Memories of addiction

Many factors seem to be involved in the development of an addiction as well as its continuation. Addictions, in a sense, might involve some of the same processes, notably synaptic plasticity, that are considered to underlie memory processes. In this Nature Video we hear a bit about how individual’s brain can learn to forget, which can be useful in the treatment of fear and addiction-related disorders.

Neuroscience - Addiction and the brain

This is another of my favourites. There are several stages associated with the addiction process. Here we see some of these mechanisms, beautifully illustrated and described. It is an excellent video that tells you how complex the addiction process can be. This Video was made at Carleton University by Dr. Kim Hellemans.

Why do our brains get addicted?

Wow. This absolutely tremendous presentation by Nora Volkow, head of NIDA, demonstrates the multistep process related to addiction. She shows that the brain of people addicted to drugs, or obese people addicted to food, exhibit similar changes in brain processes involving dopamine functioning. She also speaks about the involvement of dopamine in triggering the desire for drugs (or chocolate) and why we cannot resist temptation. During the development of addiction, a person’s brain seems to be rewired, essentially hijacked, so that self-control is lost. She is passionate and smart and sees the big picture. Anybody interested in addiction processes ought to check out her extensive research.

From genes to addiction: How risk unfolds across the lifespan

Dr. Danielle Dick | TEDxRVA

A large number of people develop addictions. There are many reasons for this, but we need to consider than many people are able to resist the temptations. Do genes play some role in this regard? In this presentation Danielle Dick explains how genes and experiences during adolescence can move people to substance use disorders. Furthermore, it is possible to predict who has a penchant towards developing a substance use issue. Yet, she makes the point that genes do not define the individual. In the end environment dictates how genes will express themselves.

Addiction: It’s all in your head

This video from SciShow provides an overview of how different drugs have their actions and how neurotransmitter variations contribute to addiction. Particular attention is given to dopamine, and there is discussion of other transmitters, such as GABA and glutamate. In addition to dealing with drug addictions, this video also covers behavioural addictions, such as gambling.

Alcohol: central and peripheral actions

How does alcohol affect the brain to produce the effects that it does. These two videos focus on two neurotransmitters, GABA and glutamate, and does a great job in doing this. There are, of course, other factors within the brain that play an important role in producing alcohol’s effects. The second video deals more with peripheral effects of alcohol and even discusses hangovers.

Both are productions of AsapScience

Crack cocaine

Some readers will already know either a bit or a lot about crack cocaine, but probably not much about what it does to neuronal activity within the brain. This whiteboard presentation (AsapScience) describes the effects of cocaine on dopamine, and also details some of the negative effects that can arise.

Can weed be addictive?

This brief Dnews clip asks whether marijuana can in some way be addictive. It also raises the question of marijuana links to mental issues other than addiction.

Tackling the truth of gambling addiction

John Oliver, the brilliant political satirist, has a wonderfully entertaining piece that will tell you much that you should know about the gaming industry. Enjoy this video, but also take it seriously.

Opioid epidemic: the medical industry created a public health crisis

Chris Johnson, MD | TEDxEdina

How did the opioid addiction epidemic develop, or alternatively what exacerbated it? In this very informative TED talk, Chris Johnson will convince you that the drug industry was more than a little guilty. They did through all sorts of sneaky ways.