Addiction Is One of the Most Powerful Cravings
Psychologists at McGill University and Harvard believe people suffer from addictions because of their cravings and that a craving is an emotional memory that is strong and unforgettable. In recent years, researchers say they have discovered memories, whether negative or positive, can decrease over time. However, once the environment surrounding you reminds you of those memories, it triggers the craving that becomes an addiction, as highlighted in an article in the Vancouver Sun.
Once addicted, the pull to continue with their substance abuse is so strong that addicts have been known to steal from their own family and lose all sense of reason to feed their addiction. Researchers believe that an addiction is rooted in neurochemistry and is not a moral issue.
The two teams of scientists are working with test patients and treating them with propranolol, which seems to have a tremendous effect on memories that are active while propranolol is still in the system. Research shows the drug decreases the intensity of the memory. Scientists say that when powerful memories are remembered, they have to be tucked away or re-condensed within the brain. During the process this happens in a tiny amount of time while the memory is exposed and impressionable. Unhealthy brain habits and patterns can be disrupted with proper timing and propranolol targets memories and deadens them.
Scientists have found that when using this process, PTSD patients reported that the shocking or traumatic memory loses power and shrinks. Although it does not disappear completely, it becomes a vague memory like many others. With addiction and PTSD, the parallels are similar in that the memory has basically entered a confused state and the brain has determined that the cravings are needed.