Medically Reviewed by Jennifer Casarella, MD on October 19, 2022
Skin Grafts

Skin Grafts


This new method uses genetically engineered (lab-made) skin grafts to treat your substance use disorder. These skin grafts take some of your skin cells and change them in a lab so they make molecules that that lower your body’s need to use alcohol. This treatment can have long-lasting benefits. And even better, you’d only need to get the treatment once. Developers hope the treatment will be approved for clinical trials soon. 




In one small study, just two doses of psilocybin, or “magic mushrooms,” reduced heavy drinking if used alongside psychotherapy. Eight months after their first dose, about half of people in the study stopped drinking completely. We need more and larger studies, but research shows that this treatment could also help with tobacco, cocaine, and opioid abuse. Treatment with other similar drugs, such as LSD, may also help in the same way. 

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)

Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS)


While there aren’t many studies yet, early research shows that a “pacemaker” implant in your brain may help with addiction. In a clinical trial, doctors placed a device called a Medtronic DBS on the addiction and reward structures of the brain. Tiny electrodes regulate these areas and aim to correct addiction behaviors.

Methyllycaconitine (MLA)

Methyllycaconitine (MLA)


This substance is an alkaloid that comes from the larkspur plant. Experts have studied it for its effects on the reward centers of the brain. They’ve found that it may lower the effects of nicotine without setting off withdrawal symptoms. It may also work the same way on cocaine and other addictive drugs. But they need more data to confirm if this can be a useful treatment for addiction.

Contingency Management Therapy

Contingency Management Therapy


Contingency management therapy is a form of therapy that rewards you if you make healthy changes in your habits. For example, with this method, you may get money each time you pass a drug test. There’s a lot of data that suggests this type of therapy helps people stay in treatment and reduces drug use, especially for people with psychotic disorders. 

Personalized Treatments

Personalized Treatments


Research shows that addiction is a complex disorder in which many processes work together. Because of this, it’s impossible to successfully treat each case the same way. Personalized treatment looks at each person’s needs and how they relate to their addiction. To end your substance misuse, this method considers how you can improve your career, relationships, housing situation, and other things in your environment.  

Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)

Medication-Assisted Therapy (MAT)


In the past, experts believed that it was best to not use any medications to treat an opioid addiction. But MAT uses certain drugs alongside counseling and behavioral therapies. This method can help treat opioid use disorders and lead you to recovery. The FDA has approved three drugs for this treatment method: buprenorphine (Buprenex), methadone (Methadose, Dolophine), and naltrexone (Revia).




Addiction is based in mindlessness, or automatic responses from your brain. Recently, experts have looked at how mindfulness, or a mental state of focus and awareness, can help in addiction recovery.  Researchers have found that techniques like meditation can help fight cravings and substance misuse. But mindfulness offers the opposite reaction. If you practice it, you may be able to overcome automatic, addictive urges. 

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Frontiers in Psychology: “Mindfulness training targets neurocognitive mechanisms of addiction at the attention-appraisal-emotion interface,” “Therapeutic Use of LSD in Psychiatry: A Systematic Review of Randomized-Controlled Clinical Trials.”

Addiction Science and Clinical Practice: “Mindfulness-based treatment of addiction: current state of the field and envisioning the next wave of research.”

FDA: “Information about Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT).”

The American Journal of Psychiatry: “Personalizing the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders.”

The Psychiatrist: “Contingency management: what it is and why psychiatrists should want to use it.”

Neuropharmacology: “Methyllycaconitine (MLA) blocks the nicotine evoked anxiogenic effect and 5-HT release in the dorsal hippocampus: possible role of alpha7 receptors.”

WVU Medicine: “WVU Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute first in U.S. to use deep brain stimulation to fight opioid addiction.”

NYU Langone Health: “Psychedelic Drug Therapy May Help Treat Alcohol Addiction.”

Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care: “DACC basic scientist Dr. Ming Xu launches start-up company to treat addiction.”

Current Drug Abuse Reviews: “Can MDMA Play a Role in the Treatment of Substance Abuse?”

Psychopharmacology: “Effects of methyllycaconitine (MLA), an α7 nicotinic receptor antagonist, on nicotine- and cocaine-induced potentiation of brain stimulation reward.”