Addiction changes the brain in lasting ways, and some brains are more vulnerable than others.
“Brain research can help inform policy on how to help the 2 million Americans who are currently addicted to prescription opioids, as well as the 1 million addicted to heroin. Neuroscience “definitely has things to offer helping us understand the reality of the addicted brain,” said Keith Humphreys, a professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at Stanford University. He and several colleagues urged a greater role for neuroscience in shaping policy in a commentary that ran last month in the journal Science.
Neuroscience research has shown, for example, that addictive drugs can alter the brain circuitry that controls motivation and reward, and they can wreak havoc on the brain’s decision-making center, the prefrontal cortex.
Other treatment programs require people to prove they’re motivated by abstaining for some period of weeks, he said, but it’s the motivational circuitry that’s damaged in the brains of addicts. “It’s not that it’s hopeless,” he said, but treatment might save more lives if designed for dealing with addiction as a long-term brain disease.”
Source: Bloomberg.com – July 21, 2017