Addiction affects tens of millions of people across the planet. But where does it come from? This animated video breaks down how the brain’s dopamine-based reward system works and how different drugs hijack this system.
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Addiction comes in many forms – trapping millions across the globe in a vicious cycle of desire, bingeing, and withdrawal. With the latest research on how the brain works, scientists are challenging the notion that addiction represents some kind of moral failing. They’re focusing instead on developing new methods of treatment.

To understand addiction, it’s helpful to begin with the brain’s elaborate reward system, built around a chemical called dopamine. When we do something that helps us survive, like eating, socializing, or procreating, the brain rewards us with a blast of dopamine across our cerebral circuitry, which we experience as pleasure.

Drugs override the natural flow of dopamine and, in the process, “hijack” our reward system. Find out how addiction comes about, and explore the latest innovations for its treatment, in this animated video.

For more, read the full article in the September 2017 issue of National Geographic Magazine: http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/09/science-of-addiction/

The Science of Addiction: Here’s Your Brain on Drugs | National Geographic

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The Science of Addiction: Here’s Your Brain on Drugs | National Geographic

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