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Neuroplasticity and Its Role in Addiction Treatment

Neuroplasticity and Addiction Recovery

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Stress, Addiction, and Neuroplasticity: How the Brain Changes

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gambling addiction


Personalized Computer Feedback Can Mitigate Problem Gambling Behaviors in College-Aged Adults

COLUMBIA, MO; April 13, 2015 ­—More than 1.6 million college-aged adults meet the criteria for problem gambling. This can lead to difficulties at work, school or home, and with relationships, personal finances, and mental and physical health. Counseling for problem gamblers can be expensive and time consuming; but a new study from the University of Missouri has found that college-aged adults who were diagnosed as problem gamblers significantly changed their behaviors after receiving personalized feedback from computers.
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Childhood Adversity Hinders Genetic Protection against Problem Drinking in White Men

November 18, 2014—While the influence of heritable factors on the development of alcohol use disorders (AUDs) has been documented in family pedigree and twin studies for decades, identification of specific genetic variants that influence AUDs continues to be challenging. The ADH1B gene has consistently been implicated in problem drinking, but rarely incorporated into gene/environment investigations of alcohol phenotypes. A study examining the joint effects of variation in ADH1B and childhood adversity on heaviness of alcohol consumption and AUD symptoms has found that, under conditions of childhood adversity, the genetic variant on the ADH1B allele that typically protects against problem drinking does not exert its protective effects in European-American men.
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Autism-Related Protein Shown to Play Vital Role in Addiction


May have major implications for understanding and implementation of drug-addiction treatment

BELMONT; May 9, 2014—In a paper published in the latest issue of the neuroscience journal Neuron, McLean Hospital investigators report that a gene essential for normal brain development, and previously linked to Autism Spectrum Disorders, also plays a critical role in addiction-related behaviors.
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Can 'Love Hormone' Protect against Addiction?

March 20, 2014—Researchers at the University of Adelaide say addictive behaviour such as drug and alcohol abuse could be associated with poor development of the so-called "love hormone" system in our bodies during early childhood.
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In Addiction, Meditation is Helpful When Coupled with Drug and Cognitive Therapies, Study Suggests

AMHERST, MA; December 19, 2013—Using a computational model of addiction, a literature review and an in silico experiment, theoretical computer scientist Yariv Levy and colleagues suggest in a new paper this week that rehabilitation strategies coupling meditation-like practices with drug and behavior therapies are more helpful than drug-plus-talk therapy alone when helping people overcome addiction.
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In Animal Study, “Cold Turkey” Withdrawal from Drugs Triggers Mental Decline

WASHINGTON; November 3, 2013—Can quitting drugs without treatment trigger a decline in mental health? That appears to be the case in an animal model of morphine addiction. Georgetown University Medical Center researchers say their observations suggest that managing morphine withdrawal could promote a healthier mental state in people.
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UNC Study Shows How Two Brain Areas Interact in Anxiety and Reward Behaviors: Implications for Addiction Therapies

CHAPEL HILL, NC; March 20, 2013—New research from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine for the first time explains exactly how two brain regions interact to promote emotionally motivated behaviors associated with anxiety and reward. 

The findings could lead to new mental health therapies for disorders such as addiction, anxiety, and depression. A report of the research was published online by the journal, Nature, on March 20, 2013. 
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Study of Alcohol-Dependent Men Finds Dramatic Link to Childhood Emotional Abuse

February 5, 2013—People who drink excessively or are alcohol dependent (AD) have reduced central serotonergic neurotransmission, which can have an impact on planning, judgment, self-control, and emotional regulation. Childhood maltreatment has also been found to have a negative impact on central serotonergic neurotransmission. A new evaluation of the impact of childhood maltreatment on central serotonergic dysfunction in AD individuals has found that self-reported childhood emotional abuse is associated with a 90-percent reduction in central serotonergic neurotransmission in male AD individuals.
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Socially Isolated Rats are More Vulnerable to Addiction

January 23, 2013—Rats that are socially isolated during a critical period of adolescence are more vulnerable to addiction to amphetamine and alcohol, found researchers at The University of Texas at Austin. Amphetamine addiction is also harder to extinguish in the socially isolated rats. These effects, which are described this week in the journal Neuron, persist even after the rats are reintroduced into the community of other rats.
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Traumatic Childhood May Increase the Risk of Drug Addiction

August 31, 2012—A new study examines the link between a traumatic upbringing and personality traits which increase the risk of addiction. Previous research has shown that personality traits such as impulsivity or compulsiveness are indicators of an increased risk of addiction.  Now, new research from the University of Cambridge suggests that these impulsive and compulsive personality traits are also associated with chronic trauma experienced in childhood.  The study was published August 31, 2012, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.
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