Study: Drug Addicts May Have Abnormal Brains Prone To Addiction

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have published a startling article in Science Magazine stating that drug addicts may have brain abnormalities that give them a predisposition toward addiction. It could radically change how we view addiction and its causes.

The parts of the brain that appear to differ deal with impulse control. The scientists compared abnormal brains of subjects with their siblings with normal brains and found a pronounced difference in the rate of addiction. Some 50 biological sibling pairs were tested as well as 50 healthy, unrelated pairs of people. The question is how such research would affect our laws and sentencing. This would suggest a physical predisposition. We already have laws that allow mitigation due to drug or alcohol addition, but this research could move addiction even closer to disability categories. The research however does not suggest a total predisposition or the inability to resist taking drugs in the first place.

The new article brings to mind the recent research showing teen brains develop later than previously thought (particularly in the area of risk appreciation and judgment). That would make this something of a perfect storm for some teens who (with most teens) lack brain development on risk judgment plus a predisposition for addiction.

While not to take away from the medical and legal interest in this story, I must admit that the story also inevitably brings this scene to mind:

Source: BBC

29 thoughts on “Study: Drug Addicts May Have Abnormal Brains Prone To Addiction

  1. I-707

    I think that we have some folks that actually need medication to function everyday….We also have a lot more folks that take drugs and/or drink for recreational uses….Neither are bad unless you cease to be able to function without them…..Maybe I missed your point….Whatchasaying…..

  2. I have a good friend, an M.D. who works to help addicts deal with life and their addictions who gave me the one question he initially asks all those who come to him for help:

    “On a scale of 1-10 can you rate your first high?”

    Those who answer 8 or less are going to be easy cases, those who answer 11 and above are going to be life-long patients.

  3. Maybe this study, if holds, will help those of us who live in chronic intractable pain stop being the media’s and DEA’s current whipping boy, because many of us rely on narcotic medications to be able to get out of bed, or tie our shoes, or just live. Very few folk on opiods for CIP become addicted (although may become physically dependent, totally different animal.) Maybe because our brains are not wired for addiction (although probably wired for continuing CIP because of changes in brain connections and chemistry), pain docs and patients can start being treated agaiin like patients rather then potential abusers and felons. (Some pain docs require pts to sign contract that includes random uring testing – more befitting a jail then a docs office.

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