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The Addict’s Environment Impacts Treatment

The environment in which a person lives and works can play a major role in whether or not they are able to overcome addiction. New research from the Institut de physiologie et biologie cellulaire (CNRS/Université de Poitiers) has shown that positive and stimulating environmental conditions make it easier to treat cocaine addiction.

A Science Daily release focused on this research that highlights that in spite of numerous data in existence on the mechanisms of cocaine addiction, there are no effective therapies. As a result, the development of new strategies for treating the disease is extremely urgent.

A study carried out by Marcello Solinas and Mohamed Jaber, and a group of researchers at the Institut de physiologie et biologie cellulaire in Poitiers, discovered that when mice were exposed to an "enriched environment" during cocaine withdrawal, it removed abnormal behavior related to addiction.

After thirty days of conducting this study, the mice that were exposed to the enriched environment no longer showed typical addiction behavior. Researchers determined that the absence of relapse in “enriched” mice was associated with a decrease in the cocaine-induced activation of a set of brain structures involved in dopaminergic transmission and associated with relapse.

The results of this study suggest that there is both a medical and social impact in treating addiction. The living conditions of the drug addict should be taken into account in determining the proper therapy.

Researchers also suggest that a real effort be made in creating enriched environmental conditions so that patients with different types of social, physical and intellectual stimulation can benefit from the environment. It is also important to remember that in deprived environmental conditions, addiction treatment could be an uphill battle.

Posted on September 10th, 2009

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