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The Thirteenth StepAddiction in the Age of Brain Science$
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Markus Heilig

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172363

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172363.001.0001

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A Strained Mind

A Strained Mind

(p.123) 12 A Strained Mind
The Thirteenth Step

Markus Heilig

Columbia University Press

This chapter focuses on the link between stress and the risk of relapse to addiction. Various studies have confirmed that exposure to stress induces cravings in patients with addictive disorders. Animal experiments also demonstrate that stress triggers resumption of drug and alcohol seeking. By studying the brain circuits that produce stress-induced relapse in animals, scientists hope to discover new ways through which medications can help prevent relapse in patients with addictive disorders. Based on this type of research, several promising mechanisms are undergoing clinical evaluation. Perhaps the most important among these are blockers of a receptor for the main brain mediator of stress responses, corticotropin releasing factor (CRF). CRF blockers are promising as a future alcoholism treatment. Studies are ongoing and answers are expected within the next couple of years.

Keywords:   stress, alcohol addiction, addictive disorders, corticotropin releasing factor, stress response, human brain

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