Vagus Nerve Stimulation Therapy Can Eliminate Drug Cravings, Finds Study

Addiction to any substance can make the life of an individual topsy-turvy. From spending a fortune to deceiving own family, a person addicted to illegal substances can go to any extent. But how does addiction force someone to put so much at stake and then lose all? There are several factors at play when it comes to dealing with the growing problem of addiction.

Cravings are a serious issue that torment numerous people fighting drug addiction, especially when they try to come off the addictive substance. Ironically, many people would have successfully attained long-term sobriety if cravings did not crop up with addiction. Apart from being considered as the major obstacles in recovery treatment, cravings are also the root cause of relapse.

A complete recovery from addiction happens only when a person is free from cravings. Living a drug-free life without the need for constant monitoring against drug cravings can be difficult for a recovering individual, but a recent study published in the journal Learning and Memory has suggested that drug cravings can be effectively treated with vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) therapy. Under the therapy, the patients are taught new behaviors that replace their old addictive behavior of seeking drugs.

Role of VNS in addiction recovery

In the University of Texas at Dallas study, the researchers revealed that the VNS therapy helped patients to recover from the maladaptive behavior of drug taking. VNS is basically a surgical process wherein a device is implanted to a wire threaded along the vagus nerve, which travels up from the neck to the brain and connects with the area responsible for regulating mood. Sized as small as a silver dollar, the device works just like a pacemaker. It primarily works by sending a slight electric pulses through the vagus nerve, which further reaches to the brain, thereby controlling the cravings and urges.

The methodology is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is considered as a potential treatment for treatment-resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and paralysis. The study further highlighted that VNS facilitates “extinction learning” of drug-seeking behaviors by reducing cravings and replacing the behavior associated with addiction with new ones. “Extinction of fearful memories and extinction of drug-seeking memories relies on the same substrate in the brain. In our experiments, VNS facilitates both the extinction learning and reduces the relapse response as well,” said Dr. Sven Kroener of the University of Texas at Dallas.

Drug-free life is possible

Though addictive substances succeed in temporarily alleviating emotional and physical pains of drug abusers, they have to eventually cope with the painful symptoms of substance abuse. Besides developing a number of physical and mental problems, many of these individuals also become self-destructive and suicidal in nature.

Addiction to any substance can be life-threatening. Only a comprehensive treatment program involving detoxification, medications, psychotherapies and other experiential therapies like yoga, meditation etc. can help an individual get sober. Moreover, a holistic recovery management plan is equally important to sustain the period of sobriety and manage cravings. However, the extent to which health care practitioners can garner results in the treatment for drug addiction is dependent on the clinical characteristics of the patients that may vary according to the type of drug being abused as well as its quantity, duration and the method of using the drug (oral or intravenous).

If you or someone you love is grappling with addiction and making efforts to get rid of it, you can seek help from the Texas Drug Addiction Treatment to get access to services that are fully scientific and offer proven results. You can call us at our 24/7 helpline number 855–980–5757 to get information about the best drug addiction treatment centers in Texas.