Search is Powered by Google
Follow us on:
Follow our health news on Twitter
Follow Our News on Facebook
Personalization
login | register
Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs News

New Evidence On Addiction To Medicines Diazepam Has Effect On Nerve Cells In The Brain Reward System

Main Category: Alcohol / Addiction / Illegal Drugs
Also Included In: Anxiety / Stress;  Sleep / Sleep Disorders / Insomnia;  Psychology / Psychiatry
Article Date: 26 Aug 2008 - 3:00 PDT

email icon email to a friend   printer icon printer friendly   write icon opinions  
Current Article Ratings:

Patient / Public:4 stars

3.68 (19 votes)

Health Professional:4 stars

4 (11 votes)

Article Opinions: 2 posts

Addictions to medicines and drugs are thought to develop over a relatively long period of time. The process involves both structural and functional changes in brain nerve cells that are still poorly understood. However, a single drug or alcohol dose is sufficient to generate an initial stage of addiction. Recent research conducted under the umbrella of the Academy of Finland Research Programme on Neuroscience (NEURO) has discovered the same phenomenon in the dosage of benzodiazepine diazepam.

Benzodiazepines are highly effective medicines that are widely used in the treatment of anxiety, insomnia, pains, panic attacks and other symptoms. However, over time patients may develop an increased tolerance towards these medicines and an unhealthy dependence.

"Previously, addiction to benzodiazepines has been explained by reference to negative rather than positive reinforcement. In other words, the thinking has been that the reason people continue to use the medicine is that it helps to alleviate their distressing withdrawal symptoms and general discomfort, rather than because it provides a sense of reward," says Professor Esa Korpi, who has been in charge of the research project at the University of Helsinki.

However, according to the latest research it seems that diazepam causes a similar change in the brain's reward-inducing dopamine cells as a dose of alcohol, morphine, amphetamine or cocaine. Furthermore, neural message transmission in the dopamine cells is reinforced for up to 72 hours after ingestion of diazepam. "Our studies have shown that diazepam also affects the dopamine system, which adds a new positive reinforcement mechanism of reward learning to the theory of benzodiazepine addiction," Korpi explains.

Article published on the subject in Neuropsychopharmacology, 18 June 2008: Long-lasting modulation of glutamatergic transmission in VTA dopamine neurons after a single dose of benzodiazepine agonists.

The Academy's ongoing Research Programme on Neuroscience NEURO is scheduled to run from 2005 to 2009. The programme is conducted jointly with Chinese and Canadian partners. Its purpose is to support multidisciplinary neuroscience research at the highest level and to promote cooperation, networking and mobility among scientists from the countries involved in the programme.

Academy of Finland





Ophthalmology Urology
About Us News Licensing Free Website Feeds Free Tools & Content Tell a Friend Accessibility Help / FAQ Article Submission Links Contact Us

add medical news today to your facebook
medical news gadget

Monthly Feature

Drowning Image
Do You Know What Drowning Looks Like?

If you are heading to the water this summer, ask yourself this question - would you be able to spot someone in trouble in the water, in time to save their life? Read our article to find out why drowning doesn't look like you may think it does.

Forum Icon

Alcohol Forum

Discuss issues relating to alcohol / addiction / illegal drugs in our new forum.

Visit the alcohol forum


These are the most read articles from this news category for the last 6 months:
Top Article Star
New Form Of Ketamine Treats Depression "Like Magic"
20 Aug 2010
"It's like a magic drug", said the lead researcher of a team from Yale University in the US whose latest study suggests that ketamine, a drug normally used as an anasthetic, could be reformulated as an anti-depressant that...


Follow Our News On Twitter:
Alcohol

Follow Us On Twitter
Get the latest news for this category delivered straight to your Twitter account. Simply click the link below and select the 'follow' option.

Talking with Your Doctor image Talking with Your Doctor

Talking with your doctor can sometimes be difficult. Good health care, however, depends on an open dialogue between patients and doctors...

Keeping a Personal Medical Record image Keeping a Personal Medical Record

Medical information is usually scattered in many different places. To receive the best possible health care, people are encouraged to gather information in one place and create a personal medical record...

View more videos...