Emotional regulation technique can be effective in stopping compulsive cocaine addiction

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A study by Mount Sinai researchers found that an emotion regulation strategy known as cognitive reassessment helped reduce the usually higher and more common attention to drug-related cues and contexts in people addicted to cocaine. . In an article published in PNAS, the team suggested that this form of habit disruption, mediated by the prefrontal cortex (PFC) of the brain, could play an important role in reducing compulsive drug-seeking behavior and relapse that are the badges and long-standing challenges. addiction.

“Relapse in it is often precipitated by a greater bias of attention to drug-related indications, which can consist of looks, smells, conversations, anything that reminds someone of their previous drug use, ”said lead author Muhammad A. Parvaz, Ph.D. in psychiatry and neuroscience, at Mount Sinai Icahn School of Medicine, which studies behavioral and brain-based markers that can inform and track addiction treatment and its outcomes. ” Our study is the first to suggest that increased self-regulation of drug-related arousal could alter the brain’s automatic attention bias toward these indications, which could lead to a reduction in compulsive drug-seeking behavior, even outside the laboratory, in people with . “

Cocaine is a powerful stimulant of the central nervous system whose misuse poses serious health risks and side effects. Cocaine addiction is recognized as a treatment-resistant disorder that has reached epidemic proportions nationally and globally. In the United States alone, hundreds of thousands of people are treated in the emergency room each year after severe (mostly cardiovascular) symptoms associated with cocaine use. Chronic substance use, including cocaine, skews brain care systems toward greater attention to drug-related indications in the environment (also known as attention-bias), which is considered a relapse risk factor.

In this study, Mount Sinai researchers postulated that the use of cognitive reassessment could alter the assignment of usual enhanced attention to drug-related cues in individuals with cocaine use disorder. Cognitive reassessment is a technique of regulating emotions, in which individuals are trained to self-regulate (thus involving the ) the emotional response to a confronted signal or context by reinterpreting its meaning. For example, cocaine lines in a given image can be reinterpreted as film accessories with powdered sugar cut into lines to appear only as cocaine. Although previous studies have used cognitive assessment to reduce participants ’reactivity to pharmacological indications, Mount Sinai research is the first to use this technique of regulating emotions in individuals with for its impact on spontaneous attention bias (uneducated and habitual) to cocaine-related indications.

“Modifying attention bias has been a key, albeit elusive, goal to reduce relapses over the years,” said Dr. Parvaz, who is also director of the Mount Sinai Motivational and Affective Psychopathology Laboratory. “We found that cognitive reassessment, a function of prefrontal control, decreased the spontaneous bias of attention to drug-related indications in people with cocaine addiction. In other words, increased cognitive control mediated by PFC (of the evaluation process) resulted in regulation of automatic (difficult to control) care processes in drug-addicted humans. “

“Through our work and building on the prefrontal cortical mediated benefits of cognitive reassessment, we have provided a promising framework for automatic bottom-up self-regulation and very difficult to resist drug reactivity, as it can generalize to the reduction of drug use outside the laboratory and applicable to drug addiction other than “said Rita Z. Goldstein, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and neuroscience and head of the research program on Neuropsychiatry of Addiction and Related Conditions, at Mount Sinai, and lead author of the article.” These results could contribute to the development of an easily deployable behavioral and personalized cognitive intervention strategy, which will need to be used by those struggling with drug addiction. Contribute to the development of empirically validated neuroscience-based interventions for addiction has been an important goal in our lab. ”


A brain signature that predicts vulnerability to addiction


More information:
Muhammad A. Parvaz et al., “Modifying Attention Bias in Drug Addiction: Improving Control of Subsequent Habits.” PNAS (2021). www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.2012941118

Citation: Emotional Regulation Technique May Be Effective to Stop Compulsive Cocaine Addiction (2021, May 31) Retrieved May 31, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-emotional-technique -effective-disrupting-compulsive.html

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