Why Glia Plays an Important Role in Addiction Recovery

Why Glia Plays an Important Role in Addiction Recovery

Our bodies are amazing things that do more than we realize. When we think about what is on the cutting edge of addiction recovery, it is likely something that will help treat substance abuse with the drop of a hat. The challenge is people who are addicted do not have the luxury of a one-size-fits-all approach. The immune system is key in healing from addiction. Learn more about how the immune system plays an important role in addiction recovery.


The immune system is in constant communication with the brain about where things are at in the body. The key to healing for many things now is microbes and the microbiome. When that is doing well, it seems other things are doing well, also. The body, as a result, functions towards dealing with health threats from the gut and the brain exerts a lot of energy in things other than outer stimuli. The glia is part of this process.


The brain communicates within itself with chemical transactions via neurotransmitters. There are 10 immune cells for every neuron in the brain. These immune cells are called glia. They’re responsible for translating messages advising the brain of illness and danger from the immune system. The role of glia has to do with dopamine released in the brain. Research shows glial cells also interpret messages from invading substances. Studies with rats have shown how stimulating strategically located immune cells can produce an increased desire for alcohol and drugs.

Treatment with Immune Cells

The National Institute on Drug Addiction is funding studies to look at treatment for addiction to meth and opioids which target immune cells. Results are positive. This is more exciting since recovery is tough. Capitalizing on the way the brain communicates could produce exciting new forms of treatment. When working with the immune system, it is essential to think about how the overall picture of the immune system looks when it comes to treatment. Glia are not the only cells in the body. There are other things which impact overall health and healing from addiction. Glia are just one part of the bigger picture in targeting treatment for addiction that starts with the brain and focuses on healing the rest of the body.

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