Brain plasticity in drug addiction: Burden and benefit

The human brain is the most complex organ in our body, and is characterized by a unique ability called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to our brain’s ability to change and adapt in its structural and functional levels in response to experience. Neuroplasticity makes it possible for us to learn new languages, solve complex mathematical problems, acquire technical skills, and perform challenging athletic skills, which are all positive and advantageous for us. However, neuroplasticity is not beneficial if we develop non-advantageous learned behaviors. One example of non-advantageous learning is habitual drug misuse that can lead to addiction. Our brain learns to respond to drugs of abuse Our first decision to use a drug may be triggered by curiosity, circumstances, personality, and stressful life events. This first drug exposure increases the release of a molecule (neurotransmitter) called dopamine, which conveys the feeling of reward. The increased changes in dopamine levels in the brain reward system can lead to further neuroplasticity following repeated exposure to drugs of abuse; these neuroplasticity changes are also fundamental characteristics of learning. Experience-dependent learning, including repeated drug use, might increase or decrease the transmission of signals between neurons. Neuroplasticity in the brain’s reward system following repeated drug use leads to more habitual and (in vulnerable people) more compulsive drug use, where people ignore t...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Addiction Mental Health Source Type: blogs

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CONCLUSIONS: The studies showed a high degree of heterogeneity for types of comparisons, outcome measures and small samples. Descriptions of treatment modalities are required. On one outcome of arrest (no parole violations), we identified a significant reduction when cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) was compared to a therapeutic community programme. But for all other outcomes, none of the interventions were effective. Larger trials are required to increase the precision of confidence about the certainty of evidence. PMID: 31834635 [PubMed - in process]
Source: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews - Category: General Medicine Authors: Tags: Cochrane Database Syst Rev Source Type: research
Abstract BACKGROUND: This review represents one from a family of three reviews focusing on interventions for drug-using offenders. Many people under the care of the criminal justice system have co-occurring mental health problems and drug misuse problems; it is important to identify the most effective treatments for this vulnerable population. OBJECTIVES: To assess the effectiveness of interventions for drug-using offenders with co-occurring mental health problems in reducing criminal activity or drug use, or both.This review addresses the following questions.• Does any treatment for drug-using offenders...
Source: Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews - Category: General Medicine Authors: Tags: Cochrane Database Syst Rev Source Type: research
Conclusion: This is the first implementation of SocialMind, which is the first mindfulness-based social cognition training. It is well tolerated by participants with schizophrenia spectrum disorders, and a further randomized controlled trial is proposed for people who have suffered their first episode of psychosis within the past 5 years.Clinical Trial Registration: www.ClinicalTrials.gov, identifier NCT03434405.IntroductionPeople suffering from psychosis frequently find it difficult to establish or maintain relationships with others or to engage in community activities (1, 2). These deficits are present even in high-risk ...
Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
Conclusions: Most studies were of poor quality and results should be interpreted with caution. Overall moderate effects were found which decreased substantially when interventions were compared to active control. It is unclear whether meditation, yoga or mindfulness affect academic achievement or affect have any negative side effects. Introduction Rationale Every 12 months, between 7 and 16% of students in tertiary education experience a mood or anxiety disorder and a further 30% of students report experiencing moderate to severe levels of stress (1–4). It is important to tackle poor mental health early as ...
Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
Conclusions: CBT, psychosocial intervention, supportive counseling, psychodynamic psychotherapy, and other psychological interventions can be recommended for clinical practice. More studies are needed, especially for non-CBT interventions and for all psychotherapies on negative symptoms.IntroductionSchizophrenia affects approximately 1% of the population, usually starting in adolescence or young adulthood, frequently leading to persistent disability, with a high risk of suicide (8%). Despite the advance in antipsychotics treatment, approximately 30% of patients with schizophrenia show a poor response or no response to anti...
Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
In conclusion, treatment outcomes in different domains seem to be linked to the client’s motivation to attend treatment and the feeling of being coerced into therapy, regardless of mandate (2). It has been argued that there is, potentially, an element of coercion in every clinical encounter (80) and the perception of coercion has a variety of determinants, many of which are dependent on the quality of relationship with the service provider (45). Therefore, reducing feelings of coercion might improve treatment outcomes, prevent disengagement from services, and ameliorate therapeutic relationships (5). Facilitating the...
Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
Conclusions: The findings from this exploratory study are consistent with the possibility that dialogue therapy may lead to improvements in symptoms and functioning compared to standard treatment in psychosis. Introduction Standard treatment (ST) for psychosis consists primarily of antipsychotics, hospitalization, social rehabilitation, and different types of supportive therapy (1–3). Antipsychotic drugs have only moderate effects on positive symptoms and no demonstrable effects on negative symptoms (4–6). Side effects are often prominent and might include a reduction in emotional expression, menstrual ...
Source: Frontiers in Psychiatry - Category: Psychiatry Source Type: research
This study supports existing research showing promise for the application of rt-fMRI neurofeedback in the treatment of problems like PTSD, addiction and depression that are associated with heightened amygdala activation. The clinical potential of this technique, bridging the worlds of neurobiology and psychotherapy, is clear. That said, fMRI scanning is an expensive business, so it may be a while before a new world of personalised mental health interventions reveals itself. —Training emotion regulation through real-time fMRI neurofeedback of amygdala activity Post written by Eleanor Morgan (@eleanormorgan) for B...
Source: BPS RESEARCH DIGEST - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Brain guest blogger Mental health Source Type: blogs
Life coaching is viewed by some as an alternative to therapy. Actually, coaching was one of many cognitive behavior therapy methods I learned to practice in graduate school. Thirty years into my career as a psychotherapist, I coach clients toward achieving their goals when they’re likely to benefit from this approach. Certainly, neither coaching as a separate practice nor psychotherapy has a monopoly on traits such as wisdom, intuition, kindness, or empathy. Practitioners in both disciplines may be good listeners, supportive, and encourage clients to set goals. So how do you decide whom to trust for help with relati...
Source: World of Psychology - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Authors: Tags: Psychology Psychotherapy Self-Help Treatment Source Type: blogs
ConclusionsACT shows some potential promise as a treatment with a prisoner population but the general lack of methodologically sound studies greatly limits any conclusions that can be made. At present other treatments such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and other third wave therapies, most notably, Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) have accrued more evidence as a result of greater amount of research.
Source: Aggression and Violent Behavior - Category: Psychiatry & Psychology Source Type: research
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