Your Brain On Drugs: Homeostasis, Neurochemistry, and Healing from Addiction
Judith Grisel, Ph.D.
Regular use of any psychoactive drug causes the opposite effect. Chronic stimulants result in lethargy, sedatives lead to anxiety, and euphoriants guarantee misery. These consequences are so predictable because they follow directly from fundamental features of the nervous system, namely, its capacity to recognize, predict, and adapt to change. We will apply Solomon and Corbit’s Opponent Process Theory (1974) to understand the neural and behavioral changes wrought by chronic exposure to cannabinoids and narcotics and discuss how such adaptation during periods of rapid brain development results in lasting changes in brain structure and function that pave the way for future addictions.
Among the many studies conducted by Dr. Grisel, is a 2018 set of findings on the neuroscience of addiction pointing out genetic risks of addiction, especially in women. Gender and the biology of the brain may make some women more likely to reach for a drink when they feel stressed out, and more likely to become dependent on alcohol. It was funded by the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse and published in the journal Addiction Biology.
This finding, the outcome of a three-year neuroscience study by Bucknell Professor Judith Grisel, could improve the screening and diagnosis of alcoholism and other addictions. It also adds to the mounting body of evidence about fundamental differences between the brains of men and women — differences that Grisel notes were ignored for decades, leaving a deep gender gap in medical research that persists today.
2.0 General CEU Hours
Judith Grisel, Ph.D.,
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