By Staff Reports
(DGIwire) – In 2013, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) published the latest version of its standard reference—the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). In doing so, the APA replaced the categories of substance abuse and substance dependence with a single category: substance use disorder. Here are six of the most common substance abuse disorders in the U.S.:
“The sheer variety of substance use disorders might lead some to believe they have completely different underlying causes,” says Roger Crystal, MD, Chief Executive Officer of Opiant Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a specialty pharmaceutical company. “In fact, the overstimulation of the brain’s reward system is a common element in these disorders.”
Opiant is studying the use of opioid antagonists in various delivery forms, in particular using nasal sprays, for the treatment of substance abuse disorders, eating disorders and addictive disorders. The company has planned a series of clinical studies to begin in late 2016 and going forward. The company has already developed NARCAN® Nasal Spray, which is being marketed by its partner and licensee, Adapt Pharma.
The brain’s reward circuitry is thought to be what regulates the occurrence of these disorders. Increased levels of certain chemicals called neurotransmitters—such as opioids, endorphins and dopamine—activate the brain’s reward circuitry. However, it has been shown that opioid antagonists can block the effects of these chemicals and make these types of behaviors less tempting to those who would otherwise obsessively engage in them.
“The ability to administer a rapidly effective treatment could disrupt the activation of reward circuitry and perhaps ultimately lead to a reduction in engaging in various types of addictive behaviors,” adds Crystal.