Posted on Oct 11, 2019
Scientists and representatives of the American Medical Association have acknowledged the disease model of addiction since the 1950s. This conclusion was drawn through a combination of animal studies and imaging studies of human subjects. The part of the brain that malfunctions is the mesolimbic dopamine system: the seat of the reward system, which reacts to both pleasure and pain. The system by which neurotransmitters operate is effectively hijacked by drugs or alcohol. Because the brain is alternately flooded by and starved of these neurochemicals, substance use becomes a biological need. At this point, an addict has lost all control of voluntary consumption – they must use simply to feel normal again.