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article imageNew method for assessing addiction in people

By Tim Sandle     Nov 3, 2016 in Health
Addiction to a substance affects the brain and once some is dependent, removing the need for the substance becomes psychologically and physically difficult. This is not a simple process as a new method indicates.
A new study indicates that addiction needs to be properly assessed and the level of assessment is key to an effective treatment being proposed. For this, researchers argue, a multi-faceted new tool is needed.
This assessment is called the Addictions Neuroclinical Assessment. This looks at processes that are considered to relate most closely to addiction. These are:
Altered perception of an object or event. Here perception is altered through taking a substance where the substance seems more attractive than it would if a person was unaffected. In psychology this is called incentive salience.
Increased negative emotional responses (or ‘negative emotionality’.) Here when drugs are no longer available this affects organizing behavior and lowers the ability of a person to set future goals. This process is referred to as executive functioning.
To understand this requires a detailed assessment of brain biology and chemistry. Speaking with Laboratory Roots, the lead researcher, Dr. George F. Koob outlines the process: “The assessment framework that we describe recognizes the great advances that continue to be made in our understanding of the neuroscience of addiction.”
He adds further: “These advances underscore how much we know about the core neurobiological manifestations of addiction in people.” Further information is provided in the video below:
The radical change with this new approach is that most current addiction assessments are based on profiles of the substance being abused; the new approach looks at the individual and indicates that individuals respond to different substances in different ways. That is, a ‘one size fits all’ approach to addiction management is not suitable and medics need to understand the patient, since there are different subtypes of addictive disorders.
The new study has been carried out at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), which is a subdivision of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The findings are published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, with the research titled “Addictions Neuroclinical Assessment: A Neuroscience-Based Framework for Addictive Disorders.”
More about Addiction, Psychology, dependency, Drugs
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