Academic journal article Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education

Impact of Drug and Alcohol Addiction on Brain

Academic journal article Journal of Alcohol & Drug Education

Impact of Drug and Alcohol Addiction on Brain

Article excerpt

Teresi, L., & Haroutunian, H. (2011). Hijacking the brain. How drug and alcohol addiction hijacks our brains. The science behind Twelve-Step recovery. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse. [ISBN 978-1-4634-4483-9; hard cover; 286 pages; $34.95; paperback ISBN 978-1-46344-484-6; $14.95]

The Twelve-Step program is a very commonly used approach in the field of addiction recovery. However, not much is known about the mechanisms by which this program operates. This book is an attempt to explain the linkages between the spiritual approach of the Twelve-Step program and the problem of addiction. Evidence from the fields of neurosciences, neuroimaging, psychology, sociology, and neurobiology has been presented in this book.

The book is organized into two parts with a total of nine chapters. The first part describes how the brain is taken over by addictive drugs and alcohol and has six chapters. The second part describes the recovery process and has three chapters. The book begins with an author's note and an introduction.

The first chapter is about addiction and calls it "an insidious, costly, and deadly brain disease." The chapter discusses the threat of drug and alcohol addiction, the disease model of addiction, and causes of addiction and alcoholism. Particularly the role of genetic predisposition, psycho-social factors, stress, and comorbidity with other psychiatric illnesses are elaborated. The chapter also discusses the alterations in body systems that result due to addiction and signs and symptoms of addiction along with the addictive potential of drugs and alcohol. It would have been good to include a chapter summary at the end of the chapter, which is missing.

The second chapter is about the evolution of addiction. This chapter discusses the possible evolutionary advantage of drug use in ancient civilizations and how the human brain has evolved over time. The chapter also discusses the role of emotions in animals and humans. The use of psychoactive drugs in animals and in ancient cultures is also presented. Finally the chapter deliberates the effect of psychoactive drugs on emotions in humans.

The third chapter is about the reward centers in the human brain and includes discussion on emotions, memory and motivation. The limbic system and various neurotransmitters are described in this chapter. The chapter does a good job in simplifying and presenting the anatomy and physiology of the complex nervous system. This chapter includes a brief summary at the end which will benefit the readers.

The fourth chapter is about the neuroscience of cravings and dependency. The issue of transition from casual use to addiction and neurobiology of substance dependence are discussed in this chapter. …

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