SAN CLEMENTE, Calif., Dec. 2, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Sovereign Health, a leading national licensed provider of behavioral health treatment services, announces a new Los Angeles Times editorial from Chief Scientific Officer, Veena Kumari, Ph.D. The article, "Addiction is a brain disease. Here's how to treat it.," explores the ways that drug use changes brain chemistry, structure and function. Dr. Kumari, an internationally renowned authority on cognitive neuroscience, has published extensively in peer-reviewed journals on measures including neuropsychology, structural and functional neuroimaging and genetics.
As noted in the editorial, an addicted person uses drugs despite consequences, including illness, shattered families and financial destruction. But with an understanding of how drug use changes brain chemistry, loved ones will be less baffled by these damaging behaviors. "There are chemical, structural and functional differences in the brains of healthy people and those with drug and alcohol addiction. Cognitive functions like inhibition, attention, learning, memory and motivation can be harmed by substance abuse," said Dr. Kumari.
Continued drug use causes lower production of dopamine in the brain and a reduced number of dopamine receptors. The addicted person gets less pleasure from consuming the drug, so higher quantities are needed to achieve the previous high. "The memory of this desired effect and its association with the drug is a conditioned response that underpins the addicted person's continued, compulsive drug-seeking behavior," said Dr. Kumari. "It also explains why some people in recovery remain at risk of relapse even after years of abstinence."
Dr. Kumari says a combination of medication, behavioral therapy and cognitive exercises helps retrain the brain to counteract addictive tendencies and establish healthy patterns of reward and motivation.
Dr. Kumari applies scientific and technical advances to improve behavioral health treatment for Sovereign's patients. She is a leader in the psychiatric and neuroscience research fields. She obtained her Ph.D. in Psychology from Banaras Hindu University, India, in 1993 before moving to the Institute of Psychiatry in London, U.K., to continue her research. Dr. Kumari has made significant contributions to the fields of neuroscience of personality and sex differences; cognitive psychopharmacology; information processing deficits in schizophrenia and their pharmacological normalization; neurobiology of cognitive behavioral therapy for psychosis; and neurobiology of violence in schizophrenia and antisocial personality disorder. She has over 250 publications in reputable psychology, psychiatry and neuroscience journals, with a current H index of 60 and over 11,000 cumulative citations.
About Sovereign Health
One factor that differentiates Sovereign from other treatment providers has been its ability to offer separate mental health and addiction or dual diagnosis treatment programs at its facilities. Patients seek its services to receive treatment for mental health issues, including trauma, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Sovereign also offers treatment for cognitive deficits and eating disorders. For more information, visit www.sovhealth.com.
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SOURCE Sovereign Health