The Effect of Environmental Enrichment on the Withdrawal of Opioid Dependent Rats



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Opioid use disorder (OUD) is understood to be a chronic relapsing disorder that, even though successful recovery is possible with appropriate treatment, engages and affects the function in brain reward pathways in the central nervous system (CNS), potentially leading to higher rates of relapse (Blanco & Volkow, 2020). Continual consumption of opioids can potentially lead to the development of dependence and/or tolerance of the drug. Patients that develop a dependence on the drug often have a difficult time weaning off it due to the discomfort of withdrawal. The current study assessed if an enriched environment (EE) mediated the withdrawal symptoms within an opioid-dependent rat. Previous research has demonstrated the beneficial effects EE has on withdrawal and drug-seeking behavior (Glaj, Barrera, & Ranaldi, 2019). If EE does mediate withdrawals, this can provide better treatment interventions for those seeking help.