A Treatment Center Alumni Shares Her Story of Hope
Drug rehab therapists hold fast to the notion that recovering addicts in their addiction treatment centers should avoid people, places and things associated with their addiction. Now, drug rehab therapists are being supported by neuroscientists, who believe drug abuse can cause the brains of patients in addiction treatment centers to form lasting connections between their drugs of choice and the environments they consumed or purchased the drugs.
These connections reflect a subconscious type of learning, and they contribute to the difficulties drug rehab patients have when trying to let go of their old addictions.
Hitoshi Morikawa, a neurobiologist at the University of Texas states, "There's a growing consensus in the addiction field that addiction is a learning and memory disorder. We learn behavior associated with these drugs too well."
Morikawa published a paper in the American Journal of Neuroscience concerning this theory. He used mice as experimental "drug rehab patients" and fed them a week long binge of alcohol. The results showed that they were more likely to remember the environment that they later received cocaine. This research may explain why patients in addiction treatment centers are triggered into relapse by certain environments.
Experts from addiction treatment centers hope this type of "alcoholic mice" research can help drug rehab therapists to find therapies to help reverse this type of learned response to environments in their addiction treatment center patients.