Author(s): Bruijnzeel AW, Repetto M, Gold MS
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Abstract The studies reviewed indicate that brain stress system play an important role in the acquisition and maintenance of drugs of abuse that target the brain's reward centers. In doing so, they may destabilize these areas, making the perception of pleasure more elusive and difficult to attain. Withdrawal from drugs of abuse leads to the activation of brain CRF systems that may produce the anxiogenic response associated with drug withdrawal. More research, however, is needed to investigate the role of brain stress systems and neuropeptides in other drug withdrawal symptoms such as anhedonia. A better understanding of the brain systems underlying drug withdrawal may help in the development of improved pharmacotherapies that can alleviate drug withdrawal symptoms. The second part of the article indicated that there is a very high comorbidity between depression and drug dependence. The reviewed studies suggest that depressed patients initiate drug-taking behavior to self-medicate the symptoms associated with their psychiatric disorder. Chronic use of drugs of abuse, however, may exacerbate the symptoms of pre-existing mental disorders and subsequently increase drug-taking behavior. Conversely, professional treatment of pre-existing psychiatric disorders may decrease the use of illicit substances.
This article was published in Psychiatr Clin North Am
and referenced in Journal of Genetic Syndromes & Gene Therapy