Wednesday, December 26, 2012
Can Addiction be Cured?
Despite this long held belief, there are a number of scientists and doctors who continue to work tirelessly to find a cure for addiction. In China, a controversial surgical procedure attempting to cure addiction by destroying parts of the brain’s “pleasure centers” is being studied, Time.com reports. The subjects being studied are alcoholics and people addicted to heroin.
However, not surprisingly, the procedure risks permanently damaging a person’s ability to have longings and feel joy, according to the article. Despite the Chinese Ministry of Health banning the procedure in 2004, some doctors were granted permission to continue to perform the dangerous operation for research purposes only.
The journal Stereotactic and Functional Neurosurgery published a new study and the researchers called the surgery "a feasible method for alleviating psychological dependence on opiate drugs." Nevertheless, the researchers also noted that more than half of the 60 patients in the study had lasting side effects, including the loss of memory and loss of motivation. Although, after five years, 47 percent of the test subjects were still drug free.
Experts are opposed to using the procedure to treat addiction - thankfully. "To lesion this region that is thought to be involved in all types of motivation and pleasure risks crippling a human being," Dr. Charles O’Brien, head of the Center for Studies of Addiction at the University of Pennsylvania, told Time.com.