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DNA Study Brings News Hope To The Treatment Of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine addiction treatment Next to methamphetamines, cocaine has the largest dependence of any drug because it stimulates key pleasure areas within the brain causing extreme heightened feelings of euphoria. It’s most addictive because the user builds up a tolerance quickly and tries (but fails) to achieve the same high they experienced earlier with the same amount of the drug. Ultimately, this leads to an increased intake of the drug.

Does withdrawal make cocaine addiction worse?

Cocaine addiction has a high rate of relapse, which is a major challenge for someone looking at recovery. The rate is increasingly high after periods of cocaine withdrawal or abstinence.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of Neuroscience, scientists found that changes in DNA during this drug withdrawal can offer ways to develop better and more effective treatments. The research shows that withdrawal from drug use reprograms the genes in the brain that lead to addictive personalities.

The purpose of this study for the researchers was to see if they were able to stop addictive behavior by playing with the genetic markers that were triggered by withdrawal.

The rat test

The team of scientists used rats to test cocaine cravings. Rats were trained to administer cocaine for themselves when cued by certain light or sound. The rats’ cravings were subsequently tested after either one day or 30 days of cocaine withdrawal. It was found that rats with the long withdrawal developed a very intense drug­seeking status when they were exposed to the light and sound cues. Scientists saw that it was after a long time without the drugs that these genetic markers were evident.

“During this period of withdrawal, hundreds of genes changed their state of DNA methylation including genes that were known before to be involved in addiction,” says scientist and coauthor of the study Gal Yadid of Bar Ilan University.

Affecting treatment

The research might actually pave the way for changes in treatment addiction in humans. Yadid says that the current methods of treatment can actually aggravate patients and negate the good that treatment centers are trying to do.

The Watershed is always here to help 24/7. If you or someone you love struggles with cocaine or any other drug or alcohol addictions, contact us now!

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