Drug addiction is all centered around neurology, that is, the functioning of the brain. Understanding how the brain is effected by drug use and the cerebral underpinnings of addiction is pivotal in the advent of a efficacious curriculum to combat drug use and subsequent dependence.
The following short videos introduce the majora topics of the neurobiology involved in drug addiction. They introduce and briefly discuss essential components of central neurological functioning. Various paramount subjects are discussed such as dopamine, and how the reward system is altered by drugs.
Neurobiology of Addiction
Pleasure is a biological phenomenon that is geared towards reinforcement of desirable behavior and activities. There are various components of this mechanism, which are also involved in addiction. Collectively, this mechanism is called the Reward System, and is the groundwork for understanding addiction.
2-Minute Neuroscience: Reward System
The Reward System is built on dopamine. When pleasure is experienced, dopamine is released along specific neural pathways. This video introduces the various elements of the Reward System. More specifically, it surveys the dopamine pathways prevalent in the Reward System, and correlates drug use with the pleasure tenet.
Susan’s brain: The science of addiction
Susan endures a broken bone during a biking incident. Her arm later heals, but she experiences pain, so she is prescribed an opioid painkiller. It helps alleviate the pain, and helps her cope. She gradually builds tolerance to the medicine, and her central nervous system falls out of balance. This video illustrates how biochemistry is involved in adaptation in traumatic events, and how synthetic substances can alter the natural functioning of the nervous auxiliary. Such remedial applications can be paralleled to drug use since drugs can inhibit pain and opioids can induce euphoria. It is no coincidence that medicine are also referred to as drugs.
The Teenage Brain and Addiction
A very powerful weapon to have in the arsenal of the anti-drug war, especially with the Drug Free Generation, is an firm understanding of development, specifically brain development. A teenager is vulnerable to the exposure to controlled substances, and is poorly equipped to oppose the onslaught. Studies suggest that teenagers are more susceptible to addiction, and such addictions are more profound. This is because their brains are still developing. This video associates drug addiction with learning. Since teenagers are unaware, drug addiction is very much the acclimation of their behavior to societal norms.
2-Minute Neuroscience: Opioids
Opioids can be found naturally in opium poppy, and can be completely synthetic. They are used in the fabrication of pain relieving drugs because the can inhibit the transmission of pain, and more. The inhibition process helps illustrate how drugs can have similar effects, and how tolerance can increase, thus resulting in addiction.
Can The Brain Recover From Addiction
“Once an addict, always an addict.” It is much harder to rehabilitate drug addiction than it is to prevent it at the outset. Although there is ongoing effort to advance the science of neuroplasticity, the institution is still in its infancy. Only limited results have been achieved. Some improvements have accomplished with Cognitive Therapy and abstinence. But often times, relapse occurs. Therefore, it is absolutely critical that Drug Abuse Prevention measures be deployed via curriculum and culture. University is of the utmost importance in any endeavor and must be initiated at a very young age.