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Neroscience in Prevention_ Treatment_ and Recovery - ACT Missouri


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									Neuroscience in Prevention,
 Treatment and Recovery

          Carrie McKinley
 University of Missouri - Columbia
 My goals for this presentation

•To provide a basic understanding of the neuroscience of addiction

•To give insight on how neural processes manifest themselves

•To explain the neurologically reinforcing properties of drugs of
First: Reinforcing Properties of Drugs
• Our brains are programmed to have certain neurological responses in order to get us
through every day and to teach us what is good for us.
•Neurologically many things, including drugs, can be positively or negatively reinforcing.

      Positive reinforcement                       Negative Reinforcement
• Occurs naturally when we are                 • Also occurs naturally when we do
  rewarded with something                        something and it takes away
  positive for a behavior or action.             something bad
• Example: Study hard and get a                • Example: Eating to take away
  good grade                                     hunger
• Drugs of abuse do the same thing             • Drugs of abuse also do this
• Example: Snort cocaine and feel              • Example: Drinking alcohol to take
  good                                           away anxiety
An introduction
to neuroscience
• Our brain is made up of
millions of neurons.
• These neurons serve
special functions
depending on their
location in the brain.
• Neurons communicate
using chemicals called
• There are three major
neurotransmitters related
to drug abuse
• All drugs (THC, alcohol,
Cocaine, Meth, Heroin) have
an effect on the
neurotransmitter dopamine.
• All increase the amount of
dopamine in the synapse
• This increase in dopamine
leads to the pleasurable
effects associated with most
• Repeated increases in
dopamine levels lead to
compensation by neurons.
         Compensation by neurons
• When dopamine levels begin to neutralize the individual taking the
  drug begins to “lose” the high they experienced
• If the individual chooses to use again then the dopamine level returns
  to being increased at the synapse
• When an individual does this repeatedly, as with addiction, our
  neurons begin to compensate for the increased levels of dopamine.
• Eventually the neurons production of dopamine gets altered as the
  neurons adapt to having constant high levels of dopamine in the
• There’s a down regulation of the amount of receptors on neurons to
  try and compensate for the amount of dopamine in the synapse
• This results in tolerance and individuals using large quantities to get
  the same “effect”
• Groups of neurons form
different pathways in our
• Drugs of abuse highjack
the neurotransmitters in
these pathways of the
human brain
• Every drug effects
slightly different systems.
• It is the manipulation of
the neurotransmitters
and neurons of these
pathways that leads to a
lot of the behaviors
associated with drug
Behavioral manifestations of neural changes
• A result of these neural changes in the brain and dopamine
  pathways can be seen in conditioned place preference.
• When an animal receives a dose of a drug in an environment and a
  placebo in another environment, the animal will chose to spend
  more time in the environment it received the drug in.
• The opposite is true when an animal
  receives an adverse stimulus (shock) in one
   environment, the animal will spend less
  time where they experienced the adverse
• So then, how can we apply this to initial prevention and relapse
Bean bag activity!
         Like Riding a Bike:
          Neuroscience in
Prevention, Treatment and Recovery
              ACT Missouri Prevention Conference
               Missouri Champions of Prevention
                        December 4, 2012
          Lodge of the Four Seasons, Lake of the Ozarks

             Heather Harlan, Phoenix Programs, Inc.
            Certified Reciprocal Prevention Specialist
  Carrie McKinley, University of Missouri Cognitive Neuroscience
         Research/Center for Translational Neuroscience
          Learning Objectives

• Why adolescent brains are more vulnerable to
• How substance use/abuse disrupts acquisition of
  skill sets necessary for adult function
• How evidence-based prevention relates to teen
  brains and protective factors for substance
What do prevention, treatment and
   recovery have in common?

          ?            ?
                         ?          12
Of course!!!!!!!!!!

