Findings offer new clues into the addicted brain

What drives addicts to repeatedly choose drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, overeating, gambling or kleptomania, despite the risks involved? Neuroscientists at the University of California, Berkeley, have pinpointed the exact locations in the brain where calculations are made that can result in addictive and compulsive behavior.

UC Berkeley researchers have found how neural activity in the brain’s orbitofrontal and anterior cingulate cortex regulates our choices. These astonishing new findings could pave the way for more targeted treatments for everything from drug and alcohol abuse to obsessive-compulsive disorders.

‘The better we understand our decision-making brain circuitry, the better we can target treatment, whether it’s pharmaceutical, behavioral or deep brain stimulation,” said Jonathan Wallis, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience at UC Berkeley and the principal investigator of the study published in the Oct. 30 online issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience.

via Findings offer new clues into the addicted brain.

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Mental Disorders Linked to Drug, Alcohol Abuse in U.S. Vets

(HealthDay News) — U.S. veterans with mental health disorders have high rates of substance abuse, new research shows.

In the study, researchers analyzed U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs data to determine the rates of substance-use disorders among veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan who were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder or other mental health disorders, including bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.

via Mental Disorders Linked to Drug, Alcohol Abuse in U.S. Vets.

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Depression May Worsen Over Time in Addiction-Prone Women

(HealthDay News) — Depression symptoms increase over time for women in their 30s and 40s who are prone to addiction problems and antisocial behavior, researchers report.

The new study looked at how personal history, family life and neighborhood instability affected alcoholism symptoms in 273 women over a 12-year period during their early years of marriage and motherhood. The participants lived in the U.S. Midwest.

While alcohol problems and antisocial behavior declined over time, depression symptoms increased among the women. The study also found that the women’s partner’s and children’s problems also had an effect on them. For example, women’s symptoms and behaviors worsened if their partner also struggled with addiction and antisocial behavior, such as trouble with the law.

via HealthDay Articles.

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