Rutgers researchers think they have identified a biological process for drug and alcohol addiction and believe existing insomnia treatments could be used to reduce or eliminate cravings. A review in the December 2022 issue of Biological Psychiatry and previously published online explains how ongoing work at the Rutgers Brain Health Institute and elsewhere demonstrates that the brain’s orexin system – which regulates sleep/wake states, reward systems and mood ­– motivates drug-seeking behavior. They report that many drugs of abuse increase orexin production in both animal and human brains and that blocking this system reverses addiction in animals. Another study has even demonstrated that one of the three orexin-blocking sleep aids approved for insomnia treatment reduces opioid cravings in human subjects. To read the full story.