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Exercise as treatment for substance abuse

Hulsbergen, Myrthe H.A. (2021) Exercise as treatment for substance abuse. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

Bachelor Thesis - Myrthe Hulsbergen - S3742504.pdf

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Addiction has negative consequences on a person's life. Addiction develops in stages. Reward is important in the reinforcement of addiction but a switch in neuronal pathways results in craving. In treatment it is important to prevent craving by removing cues from the environment and behavioural therapy is used to decrease associations between drug use and habits. A more healthy behaviour that increases hedonic feelings can be a possible substitute for the drug-taking reward. Physical activity is a healthy behaviour with positive effects on body and mind states. If exercise works to reduce substance intake and prevents relapse, it would be a proper treatment method against addiction and exercise is easily accessible and cost-effective. Exercise affects the same dopaminergic pathways as are affected in addiction and it is shown in both animal and human studies that increased physical activity is related with reduced substance use. Exercise causes alternative feelings of reward and reduces withdrawal symptoms. This indicates exercise works as a proper treatment against addiction. However, forced exercise showed increased substance intake. Addicted patients starting with exercise as treatment have a higher chance to develop exercise addiction, which is accompanied with negative side effects. Exercise can have positive effects during the recovery period of addicts, but more research on this topic is needed to define correct application of exercise as treatment.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Supervisor name: Scheurink, A.W. and Dijk, G. van
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 09 Aug 2021 08:57
Last Modified: 09 Aug 2021 08:57

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