The fact that opioid addiction is reaching the proportions of an epidemic is extremely concerning (The Guardian). Researchers all over the world work tirelessly to develop new, more effective treatment of addiction. Some of the methods show very promising results, like a study on TMS (transcranial magnetic stimulation). A huge survey of the US population has also shown a significant reduction of opioid use in the states with approved medical cannabis, which gives one some food for thought.
TMS Treatment of Addiction: What’s the Outlook
A team of researchers from the Medical University of South Carolina decided to use physiological approach to addiction treatment. Their study approached addiction as the brain disease it is. Scientists focused on influencing the cue response, a neurological process triggered by the object of addiction.
Transcranial magnetic stimulation was used to reduce the level of brain activity caused by brain’s response to stimulation from drugs or alcohol. This non-invasive method of brain ‘rewiring’ has shown the expected results. The level of cue response in the patients subjected to TMS treatments was much lower.
While this method is only in the first stages of research, it’s already shaping up to be one of the most promising developments in the treatment of addiction. Its main benefit is that it targets cue response, which is the main cause of a relapse in those recovering from substance abuse.
Treatment of Addiction: Going Beyond the ‘Symptoms’
While there can be no doubt that detoxing the body is an essential step for substance abuse recovery, medical professionals of today realize that addiction treatment has to go far beyond that. Dependency on drugs/alcohol is a disease that ruins one’s body and mind. That’s why its treatment requires a holistic approach. The Recovery Village in Ohio is one of the prime examples of addiction recovery facilities that provide the necessary rehabilitation on every level.
A truly effective recovery program must be personalized to ensure maximum efficiency for the patient. It also must provide more than the necessary medications and therapy. The exact definition of ‘more’ is what distinguishes some recovery facilities from others. Professionals working there go above and beyond to develop programs that will not only help their patients regain freedom and control over their lives. They also introduce programs that can help recovered patients thrive once they are back with the society.
This is why the research of TMS is so important. It has the power to smooth out that reintegration and reduce the risk of a relapse.
Unfortunately, current treatment of addiction pays little attention to helping the affected person recover their wellbeing. But the good news is that programs that can achieve this are starting to appear. For example, Boston Medical Center offers cooking classes to their recovery patients. The ones designed for those recovering from substance abuse aim to teach people how to nourish their body in a way that will help undo the damage dealt by alcohol/drugs.
What’s That About Treatment of Addiction and Cannabis?
University of Georgia published a study, which observed interesting changes in the opioid use in different states. It turns out that states that approved the use of medical cannabis had a big (14.4%) drop in opioid use. The level of opioid prescriptions in those states reduced by about 7%.
While that data doesn’t tell much, it does show that medical cannabis can be one of the tools used to fight the current opioid crisis. Although we still have much to learn about how to use it in the best way.