ISSN 1671-3710
CN 11-4766/R

Advances in Psychological Science ›› 2017, Vol. 25 ›› Issue (7): 1139-1144.doi: 10.3724/SP.J.1042.2017.01139

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 Drug addiction memory extinction based on the association between related cues and automatic drug use behavior

 ZHU Liang; LU Chang; WANG Shuang; ZENG Hong   

  1.  (The department of psychology, The Research Center of Psychology & Brain science Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510006, China)
  • Received:2016-09-29 Online:2017-07-15 Published:2017-05-26
  • Contact: ZENG Hong, E-mail: E-mail:E-mail:
  • Supported by:

Abstract:  Memory extinction refers to the suppression of conditioned responses to drug cues. However, research on cue-exposure therapy related to memory extinction in clinical settings has found the extinguished responses significantly reemerge after exposure to the drug associated cues. This may indicate that current therapy methods using memory extinction do not prevent drug use or relapse when former drug addicts return to their previous drug environments. Extensive research employing a variety of animal and human learning paradigms indicates a neuroanatomical shift from the hippocampus/dorsomedial striatum towards the sensorimotor-dorsolateral striatum in the addiction period, which is characterized by habitual control drug use behavior. This proves that addiction memory also comprises the association between drug related cues and automatic drug using behavior, suggesting that drug addiction memory consists of at least two independent components: the emotion memory related to the drug reward effect and the action memory related to habitual drug use motion. Recent studies show that extinction training that builds an association between drug related cues and the physical action of pushing away has a significantly effect on addiction memory extinction. This serves as a reminder that eliminating or substituting the association between drug related cues and drug use motion could be the aim of memory extinction treatments. Therefore, the sensorimotor-dorsolateral striatum system is the relevant biological target. A better effect of intervention could be expected based on this specific form of memory extinction.

Key words: addiction memory, cue induced reactivity, automatic drug use behaviour, sensorimotor-DLS system, memory extinction

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