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Addiction Science: From Molecules to Managed Care

Addiction changes brain circuitry, making it hard to "apply the brakes" to detrimental behaviors.

Why can't addicts just quit?

In the non-addicted brain, control mechanisms constantly assess the value of stimuli and the appropriateness of the planned response. Inhibitory control is then applied as needed. In the addicted brain, this control circuit becomes impaired because of drug use and loses much of its inhibitory power over the circuits that drive responses to stimuli deemed salient.

This page was last updated July 2008