Tweaking Memory Stops Addicts from Relapsing
A study recently published in the Science journal and conducted by a team of researchers at the Peking University in Beijing has unveiled that change in memories can prevent drug addicts from relapsing.
As per the findings of the report, brains are naturally wired for different kinds of addiction. It has been told by the team that some people tend to link needles or cigarettes to pleasure. They believe that these products would relax them and thus fall into the habit.
Lin Lu of the National Institute of Drug Dependence along with his colleagues had conducted a study, in which they enrolled 66 former heroin addicts. Of them, nearly 22 had not taken drugs for about 11 years.
The team has told that half of the participants were shown a short video of drug use, with an aim to open their memory window. Also, they were given extinction sessions, in which they were made to have contact with some cues of heroin use like handling fake heroin.
Variation in time was noted by the team between the two activities, which revealed that some of the addicts waited only 10 minutes, whereas the others waited long for six hours.
While, a video of the countryside unrelated to drug use was shown to the other half participants. According to the team, the other video was aimed at keeping their memory the same as it was before. After the same, they were also exposed to the drug-related visuals.
Combining the traditional memory extinction procedures with the memory reconsolidation process, the team found that those amongst the first group were having lower levels of drug cravings as compared to the other group. "Research has shown that memories can be changed more permanently if they are retrieved first", said David Epstein, a researcher at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland.