Researchers out of Washington State University have identified a mechanism in the brain that facilitates the role of memory with connected drug addiction. Drug addiction is associated with strong memories that in turn drive a user to crave that drug again and increase likelihood of relapse. These researchers explain that turning off this mechanism will diminish the emotional content connected to drug use, which could in turn minimize the possibility of motivation to relapse. Barbara Sorg explains more:

“Memories associated with drug use are a leading suspect in driving the impulses behind drug addiction. The brain reinforces memories, in part by giving them emotional weight. The result is a personal blueprint of rewards and cues guiding fundamental decisions. Drug use creates memories so powerful they hijack the system, turning physiology into pathology.”

Cocaine was utilized throughout the study and is the primary drug that led to understanding of this brain mechanism. There is hope that these findings will allow for targeted therapy that might disable this mechanism in the brain, altering addiction and compulsion.

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