A new study using animals shows that they experience a mental decline when they go through cold turkey withdrawal. If substance abuse treatment is received then this mental decline is not experienced. The study was performed by Georgetown University Medical Center, using animals that were addicted to the powerful painkiller morphine. What the study shows is that cold turkey withdrawal can be harmful, and those with drug abuse issues need to receive comprehensive substance abuse treatment in order to manage their withdrawal and benefit from better mental health. According to neuroscience professor Italo Mocchetti, Ph.D “Over time, drug-abusing individuals often develop mental disorders. It’s been thought that drug abuse itself contributes to mental decline, but our findings suggest that quitting cold turkey can also lead to damage. Interestingly, we found that treating the addicted animals with morphine both increased the protective CCL5 protein while decreasing pro-inflammatory cytokines, suggesting a beneficial effect.”
The study showed that animals which were not treated for the addiction saw the opposite in the results, with a higher level of cytokines that are damaging and lower CCL5 levels. Mocchetti went on to state “From these findings, it appears that morphine withdrawal may be a causative factor that leads to mental decline, presenting an important avenue for research in how we can better help people who are trying to quit using drugs.” The study was published in the scientific journal Brain, Behavior and Immunity. The results show just how important substance abuse treatment can be, and how a cold turkey withdrawal is not the best method to use for drug abuse.