“Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have found evidence that an emotion–related brain region called the central amygdala – whose activity promotes feelings of malaise and unhappiness – plays a major role in sustaining cocaine addiction. In experiments with rats, the TSRI researchers found signs that cocaine–induced changes in this brain system contribute to anxiety–like behavior and other unpleasant symptoms of drug withdrawal—symptoms that typically drive an addict to keep using. When the researchers blocked specific brain receptors called kappa opioid receptors in this key anxiety–mediating brain region, the rats’ signs of addiction abated.”

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