Tweaking memories of drug addicts could aid recovery

Though it sounds like the plot of a Philip K. Dick story, researchers in China claim that "tweaking memories" of drug addicts could help the addicts recover.

Researchers at the University of Peking found that once a memory is accessed, there is a brief window of time when that memory can be "rewritten." Following the idea of association (e.g. addicts associate their drug of choice with pleasure), the researchers conducted an experiment in which they attempted to change addicts' associations between drugs and pleasure.

Twenty-two heroin addicts were shown a video that reminded them of taking heroin (with positive associations), then viewed videos and photos of negative heroine usage while a control group was shown a video of the countryside, then the negative videos.

They were tested 180 days later, and cravings in the experimental group were much lower than in the control group.

The authors wrote: "The [memory] procedure decreased cue-induced drug craving and perhaps could reduce the likelihood of cue-induced relapse during prolonged abstinence periods" and are calling for a full clinical study.

Perhaps it'll also work for Internet addiction.

Via BBC News

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