Tag: Brain

  • Brain and relaxation drinks – the new fad

    You’ve seen them advertised an on store shelves – drinks with names like Neuro, IDrink, and Dreamwater promise that their combinations of hormones, neurotransmitters, and related amino-acids will keep you relaxed, focused, happy, and improve your sex life. We’ve seen these sorts of promises before from unregulated dietary supplements. The problem is that, since these […]

  • Addiction research – Who are we studying?

    I teach a class on the psychology of addiction (Psych 477 at California State University in Long Beach) and as I have been preparing the lectures something has become very clear to me – textbooks patently gloss over important details about the addiction research they cite. One of the most obvious gaps I’ve noticed this […]

  • Loss, but not absence, of control – How choice and addiction are related

    In a recent post the notion that “loss of control” is an addiction myth was raised by our contributing author, Christopher Russell, a thoughtful graduate student studying substance abuse in the U.K. Though I obviously personally believe in control- and choice-relevant neurological mechanisms playing a part in addiction, this conversation is a common one both […]

  • Where is catastrophe in my brain?

    People argue constantly about the role of specific brain changes in affecting human behavior. As you probably know if you’re a frequent A3 reader, I’m a big believer in the notion that just like every other physical aspect of our “selves,” biological changes in our brain function brought about by genetics, experience, or other influences […]

  • Men and women are not the same: Sex differences in addiction research

    You may not have realized it, but men and women are different. Really. Though the statement may seem like the most unnecessary, obvious, expression since the dawn of time, it’s surprising how rarely the importance of these differences comes up when we talk about addiction. Still, there’s little doubt that if our hormones, brain development, […]

  • Biology, environment, or psychology? Which is most important in addiction?

    I get asked this question a lot, both by people who are fully committed to the biological (or brain) model of addiction and ones who thinks it’s crap and that it’s all about psychology, experience, and motivation. The thing is that it is absolutely impossible to separate the influence of the brain, environment, and psychology […]

  • Teen learning exaggerates rewards – Bad decisions and brain development

    Teens tend to make some seriously stupid decision (including teen drinking and driving), at least when compared to younger kids and older adults. We’ve all heard that brain development during that part of life plays a role in this but the question is: What exactly about brain development makes teens more risky? There are a […]

  • Is marijuana addictive? You can bet your heroin on that!

    “Is marijuana addictive?” seems to be the ultimate question for many people. In fact, when discussing addiction, it is rare that the addiction potential for marijuana doesn’t come up. Some basic points about marijuana: The active ingredient in marijuana, THC, binds to cannabinoid receptors in the brain (CB1 and CB2). Since it is a partial […]

  • Gambling on marijuana use makes for bad decisions

    I just can’t seem to stay away from the marijuana debate, even given the recent defeat of Proposition 19 that aimed to legalize marijuana in California. This article is a short one, but speaks to some of the cognitive issues associated with marijuana use. A study (see here) conducted by a Wake Forest University team […]

  • Why the addiction-brain connection has to be part of the addiction treatment picture

    Dr. Dodes recent article, apparently trying to blow up the myth of addiction as a neurophysiological disorder, sounded persuasive, although its underpinning was oversimplified and it’s understanding of the brain-science involved in addiction, and other associated mental health disorders, was lacking. Hopefully, by presenting a more complete picture of the evidence for a brain-aspect to […]