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

Brian M. Sweis, A. David Redish, Mark J. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


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
Article number2521
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


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