Light­ing Up the Crav­ing-re­ward Path­way

Runner's World (UK) - - Addiction -

One way in which drugs af­fect the brain is by flood­ing it with the eu­pho­ria-in­duc­ing chem­i­cal dopamine. Over time, the more drugs that are used, the less dopamine is pro­duced nat­u­rally – so users need more drugs to achieve the same state of eu­pho­ria. When an ad­dict ab­stains, lev­els of glu­ta­mate, the ex­ci­ta­tory neu­ro­trans­mit­ter re­spon­si­ble for mem­ory and learn­ing, start to rise, caus­ing ex­tra anx­i­ety and am­pli­fy­ing crav­ing in the user. The diagram here de­picts the ap­prox­i­mate re­gions in the brain where th­ese pro­cesses take place.

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