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Blocking Stress Receptors May Diminish Alcohol Cravings

New studies show possibilities to assist recovering alcoholics who are in the process of alcohol rehabilitation. According to scientific research, certain receptors located within the brain tend to become activated when a person craves alcohol or other addictive substances. These findings led scientists to research the potential to block these receptors, thus decreasing, and possibly eliminating, former alcoholics and drug addicts from feeling many of the cravings associated with substance withdrawal.

Neurotransmitters involved in stress and anxiety have been show to be affected by the addictive tendencies many people within drug rehabilitation programs suffer from. Specifically, the NK1R receptor, most densely located within the amygdala, has proven to be involved in the reward and stress processes of the brain. Interestingly, the amygdala is known as the “fear center” of the limbic centers of the mid-brain. Thus, an association is shown between the reward and stress processes of the brain and their connection to feelings of fear and anxiety.

Initial research using animal models has shown that blocking the NK1R receptors very effectively reduces, and in some cases, eliminates the anxiety-related drug and alcohol cravings that some addicts feel. Since alcohol and opiates share the same common chemical pathways in the brain, the opportunity for other types of neurotransmitter research and blocking is likely to prove successful when dealing with patients using drug rehabilitation therapy. Early-level studies have been done on humans as well, showing a definitive decrease in stress and anxiety reactions after test participants ingested a drug that blocked the NK1R receptors. While these initial studies will require a great deal of further research before blocking neurotransmitters becomes a common treatment method for recovering addicts in drug rehabilitation programs, the showings thus far are encouraging the idea that other, more effective methods of treating substance addiction could possibly exist.

To discuss the drug rehabilitation options available for you or your loved one, contact the staff at Vista Taos Addiction Center for more information. Vista Taos is located in New Mexico, but is a short, worthwhile trip to those located in parts of Texas and Oklahoma.

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