26 Dec Laser Technique Could Offer Rehab Success for Cocaine Addicts
Rehab programs focus extensive practices and methods on enabling patients to rid their body of addictive drugs and regain a life without reliance on the substance. These programs are focused on teaching people how to live without their addiction, yet the temptation will always remain.
What would rehab be like for those with an addiction to cocaine if once the program is complete, they never remembered having taken the drug? This World Crunch report takes a look at a recent study that identified the potential for erasing a memory with the use of a new laser technique.
The idea of erasing the memory of taking the drug is important where cocaine addiction is concerned, simply because this particular drug does not trigger an addiction of the physical nature. In some 20 percent of its users, however, it does cause a psychological addiction, which can quickly lead to a loss of control in cocaine use.
The psychological cocaine addiction can last after the completion of even the most successful rehab program as the brain always remembers having taken the drug. A laser technique identified by Geneva University suggests targeting the reward circuit of the brain could help erase the memories associated with cocaine use.
Dopamine in the brain is raised to an unnatural level by cocaine use. Dopamine is the substance used to transmit information between both parts of the brain. This transmission process leaves permanent marks in the brain, ensuring the cocaine addict never forgets the sensation and explains why a recovering addict can fall back into use even years after rehab was completed.
If this hidden memory, where context and the desire to use are mixed, can be erased, the recovering cocaine addict may have a much better chance of staying clean. To date, only the short-term effects of the laser use have proven successful on mice, yet this success does offer potential promise.
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