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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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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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.