Identifying The Addiction Area Of The Brain Will Lead To Advances In Addiction Treatment

March 16, 2010 — 5 Comments

You know how they get lab rats all hooked on junk for scientific reasons? Well, it looks as though this has paid off recently with the identification of the “addiction area” in the brain. Scientists have found that with an injection into the brain of the lab rat, they can temporarily eliminate the rat’s desire for the drugs. It works for rats, but what does this mean for humans?

The lab rats that we are talking about here have been administered, and are physically addicted to, amphetamines. The study then involves not giving the rats their normal dose of the drug and allowing their body to start withdrawal. The withdrawal symptoms can be visibly seen in rats. They become all nervous and they hang out in the area of the cage where the drugs are usually administered. I have to say that so far, this does sound a lot like us humans.

The next step in the study is to inject the insular cortex section of the rats brain with lidocaine. What happens next is the rat goes back to acting…like a rat, not a junky. They start hanging out in the parts of the cage that non-addict rats usually prefer and then become calm, no longer acting antsy (but I thought they were rats not ants..haha).

The reasons why scientists are fairly certain that this same type of treatment would work on humans is that doctors have seen cases where humans have sustained brain injuries which specifically injured the insular cortex section of the brain. These same people who have been addicted to nicotine for years and years suddenly had no urge to pick up another cigarette after their injury. It’s like their physical dependence on the drug disappears.

The only downfall I can see to this type of treatment is the whole, getting an injection in the brain thing. Call me crazy, but I don’t like injections, let alone ones that need to penetrate my skull. But, if I had been trying to get clean for years and each time fall back into active addiction again due to my cravings…I would probably consider the pros and cons of getting an injection of lidocaine into my brain.

5 responses to Identifying The Addiction Area Of The Brain Will Lead To Advances In Addiction Treatment

  1. Thanks, Erin, for responding to my comment about cravings. How did you handle them? Would you take a walk or a bath, read, write or something else or would you just ride it out? How long do your cravings last? My can be so severe and it is usually when I start thinking of everything I have to do. My addictive actually gave me energy…I know that may not make sense but I actually enjoyed doing things when I took one of my pills…it almost acted like a stimulant and it made me very social. So now there are some days when my energy level is very low and that is when I really want to use.

  2. A lot of times when I find myself thinking about using, I contemplate what would happen if I was caught. If I’m home, sometimes I will pull out my journal and read some of my entries around the time that I entered into rehab. I can read what it is I went through. If all else fails, I just hold on and try to ride it out. I just tell myself no matter how much I want to use, I won’t.

    I hear you about the low energy thing. My drug of choice gave me tons of patience with my child. Obviously, it really made me numb to anything that he did wrong. But it felt like I had more patience with him. I have been learning other ways of reaching that level of patience without the use of drugs. I guess that’s what you need to do too.

    Find some other things that give you energy…other things that aren’t mood altering substances that is.

  3. the thoughts I get now are more, “wouldn’t it be fun if I was using” but then I remember stealing and cause a lot of heatache on the people I love and I drink another RockStar drink.

  4. Thanks, Erin,

    I tell you…you are right! And it gets easier every day. I think I just got over a big hurdle. Thanks for your blog…you really speak out to me and I enjoy reading your posts.

  5. Thanks so much Tina. that really does mean a lot. I get a lot of benefit from helping others. By helping you, I’m helping myself. Thank you.

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