Prescription opioid painkillers have been one of the driving factors behind America’s opiate addiction epidemic. These painkillers, and the ease with which prescriptions for them could be obtained until very recently, have played no small role in the development of the heroin addiction epidemic that is killing dozens in every part of the country and leaving treatment centers like our Florida rapid detox facility struggling to keep up.
However, painkillers bring relief from pain for many who are suffering with both acute and chronic pain conditions. New research from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai has revealed new information about the way that opiate abuse affects the brain. Researchers hope not only to be able to develop new prescription painkillers that are less addictive, but to devise new treatments for opiate addiction that could make the treatments currently offered at our Florida rapid detox clinic more effective.
Researchers Identify Protein Implicated in Opiate Addiction
Researchers working at Mount Sinai’s Icahn School of Medicine have pinpointed a protein implicated in the mechanism of opiate addiction. Opioid use changes the activity of this protein, RGS9-2, which in turn leads to changes in both pain relief threshold and opioid tolerance. Researchers experimented with the effects of both blocking and increasing the activity of this protein.
When the researchers blocked the action of RGS9-2 in mice addicted to morphine, they found the mice experienced both a lower threshold for the pain relief response and a lower tolerance for the drug. When the researchers increased the protein’s activity, however, they found that the opposite occurred – the mice demonstrated a higher pain relief threshold and developed a tolerance for morphine much faster. The changes were noted in the nucleus accumbens, a central component of the brain’s reward center.
People find themselves in need of our Florida rapid detox program because of the way that opiate addiction interferes with the brain’s reward center. Opiate drugs stimulate the brain’s reward center to cause a euphoric rush, in much the same way as do endorphins, dopamine, serotonin and other neurotransmitters. In non-opiate addicted individuals, pro-survival behaviors, like eating, exercising and having sex, stimulate the brain’s reward center. When opiate addiction takes hold, as it has for those we help in our Florida rapid detox program, it hijacks the brain’s natural reward response system, interfering with the brain’s ability to produce endorphins and forcing the addict to rely on opiate drugs.
Discovery Could Revolutionize Pain and Addiction Treatment and Florida Rapid Detox
Dr. Venetia Zachariou, lead researcher on the study, believes that the results of this study could revolutionize both the treatment of chronic pain and the treatment of opiate addictions in programs like our Florida rapid detox program. The addictive potential of opiate drugs means that alternatives are needed to treat pain. People who suffer chronic pain, people at a high risk of addiction, people with a history of substance abuse problems and people who are currently struggling with an opiate addiction need a pain relief solution that does not carry a risk of addiction.
In the future, the researchers hope that, by manipulating the action of RGS9-2, they can improve the analgesic effects of opioid compounds while decreasing the risk of addiction. In addition to improving the analgesic effects of morphine in the addicted mice, the researchers were able to stop addictive behaviors in the mice by blocking the action of RGS9-2. This technique could someday help the specialists at our Florida rapid detox clinic to more effectively treat opiate addiction and prevent relapse.
Opiate drugs, in the form of prescription painkillers and heroin, have been destroying lives and families throughout the country for years. The tragic death of Hollywood icon Philip Seymour Hoffman earlier this year highlighted the need for more effective opiate addiction treatment and relapse prevention. Hoffman had been sober for 23 years before he relapsed into the addiction that would eventually claim his life.
If you or someone you love is struggling with an opiate addiction, get help now. Call our Florida rapid detox clinic today at 888-415-0708 to learn more about our addiction treatment and dual diagnosis programs.