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The Addicted Brain: Why We Abuse Drugs, Alcohol, and Nicotine by Sylvia Wrobel, Michael Kuhar

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7. The Brain Is Changed—For a Long Time!

“Before I started drugs, I did great. I never had a hang-up like this. I can’t seem to get over wanting drugs, no matter how hard I try. I stay away from the stuff for weeks, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I keep going back.”

Why is drug addiction so long lasting? Just because drugs exert powerful actions in the brain doesn’t mean that their effects should last a long time. But they do! How do we study this?

Looking at the Drug User’s Brain

Brain imaging is a remarkably powerful tool that enables us to peer inside the skull and brain (see Figure 7-1), and measure various quantities associated with neurotransmission and drugs. There are various types of imaging that tell us different things. ...

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