Why people develop a drug of choice

This is the last installment of a five part series on the neurobiology of addiction by Jennifer Fernández, PhD. Follow along on Power Over Addiction or Facebook. Drug of choice can say a lot about a person or what they’re coping with. People choose drugs that will best help them cope with underlying problems. Sometimes Read more about Why people develop a drug of choice[…]

Neurotransmitters and Addiction

This is the fourth installment of a five part series on the neurobiology of addiction by Jennifer Fernández, PhD. Follow along on Power Over Addiction or Facebook. In the previous installment of this series, we learned that dopamine is responsible for feelings of pleasure and euphoria, but it has other functions as well. And dopamine Read more about Neurotransmitters and Addiction[…]

This is your brain on drugs. For real.

This is the third installment of a five part series on the neurobiology of addiction by Jennifer Fernández, PhD. Follow along on Power Over Addiction or Facebook. Addiction is scary. It has caused pain in many people’s lives and has cost families and governments trillions of dollars to treat and prevent. It’s no surprise that Read more about This is your brain on drugs. For real.[…]

The Neurobiology of Addiction

This is the first installment of a five part series on the neurobiology of addiction by Jennifer Fernández, PhD. Follow along on Power Over Addiction or Facebook. Addiction is a biopsychosocial phenomenon that affects over 20 million people in the United States. The factors that cause addiction are not yet well understood, with some arguing Read more about The Neurobiology of Addiction[…]

Zap away cocaine addiction with lasers! or magnets!

Researchers at the National Institute of Health and UCSF claim to have stopped and started cocaine addiction in rats with the use of laser stimulation to the prefrontal cortex, the brain region where decision making and impulse control take place. “When we turn on a laser light in the prelimbic region of the prefrontal cortex, the Read more about Zap away cocaine addiction with lasers! or magnets![…]

Researchers stop stress-related relapse in rats

We all deal with stress and have to learn methods to reduce and manage the stressors that life throws at us. But for someone with an addiction, day to day stressors can have a disastrous impact. Stress can trigger relapse, especially early in the recovery phase of addiction when new coping skills are being introduced and a Read more about Researchers stop stress-related relapse in rats[…]

Is internet addiction real?

If internet use interferes with one’s life and ability to function, internet addiction or compulsive internet use may be a concern. Although there is debate in the academic world about the authenticity of internet addiction there is no dispute that, for some people, excessive internet use can cause distress, strife, and disruption in their ability Read more about Is internet addiction real?[…]

Put this in your shot glass and inhale it!

 Watch out, America! The Vaportini is coming to a store near you. That’s right, why drink alcohol when you can INHALE it? All jokes aside, this method of consuming alcohol can be extremely dangerous. Apparently researchers create alcohol addiction in rats by exposing them to the vapor (they don’t like the taste of alcohol). Not Read more about Put this in your shot glass and inhale it![…]

Circumcision of the brain?

Physicians in China performed brain surgeries to treat opiate addiction by destroying the nucleus accumbens, the pleasure center of the brain. The procedure is called stereotactic ablation of the nucleus accumbens, which means brain tissue is burned away. Although the procedure was banned in 2004, surgeries continued in the name of research. The hope was Read more about Circumcision of the brain?[…]

Drug Tolerance Explained

Our brain thrives on novelty and dopamine helps us store information about novel situations.  We know that dopamine is released when we receive a reward, but it is also involved in noting unexpected rewards. If you get more juice than you anticipated, your brain releases dopamine and sends it to the anterior cingulate in your frontal cortex, Read more about Drug Tolerance Explained[…]