Helen Fox of the Yale School of Medicine will speak about "Stress Adaptations Affecting Addictive Processes: Potential Targets for Medications Development" at a Neuroscience and Behavior seminar on Wednesday, Nov. 14 at 4 p.m. in 222 Morrill II.
Alcohol and cocaine dependence are chronic relapsing disorders that are characterized by the up-regulation of core stress systems of the brain. Findings from our laboratory over the last ten years have defined these neuroadaptations as comprising a persistent and sensitized anxiety-related and negative affective state comprising tonic and phasic autonomic arousal and robust HPA axis dysregulation. Changes to regulatory neural and cognitive mechanisms have also been observed. Selective data defining these neuroadaptations in early abstinent alcohol dependent and cocaine dependent individuals will be presented, including an assessment of the utility of these stress system changes in terms of predicting craving and relapse, and thus markers of treatment development. Some of our recent recent data examining the efficacy of the alpha 2 agonist, Gaunfacine on these stress system adaptations will also be presented.