Alcohol abuse dramatically affects individuals’ lives nationwide. The 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimated that 10.2% of Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder. Although social support has been shown to aid in general addiction prevention and rehabilitation, the benefits of social support are not entirely understood. The present study sought to compare the benefits of social interaction on the conditioned ethanol approach behavior in rats through a conditioned place preference (CPP) paradigm in which a drug is paired with one of two distinct contexts. In experiment 1A, rats were single-housed and received conditioning trials in which ethanol was paired with the less preferred context. In experiment 1B, rats underwent procedures identical to experiment 1A, but were pair-housed throughout the paradigm. In experiment 1C, rats were single-housed, but concurrently conditioned to a socially-paired context and an ethanol-paired context. By comparing the time spent between the ethanol-paired environment and the saline-paired or socially-paired environment, we extrapolated the extent of ethanol approach behavior in the pair-housed, single-housed, and concurrently conditioned rats. Our results revealed that social interaction, both in pair-housed animals or concurrently socially-conditioned animals, diminished the ethanol approach behavior, which highlights the importance of social support in addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery programs.
Lorenz, E., Moye, C., & Leong, K-C. (2022). Paired housing or a socially-paired context decreases ethanol conditioned place preference in male rats. Brain Sciences, 12(11), Article 1485. http://doi.org/10.3390/brainsci12111485
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