Drugs,Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction
The brains is made up of many parts that all work together as a team.The brain is a communication center consisting of billions neurons or nerve cells. Networks of neurons pass messages back forth among different structures within the brain, the spinal cord and nerves in the rest of the body(the peripheral nervous system). These nerve networks coordinate and regulate everything we feel, think and do.
Drugs are chemicals that affect the brain by tapping into its communication system and interfering with the way neurons normally send, receive, and process information.Most drugs of abuse directly or indirectly target the brain’s reward system by flooding the circuit with dopamine. Our brains are wired to ensure that we will repeat life-sustaining activities by associating those activities with pleasure or reward.When some drugs of abuse are taken, they can release 2 to 10 times the amount of dopamine that natural rewards such as eating and sex do.For the brain the difference between normal rewards and drug rewards can be described as the difference between someone whispering into your ear and someone shouting into a microphone. The brain adjusts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine by producing less and by reducing the number of receptors that can receive signals.Chronic exposure to drugs disrupts the way critical brain structures interact to control and inhibit behaviors related to drug use. Drug addiction erodes a person's self control and ability to make sound decisions while producing intense impulse to take drugs.