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A brain response occurs in the nucleus accumbens when rats encounter a cue that they associate with previous cocaine self-administration, but not a cue associated with a pleasurable non-drug experience. Moreover, the response correlates in time and intensity with the animals’ cue-induced relapse to cocaine-seeking.
More than half of heroin-addicted patients treated with naltrexone via an implanted delivery device maintained abstinence throughout a 6-month clinical trial in Saint Petersburg, Russia. The implant device, which releases a steady dose of naltrexone continuously for 2 months, averted relapse to heroin use three times as effectively as daily oral doses of the medication.
When the goal is to avoid using alcohol and illicit substances after being released from jail, it’s who one’s friends are that counts most. Self-control is important because it helps a person have the right kind of friends.
Clinical trials of N-acetylcysteine to help people recovering from drug abuse avoid relapse have demonstrated only moderate efficacy. New NIDA-supported research shows that while a low dose of the medication activates receptors associated with lowered drug-seeking behavior, a higher dose appears to activate receptors associated with increased drug-seeking behavior. The result suggests that a medication or combination of medications that stimulate the receptor GluR2/3 and block mGluR5 may work better than N-acetylcysteine alone.
The immune system has an extraordinary ability to recognize compounds foreign to the body and eliminate them. NIDA-sponsored scientists are working to harness this ability to create vaccines that will protect individuals against the psychogenic and addictive effects of abused drugs. This animation shows one of the most promising strategies, which has already yielded partial success in producing effective vaccines against nicotine, cocaine, and other drugs.
During early abstinence, smokers’ cravings triggered by cigarette cues intensified over time, providing evidence that people can experience a phenomenon previously observed in experiments with animals
While viewing images of cigarettes, smokers reported milder cravings when they shifted their focus from the pleasures of smoking to its harmful effects. Brain imaging showed a correlation between the reductions in craving and altered activity levels in regions associated with emotional regulation and reward.
Two independent animal studies suggest that aerobic exercise might help cocaine abusers establish and maintain abstinence.
Reports on several studies implicating a certain neuropeptide (a signaling molecule) in fostering addition and overeating and discusses implications for addiction treatment.
Summarizes a study to determine whether a stress-related biological marker in saliva can predict how long a drug user will remain in treatment.
Reports on a new medication strategy under investigated in animal studies that shows promise for preventing relapse to drug abuse.
Explores research findings on the value of motivational incentives to promote and reinforce abstinence from substances of abuse and encourage healthy behaviors.
Describes a study that examined the effectiveness of combining two therapies for drug abuse addiction: methadone treatment and therapeutic communities, two approaches that are rarely combined.
Reports on research investigating whether certain medications might strengthen patients' understanding and memory retention.
Reports on a posttreatment intervention to support recovery that may be especially beneficial for substance abusers with co-occurring mental disorders.
Reports animal study findings that suggest adolescents' heightened sensitivity to drug reward puts them at enhanced risk of addiction and may also increase their challenges in recovery.
Describes findings of a study revealing that images of heroin preparation and injection can incite craving and excite brain areas associated with reward-seeking even in methadone-maintained patients.
Reports on several drugs that may ward off depression and anxiety, common withdrawal symptoms from cocaine, based on an animal study.
Reports findings that a rare neuroreceptor may be linked to the intensive cravings cocaine abusers experience during their first weeks of abstinence.
Describes an updated report on the co-occurrence, or comorbidity, of substance use disorders and other psychiatric disorders such as ADHD, schizophrenia, and depression.
Describes clinical trial results providing evidence that methadone maintenance to men in prison can pay off in better retention in community treatment and reduced drug abuse following their release.
Describes research showing that cocaine abusers appear to have a rapid neural response to reward cues outside of their awareness, possibly signifying vulnerability to relapse.
Describes research revealing that for up to 6 weeks after smokers quit, their brain cells have more nicotine-binding receptors than nonsmokers, which may explain the struggle to quit.
Reports on a study investigating the effectiveness of a combined therapy of disulfiram and naltrexone for people who abuse cocaine and alcohol.
Describes research with rats to better understand cocaine’s effect on the neural signaling in the learning circuits of the brain.
Reports on research showing that increasing the mandatory drug court monitoring sessions for high-risk drug offenders can enhance program success rates.
Highlights results from a pilot study suggesting that lofexidine, an anti-hypertensive medication, can enhance success rates among patients taking maintenance naltrexone to avoid opioid relapse.
Reports on study results indicating a medication prescribed for schizophrenia and manic phases of bipolar disorder shows promise as a cocaine addiction treatment.
Highlights NIDA-funded research to develop vaccines against addiction to drugs such as cocaine, nicotine, phencyclidine (PCP), and methamphetamine.
Describes a new intervention that enhances recovery prospects for substance abusers whose mental illness complicates the path toward recovery.
Presents highlights of a meeting of scientists and clinicians to review research results from the field of social neuroscience, the study of how neurobiology and the social environment interact.