Novel Target for Treating Stimulant Use Disorders

stimulant use disorder

Research is essential for advancements in addiction treatment therapies. Scientists are the people who develop medications to help treat alcohol and substance use disorders. Research teams study and develop novel therapies that lead to the adoption of evidence-based treatment modalities.

However, while there are effective treatments available for all who struggle with addiction, there are some disorders that respond better to current therapies. With the recent surge of methamphetamine use in America, there is a dire need to find better ways of addressing stimulant use disorders.

Currently, there are no medications that are approved for treating people who struggle with stimulants. People with opioid use disorders can rely on several medications that can reduce cravings and prevent relapse in early recovery. The same is true for those living with alcohol use disorders.

Still, scientists are hard at work in finding new ways to help those who misuse and abuse stimulants like Adderall or methamphetamine. This is important because, in some parts of the country, methamphetamine is causing more deaths than prescription opioids.

A team of researchers at the University of Minnesota Medical School may have found a new target for treating drug addiction involving amphetamines, ScienceDaily reports. The findings appear in the scientific journal Neuron.

The Hidden Stars of the Brain

Substance use disorders disrupt dopamine – one of the significant reward molecules of the brain production and the nucleus accumbens, one of the primary reward centers in the brain. The new study, co-led by Michelle Corkrum, Ph.D., a third-year medical student in the Medical Scientist Training Program (MD/Ph.D.) at the University of Minnesota Medical School, found that targeting astrocyte calcium signaling could decrease the behavioral effects of amphetamine.
Astrocytes are support cells in the brain that are shaped like stars; Dr. Corkrum calls the cells “the hidden stars of the brain.” The cells respond to dopamine with increases in calcium in the nucleus accumbens, according to the article. The researchers discovered that astrocytes respond to amphetamine with increases in calcium, and if astrocyte activity is altered, it could decrease the behavioral effects of amphetamine.

Increasing or decreasing the activity of astrocytes in the brain could lead to more effective treatments. Corkrum will continue researching the hidden stars of the brain with repeated exposures, withdrawal and reinstatement of amphetamine.

“These findings suggest that astrocytes contribute to amphetamine signaling, dopamine signaling and overall reward signaling in the brain,” Corkrum said. “Because of this, astrocytes are a potentially novel cell type that can be specifically targeted to develop efficacious therapies for diseases with dysregulated dopamine.” 

California Stimulant Use Disorder Treatment

Hopefully, the above research and further studies will result in more effective addiction treatment therapies for stimulant use disorder. In the near future, science may help increase people’s ability to abstain and achieve long-term recovery. While there are no medications to help reduce cravings for stimulants, those who seek treatment and adopt a program of recovery can go on to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

Professional assistance can significantly increase one’s chances of finding long-term recovery. Hemet Valley Recovery Center & Sage Retreat helps men and women who are caught in the grips of stimulant use disorders. Our Chemical Dependency Rehabilitation Hospital (CDRH) is the ideal environment for adults who desire to recover from addiction.

Please contact us today to learn more about our evidence-based therapies and to find out what sets us apart from other treatment centers. Please call us today at 866-273-0868 for a confidential assessment and to take the first step toward healing.