Are You Prone To Addiction?

One of the major themes of this year’s APA was the neurobiological basis of addictions. 

First it was schizophrenia, then manic and depressive disorders, then the anxiety disorders, then attention deficit disorders – These all became much better understood not just as abnormal behavior or feelings but as complex medical disorders with genetics and physiology. 

Science of mind is making possible much more effective treatments – not to replace psychological and social dimensions but to enhance them. 

Most recently, advances in understanding the science of addiction is beginning to help us treat these disorders more effectively.  How many D2 receptors were you born with?  It makes a difference. (see pictures of addiction)

One of the personalities that stood out at this years APA was Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute of Mental Health Division for Addictions.  Dr. Volkow is a wiry, hyper, opinionated woman with a strong Germanic accent which seems to add force to her dynamic personality.  Her favorite thing to say is, "I like to be provocative."  She occasionally apologizes for dominating the stage and microphone but is not able to stay silent very long. 

One of her lectures was titled "Addictions and Free Will."  Free will is one of the things between stimulus and response.  Is this response a good idea?  What happened last time?  What are the possible consequences, options…etc.?

Unfortunately, the addictive brain may not access these thoughts.  Control is reduced or absent.  Fortunately we’re starting to understand why, and we’re starting to find treatments that give addicts new controls and options.

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