                      THAT makes

 Substance use disorders as well as
prevention, treatment and recovery

 ALL made possible through

“Neuroscience for Dummies”—me
Reward pathways= Roads in your brain

Human brain growing well in the mid-20’s
 Ages 5                               20

          Blue represents maturing areas of the brain

Blue represents maturing portion of the brain.          16
90% of
begin during
Dr. Michael Dennis
   Chestnut Health

Illustration source:
  Age of first use matters
   Youth who begin drinking before age 15
      are 4-5 times more likely to become
       alcohol dependent than those who
               wait until they are 21.
(Pacific Institute on Research and Development)

              We know. . . .
. . . Immature brains are more at risk.

                   BUT . . .
Think of the immature human brain as someone
  who is deciding where to build roads.
Lights in the distance draw us on.
“Where should I go?”
“What actions/behaviors are advantageous to

A chemical reward in the brain tells us what
  actions/behaviors we should repeat and learn.
Ordinary rewards we receive over and over teach
  us how to cope with life. Like flashlights on the
  dark horizon:
Sad----------find comfort
Better grades------study
Bored-------rewarding pastimes
Those repeated behaviors become our
  super highway reward pathways.
When a young human brain experiences artificial
 rewards from alcohol or other drugs. . .
It sets a youth on a different neurological path.

How can you “un-experience” a strong chemical
 reward you did nothing to receive except to
How can you “un-see” a bright flashing light?
Ordinary “rewards” can’t
 effectively compete.
This creates a high risk for a neurological
    super highway to using/ drinking
This is what makes the adolescent
 human brain so vulnerable to
 addictive chemicals.
            Skill SETS

Adolescents need to acquire skill sets
 to be successful.
Uh,what’s a
           skill set?
Please repeat this with me:
When I think of my brain
There’s a lot at stake
So I’m gonna learn how
To make a good brain great.
Now, please, repeat the little
 ditty from memory.
Now, please stand add clapping
 pattern I will teach you with a
 with a partner.
Now, please switch partners.
Final time, everyone listen as
 we recite the verse and clap
 and say it together.
         Experience of a SKILL SET
•   First read the verse
•   Memorized it
•   Learned clapping pattern
•   Leaned to say it with a partner while clapping
•   Learned to accommodate different partners
•   Learned to listen and say it all together in
Neurons fired together
        Wired together.

Examples of other SKILL SETS
Skill set

     Neurons fired together
     are wired together.
 Prevention, treatment and recovery:

All depend on reward pathways that
 lead to acquisition of skill sets:
 Prevention, treatment and recovery:
All depend on reward pathways that
lead to acquisition of skill sets:
Prevention: sufficient opportunities to
learn coping skills to succeed and enjoy life.
Treatment: strategic and extensive planning
to avoid the “artificial rewards” of using while
 creating reward pathways to pro-social behaviors
 and coping skills. (not just STOP)
Recovery: taking time to practice and
strengthen reward pathways to successfully
   compete with artificial rewards.
Neuroscience of Prevention, treatment
           and recovery:
Like riding a bicycle.
    Sooooooooooooooo . . . .?
How does evidence-based prevention
 relates to teen brains and protective
 factors for substance use/abuse?
What are some evidence-based prevention
 efforts in your community/coalition?

Discussion: What is happening to protect or
  develop brains using those interventions?
Neuroscience of Prevention, treatment
           and recovery:
Like riding a bicycle.
         Phoenix Programs, Inc.
• Know us
                         (I do a majority of posts)
• “Like us”

• Follow us.

So you can become a member of the informed
      Speaker wishes to acknowledge:

•   Carrie McKinley, co-presenter
•   Phoenix Programs, Inc.
•   ACT MO
•   Preventionists and treatment counselors in
    MO and IL who have generously shared their
    wisdom and experience.
Thank you for your kind
 attention and generous
Presented by Heather Harlan, Prevention Specialist
Copy of this presentation available on request

                                 573-875-8880 x 2142

Funding for this project was provided in part by the Missouri
Foundation for Health. The Missouri Foundation for Health
is a philanthropic organization whose vision is to improve
the health of the people in the communities it serves.

A New Perspective in Prevention, Treatment and Recovery.

   For individuals. For families. For over 35 years.

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