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NIDA

Addiction Science

Childhood Maltreatment Changes Cortical Network Architecture and May Raise Risk for Substance Use

Young adults who had been maltreated as children differed from others who had not been maltreated in the connectivity of nine cortical regions. The differences could compromise the maltreated group’s basic social perceptual skills, ability to maintain a healthy balance between introversion and extroversion, and ability to self-regulate their emotions and behavior.

THC Hampers Spatial Memory Development in Young Monkeys

Adolescent monkeys that were exposed to THC fell progressively further behind THC-free monkeys in their ability to recall the location of an object after a brief delay.

Prefrontal Cortex Stimulation Stops Compulsive Drug Seeking in Rats

Researchers have shut down laboratory rats’ compulsive cocaine seeking by stimulating an area of the animals’ prefrontal cortex. The finding raises the possibility that stimulating neurons in this brain area may weaken or break cocaine’s grip on the behavior of people who are addicted to the drug.

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction

Provides scientific information about the disease of drug addiction, including the many harmful consequences of drug abuse and the basic approaches that have been developed to prevent and treat the disease.

Published: April 2007
Revised: July 2014

Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction

Many people do not understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. It is often mistakenly assumed that drug abusers lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop using drugs simply by choosing to change their behavior. In reality, drug addiction is a complex disease, and quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs change the brain in ways that foster compulsive drug abuse, quitting is difficult, even for those who are ready to do so.

Gene Transfer Therapy for Cocaine Addiction Passes Tests in Animals

Giving mice a modified version of a naturally occurring gene blocks cocaine’s stimulant effects without affecting the animals’ physiological or metabolic health. The new evidence advances the proposed therapy a step closer to readiness for testing in people.

NIDA-NIAAA Mini-Convention: Frontiers in Addiction Research

Society for Neuroscience satellite meeting explores innovative brain science, including the brain structure-function relationships in human development, developmental consequences of drug and alcohol exposure and the genetic/risk factors of addiction


Narrative of Discovery: Can Magnets Treat Cocaine Addiction?

Two researchers share their reasons for researching transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) for treating cocaine addiction, and describe challenges to moving forward this potentially promising therapy.

Why Take a Drug That No Longer Gives Pleasure?

In mice, a cocaine-induced imbalance in the activity of two key populations of neurons in the reward system persists for a longer period after repeated exposure to the drug. For long-term users, this change could both weaken the cocaine “high” and strengthen the compulsion to seek the drug.

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