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TIME The Science of AddictionTIME The Science of Addiction

TIME The Science of Addiction

TIME The Science of Addiction

The U.S. is a nation of addictions, large and small. Close to 40 million Americans smoke; nearly 1 of every 8 adults is addicted to alcohol; and the sudden and spiraling epidemic of opioid addiction took 47,000 American lives in 2017 alone. People are hooked on gambling, video games, sex, shopping, smartphones, food and Tinder. Once considered a moral failing, addiction today is largely acknowledged as a disease. Now, this new special edition examines how science is seeking to curb the cravings and help Americans kick the habit. Explore the neuroscience of pleasure to better understand just what’s happening when we feel great. Learn how addiction disrupts pathways and processes that underlie desire, learning, emotional regulation, and cognition. Consider how brain vulnerabilities caused by genetics, trauma and stress can increase the risk of becoming addicted. And examine promising new therapies, including under-the-skin implants for recovering alcoholics and treating cocaine addicts with electromagnetic pulses to the brain. Understanding and moderating pleasure is at the heart of being healthy and happy and never has it been more urgent or challenging a time to do so.

Land:
United States
Taal:
English
Uitgever:
Meredith Corporation
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IN DEZE EDITIE

4 min.
the disease of the pleasures

YOUR BRAIN IS VERY SIMPLEMINDED—AND SO IS everyone else’s. That’s not the way we think of ourselves, of course. Great minds have produced great works over the long arc of human history—breakthroughs in art, science, engineering, exploration—and it takes no small amount of genius to accomplish so much. But thinking big thoughts is only a fraction of what our brains do. Much of the rest is pretty primal stuff—regulating breathing, managing memory, interpreting sight and sound and touch and taste. It’s the brain that puts us to sleep at night and runs the interior cinema that is our dreams. The brain does another thing too: it processes pleasure—the satisfaction of eating; the thrill of sex; the exhilaration of winning; the light, loopy, all-is-well feeling of being buzzed on drink or drugs. It’s…

15 min.
the science of addiction

I WAS DRIVING UP THE MASSACHUSETTS TURN-pike one evening many years ago when I knocked over a bottle of water. I grabbed for it, swerved inadvertently—and a few seconds later found myself blinking into the flashlight beam of a state trooper. “How much have you had to drink tonight, sir?” he demanded. Before I could help myself, I blurted out an answer that was surely a new one to him. “I haven’t had a drink,” I said indignantly, “since 1981.” It was both perfectly true and very pertinent to the trip I was making. By the time I reached my late 20s, I’d poured down as much alcohol as normal people consume in a lifetime and plenty of drugs—mostly pot—as well. I was, by any reasonable measure, an active alcoholic. Fortunately,…

3 min.
what hooks us

SUBSTANCE AND BEHAVIORAL ADDICTIONS Alcohol About 14.8 million people, or 5.4% of the population, are dependent on or abuse alcohol, and 13,000 more try it for the first time every day. Alcoholics Anonymous has more than 2 million members—impressive, but only a small fraction of those who need help. Drugs An estimated 8.1 million people are dependent on at least one drug. On average, 27,000 try them for the first time each day. Marijuana, prescription pain relievers and prescription tranquilizers are the leading drugs of abuse. In 2018, 3.7 million people received treatment for the use of drugs and/or alcohol. Tobacco There are about 59 million users of tobacco products in the U.S. About 15.8% of men and 12.2% of women are cigarette smokers, with cigarette use lowest in Western states and highest in the Midwest;…

11 min.
written in the genes?

FOR CENTURIES, THE “NATURE-VERSUS-NURTURE” debate cast a long shadow over the study of human behavior, including the phenomenon of addiction. Are addicted people the products of their biology, or are their compulsions shaped by their experiences and environment? Why do some people mess with highly addictive substances at all while others avoid them entirely? Great minds were split over these questions. Today, the debate is largely settled—though there is no clear victor. Experts now recognize that every human being is the product of both DNA and environment, which interact in endlessly complex ways to produce any number of outcomes. But that’s not to say the ratio of genetics to environment is the same from person to person. Just as one person’s genetic risk for heart disease or diabetes differs from another’s,…

17 min.
compulsion without the chemicals

IN THE EARLY 1980S, MARRIAGE AND FAMILY therapist Chris Anderson took a break from his practice to try his hand at stock trading, joining a brokerage firm in his hometown of Austin, Texas. Within a couple of days, he doubled his money. Even though the sum was relatively small, he did the math and decided he liked what it told him. “I went from not really knowing what I was doing, to my mind filling with numbers so big that I couldn’t even count them,” he recalls. “I had been known as a tightwad in my family, ironically, but here I thought I’d discovered something amazing.” Hooked on the rush of getting rich quick, Anderson studied the markets, developed strategies and began generating money for himself and his clients. Then he started…

6 min.
the hunger that can’t be satisfied

NOBODY HAS TO SCORE HERSHEY’S KISSES ON THE street. Nobody has to smuggle Pringles across the country hidden in the wheel well of a car. And if you’re paying $100 for a gram of Coke, you’re definitely being overcharged. But that doesn’t mean that the life-sustaining substances we come into the world loving and couldn’t survive without—the sugars and salts and fats and proteins, the fruits and vegetables and breads and meats, the snacks and the meals and the treats we eat at movies and the hot dogs we devour at ball games—can’t get us into every bit as much danger as the deadly, often illegal substances that cause so much suffering. You can eat compulsively, just as you can smoke or drink or do drugs compulsively. And in both cases,…