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article imageAddiction 'off' switch is possible but not a cure

By James Walker     Jul 4, 2014 in Lifestyle
A new report has indicated that it may be possible to 'turn off' withdrawal symptoms deriving from when people refrain from taking illegal substances for a period of time to make it easier for people to stop.
It is well known that the brain produces a substance called BDNF to defend against rising levels of the drug dopamine in the synapses between neurons. Too much dopamine causes damage to the neurons comprising the brain but also creates the feelings of extreme happiness that drug users experience.
The purpose of BDNF is to restore dopamine levels to normal to prevent further brain damage but a team of researchers from Brighan Young University found earlier this week that in actual fact the brain produces too much BDNF, overcompensating for the damage caused. This results in the removal of too much dopamine from the synapses, causing the users to feel the horrible come-down and withdrawal symptoms that quitters go through.
Because of this, genetic modification could potentially be used to edit the relevant gene and prevent the overproduction of BDNF and removing withdrawal symptoms. This would make quitting much easier for many people as they could do with no negative effects.
Currently, many ex-abusers require extensive detoxification in order to make a full recovery from the effects of the usage of drugs for many years. Companies such as Alpha Recovery can help with this and give assistance by developing tailored, personal aftercare plans to deal with the intense withdrawal symptoms but in the future, after future research, it may be much easier to simply remove withdrawal symptoms altogether.
Either way, every bit of new evidence into the effects of addiction on the brain will end up benefiting those who need it most — the people who are addicted and are trying but failing to quit. Every addiction case is different though owing to how the symptoms actually damage the physical structure of the brain but as the leader of the team who made this week's discovery, Scott Steffensen, says "Addiction is a brain disease that could be treated like any other disease" meaning that there is definitely hope for a cure one day.
More about Addiction, substances, Abuse, Drugs, Alcohol
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