False Messengers: How Addictive Drugs Change the Brain

False Messengers: How Addictive Drugs Change the Brain

False Messengers: How Addictive Drugs Change the Brain

False Messengers: How Addictive Drugs Change the Brain

Synopsis

Dr. David P. Friedman is director of the Center for the Integration of Substance Abuse Research at the Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Excerpt

Listen to how some people describe what drug addiction is doing to someone they love:

My boyfriend is a cocaine addict. He is trying to quit, but every time he gives it up for a while, a temptation hits and he does it again. It is killing me not to be able to do anything. I don't want anything bad to happen to him.

My 40-year-old son has been addicted to heroin since he was 15. He has tried everything-cold turkey, Narcotics Anonymous, many treatment centers, prayer, methadone, and on and on. I feel as if I am watching him die.

We recently found out that our 16-year-old daughter has been on marijuana for about a year. She was always a good student, but now her grades are dropping. She has been a loving girl, very involved with her family. Now she doesn't come home at night until very late. Sometimes she doesn't come home at all, and we are terrified something has happened to her. She rarely does what we ask her to do anymore.

I am a 40-year-old nurse with a 63-year-old mother who is an alcoholic. She was hospitalized with short-term memory loss last week, after taking a tranquilizer, drinking two beers before work and eating no breakfast. Today, I left my job 2 hours early and drove 25 miles to get to her, because she couldn't remember her name or even what day it was. She resented my coming and lied to the doctor about her alcohol use, which begins every day before work. My father died from alcoholism. My two brothers are “weekend alcoholics” who play Mother's games. I do not drink and feel totally alienated from my family. I want to fire my mother from my life forever. I don't want to care any more.

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