Your Brain On Drugs
- 1/10 of Americans are addicted to alcohol or other drugs.
- 2/3 of people with addiction abuse alcohol.
How the brain registers pleasure
- #1 Dopamine is released in the nucleus accumbens (the brain's pleasure center).
- #2 The hippocampus provokes memories of the rapid sense of satisfaction.
- #3 The amygdala creates a conditioned response to certain stimuli.
- #4 The reward circuit in the brain includes areas involved with motivation and memory as well as with pleasure.
The addicted brain
- Addictive drug provide a shortcut to the brain's reward system by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine, overloading it.
- Once overloaded, the brain responds by eliminating dopamine receptors, thus a drug has less impact on the brain's reward center. This is called tolerance: users need more to reach the same high.
- The rate of addiction has a direct relationship to the speed, intensity and reliability with which a drug releases dopamine.
- Addictive drugs release 2-10x the amount of dopamine that natural rewards do, and they do it more quickly and more reliably. Dopamine levels (scale: 1-5): 1) Food -1; 2) Sex -2; 3) Cocaine - 4; 4) Meth - 5.
When consumption takes over
- The memory of a drug causes to recreate the effect. Learned addiction: the brain forms connections between environmental cues and the desired substance. Conditioned learning: even after years of abstinence, an addict risks
relapse due to the lasting memory formed in their addicted brain.
Developed by NowSourcing | Bestrehabcounselingdegrees.com | Sources: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415124710.htm; http://www.helpguide.org/addiction_hijacks_brain.htm; http://www.health.harvard.edu/
newsweek/The_addicted_brain.htm; http://www.drneurosci.com/currentissuestheaddictedbrainpdf; http://www.slideshare.net/jschwartz/the-psysiology-of-addiction-february-2012; http://www.methinsideout.com/assets/MIO_