“Feeling lonely? Social isolation isn’t just bad for your mood — it can be bad for your health, too. And in a TEDxMidAtlantic talk, Rachel Wurzman says it contributes to opioid addiction — fueling drug use, relapses and overdoses.
Wurzman, a neuroscientist, says she thinks there is a way to make recovery from opioid addiction easier: social connection. That idea is informed by her work with the striatum, a region at the base of the forebrain that helps enable decision-making and is dramatically affected by social connection.
Called the brain’s autopilot, the striatum can also trigger compulsive behaviors, such as repeated drug use. Social isolation leaves the striatum in a hypersensitive state, she says, one in which people are more likely to chase a quick reward. The brain can translate loneliness into literal pain, says Wurzman, and that can have disastrous consequences.”
Read more at: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/neuroscientist-thinks-one-way-to-fight-opioid-addiction-is-to-tackle-loneliness/2018/11/30/8f651440-f33d-11e8-80d0-f7e1948d55f4_story.html
Source: WashingtonPost.com – December 1, 2018