Addiction researchers seek to better understand addiction recovery | VTX
Researchers typically study how people recover from substance use disorder after flare-ups that require medical attention.
However, for many, recovery involves more than reducing or stopping substance use to improve health, well-being, and quality of life. This can include many relapses and take years.
Now, to provide a more comprehensive understanding of the recovery process, addiction recovery scientists at Virginia Tech’s Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC are taking a longer view.
“Our goals are to provide a scientific understanding of recovery and relapse, as well as to identify novel targets for future relapse prevention interventions,” said Warren Bickel, professor at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute and director of Addiction Recovery. Institute’s Research Center and its Center for Health Behavior Research.
An authority on the study of behaviors underlying addiction, Bickel began work on a new five-year, $3.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the recovery process.
Researchers will examine addiction recovery with a focus on decision-making mechanisms, exploring whether addiction and relapse result from an imbalance between the impulsive and executive systems and how psychosocial functioning is affected by this imbalance .
“Recovery is a multidimensional process that can be very different depending on the individual,” said Bickel, who is also a professor in the Department of Psychology at the College of Science. “For one person, recovery may involve absolutely no use of alcohol or any other drug. For the next person, it could mean lower drinking frequency with a better quality of life. Our goal is to to harness data from this wide variety of experiences of people from all walks of life and examine processes of recovery, relapse, psychosocial functioning and treatment.
The White House has proclaimed September 2022 National Recovery Month, reaffirming the value of efforts to prevent substance use disorders, support those still struggling, and provide those recovering with the resources they need to live. fully and healthy.
For the substance use disorder study, participants will be recruited from the International Quit & Recovery Registry, which was established by Bickel in 2011 and currently has about 9,000 enrollees.
The online database is suitable for long-term repeated measures research required for the project. Additionally, scientists will compare individuals in different recovery years.