Prolonged abstinence from cocaine or morphine disrupts separable valuations during decision conflict

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Neuroeconomic theories propose changes in decision making drive relapse in recovering drug addicts, resulting in continued drug use despite stated wishes not to. Such conflict is thought to arise from multiple valuation systems dependent on separable neural components, yet many neurobiology of addiction studies employ only simple tests of value. Here, we tested in mice how prolonged abstinence from different drugs affects behavior in a neuroeconomic foraging task that reveals multiple tests of value. Abstinence from repeated cocaine and morphine disrupts separable decision-making processes. Cocaine alters deliberation-like behavior prior to choosing a preferred though economically unfavorable offer, while morphine disrupts re-evaluations after rapid initial decisions. These findings suggest that different drugs have long-lasting effects precipitating distinct decision-making vulnerabilities. Our approach can guide future refinement of decision-making behavioral paradigms and highlights how grossly similar behavioral maladaptations may mask multiple underlying, parallel, and dissociable processes that treatments for addiction could potentially target.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number2521
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 1 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank members of the Thomas and Redish labs for technical assistance. This research was supported by R01 DA019666, R01 DA030672, R01 MH080318, MnDRIVE Neu-romodulation Research Fellowships, the Breyer-Longden Family Research Foundation, MSTP NIGMS 5T32GM008244-25, GPN NIGMS 5T32GM008471-22, and F30 DA043326 NRSA.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 The Author(s).


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