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

Posted Mar 16 2010 6:44pm
Posted on March 16, 2010

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.

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