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The Addicted Brain: Why We Abuse Drugs, Alcohol, and Nicotine (FT Press Science) Hardcover – November 12, 2011
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From the Back Cover
What Science Has Learned About Addiction:
What causes it?
How do drugs change the brain?
Who’s most vulnerable?
Does treatment work?
What can we do?
Addiction destroys lives. In The Addicted Brain, a leading neuroscientist explains how and why this happens–and presents advances in treatment and prevention. Using breathtaking brain imagery and other research, Michael Kuhar, Ph.D., shows the powerful, long-term brain changes that drugs can cause, revealing why it can be so difficult for addicts to escape their grip.
In plain English, Kuhar describes why some people are far more susceptible to addiction than others. He illuminates striking neural similarities between drugs and other pleasures potentially capable of causing abuse or addiction–including alcohol, gambling, sex, caffeine, and even Internet overuse. Finally, he outlines the 12 characteristics most often associated with successful treatment.
Authoritative and easy to understand, The Addicted Brain offers today’s most up-to-date scientific explanation of addiction–and what addicts, their families, and society can do about it.
About the Author
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Top Customer Reviews
Dr. Kuhar starts the book very slowly, in a steady "Hey kids, this is what a drug is, and this is what a neuron is" style, very appropriate for a junior high health class. The complexity of the topics discussed slowly increases as Dr. Kuhar begins to bring in more sophisticated topics, like the way that different types of drugs function and the various treatment methods available to patients. There are many examples from ethical animal testing (with a good disclaimer, right from the beginning, about how and why responsible scientists use animals in experiments), and Dr. Kuhar cites a wide variety of recent medical and scientific journals, so the book really feels fresh and relevant. I was particularly struck by the developing understanding of long-term effects of drug use on the brain (a subject that is very relevant for me when it comes to crafting a request for reasonable probation conditions during a plea argument) and a surprising support for methadone (my clients tell me they are disappointed in methadone programs, which substitute a dangerous addictive substance with a less dangerous one, but Dr. Kuhar urges readers to strip the stigma from the problem by asking if anyone considers lifelong insulin injections as a failed method of treating diabetics).
Dr.Read more ›
Dr. Michael Kuhar is a scientist who explains addiction clearly, and at times charmingly to the layman; at one point he assures the reader that scientists who do research on animal subjects are sensitive to caring for the animals and `many have beloved pets at home'. At another point he says, "Wow," when talking about an accidental discovery that led to important research.
But this is a serious book by an award winning scientist that clearly shows how drugs change and overwhelm the brain to produce long lasting changes that make it so difficult to stop using them.
He also addresses vulnerabilities to addiction, citing studies about personality traits, social rank and status, genetics and early stressors, in which he cites his own research.
There is even information about vaccine trials.
The author talks about the mechanisms of each common drug of abuse, the neurotransmitter function in specific brain regions, what drugs do to alter them, and shows Pet Scans of the brains of users compared to non users which illustrate how addicted brains change over time with continued use, or in recovery.
He also addresses addiction to gambling, sex and food.
The last chapter deals with treatment and discusses the principles of treatment.
I recommend this book for those who have more than just passing curiosity about addiction. The book offers the results of research and goes into detail of what the studies mean with discussions and illustrations. While I think the author strives to appeal to the layman, I think this book may contain too much complicated research for some.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The author in presenting addictive chemistry within the brain shows the reader how the addiction can be so strong. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Richard Kenley
An outstanding overview of addiction and how the brain works.
For anyone struggling to quit an addiction or understand those who are, this is an invaluable
This book was purchased by me after doing the course by the author that was run through Emory University. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Rose Jeremy
I usually don't like using MUSTabatory language but this is a MUST read for anyone interested in addiction. I couldn't put it down. Read morePublished 7 months ago by AskWhatNotWhy
Interesting and informative book from someone who seems to know what he's talking about.Published 8 months ago by Neil F
OK, but mostly a glorified term paper. No new insights here.Published 10 months ago by Vincent J. Seif