Researchers use emotion regulation strategy to reduce complications of cocaine addiction

Mount Sinai researchers found that an emotion regulation strategy called cognitive reappraisal may aid in reducing the addictive complications associated with excessive cocaine use.

Their findings appeared in the journal PNAS.

Occurring in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the cognitive reappraisal mentioned in the study could be a major contributing factor to diminishing the compulsive addictive behaviors exhibited by patients with severe misuse of the dangerous stimulant.

According to the study: “Here, on a trial-by-trial basis, we used electroencephalography and eye tracking with a task that assessed, in this order, drug cue reactivity, its instructed self-regulation via reappraisal, and the immediate aftereffects on spontaneous (i.e., not instructed and automatized) attention bias.”

“The results show that cognitive reappraisal, a facet of prefrontal control, decreased spontaneous attention bias to drug-related cues in cocaine-addicted individuals, more so in those with less frequent recent use,” the authors pointed out in the findings.

“These results pave the way for future studies to examine the role of such habit disruption in reducing compulsive drug seeking outside the controlled laboratory environment, with the ultimate goal of developing a readily deployable cognitive-behavioral and personalized intervention for drug addiction.”

With the findings, researchers hope to develop a readily available cognitive-behavioral and personalized intervention strategy, to tackle the crisis involving drug misuse, in future research.