, believes that the research has important implications for treating drug dependence. “We might be able to identify individuals at early times in their lives that may be prone to developing addiction,” he says. Everitt agrees, noting that anti-impulsivity medication, such as some antidepressants, may be the key to helping people stay away from cocaine for good. “This has opened a surprising therapeutic window,” he says.
_________
source: http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org

More Treatment & Detox Articles

Alcohol addiction-an overview

Alcohol is an intoxicating liquid, obtained from the fermentation of grains or fruits. The different types of these liquid are the beer, wine and other hard liquors. People in habit of regularly consuming these liquids are sure to develop a compulsive need of these liquids over a period of time, which is commonly termed as….

Continue reading

Scotland's drink problem

DEEP down, we all know Scotland has a drink problem. But what are you prepared to do about it? This must be the starting point for us all this week as we consider proposals to be brought forward by Kenny MacAskill, our crusading Justice Secretary. MacAskill has taken it upon himself to make Scots wake….

Continue reading

Virtual world therapeautic for addicts: UH study shows

Patients in therapy to overcome addictions have a new arena to test their coping skills—the virtual world. A new study by University of Houston Associate Professor Patrick Bordnick found that a virtual reality (VR) environment can provide the climate necessary to spark an alcohol craving so that patients can practice how to say “no” in….

Continue reading

Binge drinking: Drink, drunk, dead

For some women, girl power means widening the crack in the glass ceiling by enrolling in engineering or some other predominantly male domain. For others, it’s drinking like a man — lots and frequently. Men still drink more often than women. But women are no shrinking violets when it comes to tossing back the booze,….

Continue reading

Liver cancer cases triple and booze is to blame

Cases of liver cancer have more than tripled in the past 30 years because of binge boozing. Startling figures from Cancer Research UK show the number of patients rocketed from 865 in 1975 to 3,108 in 2006. Experts say the rise in hard drinking is to blame as well as obesity and the blood infection….

Continue reading