What Is Addiction?

The whole business of smoking is like forcing yourself to wear tight shoes just to get the pleasure of taking them off.

- Allen Carr

Podcast of the Day

What happens when the biochemistry of the brain’s pleasure and reward system goes wrong? How can something that starts off being pleasurable end up making us feel so low? Mike Williams talks to scientists and former addicts to search for some answers to the power of addiction.

Listen to The Why Factor episode: Addiction: Why Do Some People Succumb to It?

Video of the Day

Short Article of the Day

Why do they do it? This is a question that friends and families often ask of those who are addicted.

It’s difficult to explain how drug addiction develops over time. To many, it looks like the constant search for pleasure. But the pleasure derived from opioids like heroin or stimulants like cocaine declines with repeated use. What’s more, some addictive drugs, like nicotine, fail to produce any noticeable euphoria in regular users.

So what does explain the persistence of addiction? As an addiction researcher for the past 15 years, I look to the brain to understand how recreational use becomes compulsive, prompting people like you and me to make bad choices...

Continue reading Mike Robinson's article: The real reason some people become addicted to drugs

Further Reading

Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. Despite the involvement of a number of psychosocial factors, a biological process – one which is induced by repeated exposure to an addictive stimulus – is the core pathology that drives the development and maintenance of an addiction. The two properties that characterize all addictive stimuli are that they are reinforcing (i.e., they increase the likelihood that a person will seek repeated exposure to them) and intrinsically rewarding (i.e., they are perceived as being inherently positive, desirable, and pleasurable)...

Continue reading the Wikipedia article on Addiction

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