Washington (ISJ) - The bewildered smokers trying to quit now have the answers as to why do they feel high anxiety during withdrawal from nicotine addiction.
Neuroscientists at California-based The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and UMass Medical School (UMMS), Massachusetts have identified a circuitry in the brain which is responsible for the heightened anxiety.
?While increased anxiety is a predominant and troublesome withdrawal symptom for smokers trying to quit?and one that contributes to relapse?until now it has been very difficult to identify a specific neuronal circuit that can be switched off to prevent nicotine withdrawal,? said TSRI Assistant Professor Olivier George.
?Our new study identified this circuit. It?s a game-changer for the development of new compounds to help quit smoking,? George added.
The research is a major find as it has discovered brain mechanisms that induce anxiety when one suffers from withdrawal symptoms. The study can prove beneficial in treating or even preventing the irritating symptom.
Anxiety is a symptom which often thwarts smokers? attempts to quit. The newly discovered sub region can prove to be a distinct advantage in dampening the affective symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
Investigators were able to alleviate anxiety in mice by quieting the activity of those activated neurons, suggesting the same might be possible for humans.
?There are already drugs that block the CRF receptor that contributes to activation of these anxiety-inducing neurons,? Andrew Tapper, associate professor of psychiatry who was senior author of the new study, noted.
?These receptors have previously been linked to anxiety and depression, so our findings may also have implications for anxiety disorders in general,? he added.
The scientists now plan to expand the scope of their understanding of the interactions between anxiety, stress, reward, and withdrawal from addictive substances.