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Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Treating Addiction

Vagus Nerve Stimulation for Treating Addiction - The Bergand Group

Finally, some good news. Researchers in the field of treating addiction have found that there may be some relief to be gained for those with substance abuse in a new type of treatment.

The Likely Benefits of Vagus Nerve Stimulation

A report just published in March suggested that a particular, physical treatment may be able to aid those who are struggling with an addiction. “Vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy,” as it’s called, is purported to help bring about the “extinction of conditioned drug-seeking behaviors.” In a veritable sea of negativity within addiction-related news and statistics, this is a spot of light that we all desperately need.

As always, this study began with some animal testing with good results, and those findings will likely be able to be applied for treating addiction in humans. Additionally, “VNS therapy has already been approved by the FDA as a treatment for certain illnesses, including clinical depression, epilepsy, and inflammation,” so this isn’t something so new that it warrants doubt or concern. In fact, the proven benefits seem to be growing by the year.

VNS therapy doesn’t alleviate the symptoms of those who are currently struggling with drug abuse, but instead reduces “significantly” the drive to seek out and consume those substances. Since the compulsion to indulge, along with its triggers and cravings, are an enormous part of the issue, this is a major step toward seeing real change in the field.

So, what exactly does this newfound therapy do for people and for those working toward treating addiction? For the rats involved with the study, it instigated “changes in synaptic plasticity between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala in cocaine-addicted lab rats.” Put simply, it affects the brain in such a way that rewrites what exposure to drugs already rewrote. Instead of falling victim to those dangerous lures, which were put in place by the substances’ chemicals themselves, this new method replaces that with “new reward behaviors.” Since the vagus nerve is actually a very long one, it plays a huge role in the workings of the brain, and that is part of why this therapy is considered so effective.

Stimulating this nerve with some electric pulses allows specialists to cut back those cravings based on the nerve’s big influence. Also, they work to eliminate the establish connection between taking these substances and getting a perceived reward, which is almost entirely the reason for widespread drug use. If there is no rewarding feeling to chase, then people are infinitely less likely to partake in drug use, particularly if they are already aware of the risks and consequences.

More testing will undoubtedly be done to see exactly how extensively vagus nerve stimulation can help those who are addicted. The minds behind it are also hard at work in applying these benefits to those suffering from other issues, such as mental health disorders, in addiction to treating addiction symptoms. We only have to wait, now, and see when human trials begin how far these results will reach.

If you are suffering from an addiction to opioids or are looking for help for another person, then contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction.  We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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