Why people become addicted to drugs
Washington: Hunger, thirst, stress and drugs can create a change in the brain that transforms a repulsive feeling into a strong positive "wanting," a new University of Michigan study has found.
Mike Robinson, a research fellow in the U-M Department of Psychology and the study`s lead author, said the findings help explain how related brain activations in people could cause them to avidly want something that has been always disliked.
This instant transformation of motivation, he said, lies in the ability of events to activate particular brain circuitry-a structure called the nucleus accumbens, which sits near the base of the front of the brain and is also activated by addictive drugs.
Cues for rewards often trigger intense motivation. The smell of food can make a person suddenly feel hungry when this wasn`t the case earlier. Drug cues may prompt relapse in addicts trying to quit. In some cases, desires may be triggered even for a relatively unpleasant event.
The researchers studied how rats responded to metal objects that represented either pleasant sugar or disgustingly intense Dead Sea saltiness. The rats quickly learned to jump on and nibble the sweetness cue, but turned away from and avoided the saltiness cue.
But one day the rats suddenly woke up in a new state of sodium appetite induced by drugs given the night before. On their first re-encounter with the saltiness cue in the new appetite state, their brain systems became activated and the rats instantly jumped on and nibbled the saltiness cue as though it were the sugar cue.
"The cue becomes avidly `wanted` despite knowledge the salt always tasted disgusting," Robinson said.
The sudden brain changes help explain how an event, such as taking an addictive drug, could become "wanted" despite a person`s knowledge of the negative and unpleasant consequences of the drug.
"Our findings highlight what it means to say that drugs hijack our natural reward system," said Robinson, who authored the new study with Kent Berridge, James Olds Collegiate Professor of Psychology and Neuroscience.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Kejriwal's electricity bill exceeds Rs 1 lakh in two months: RTI
- Top leader of NSCN(K) arrested for Manipur attacks by NIA
- Bangladeshi newspaper mocks Indian team with half-shaved heads
- Vijender Singh turns professional boxer, to miss 2016 Rio Olympics
- Pandal Politics: Shiv Sena slams Bombay High Court's order- Part 2
- Chinese military research academy praises India's main battle tank Arjun, says it's 'very good'
- Gangster Abu Salem ready to tie the knot with girl seeking to marry him
- Manipur ambush: Key NSCN(K) leader involved in killing of 18 Army personnel arrested by NIA
- Sunanda Pushkar murder case: Police may approach court seeking lie detector test on Shashi Tharoor
- Jayalalithaa wins big in RK Nagar by-poll, defeats CPI's Mahendran by over 1.5 lakh votes