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The Addicted Brain: Why We Abuse Drugs, Alcohol, and Nicotine (FT Press Science) Hardcover – November 12, 2011

4.3 out of 5 stars 80 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

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

Michael Kuhar, Ph.D., is currently a professor at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, Candler professor in the Emory University School of Medicine, and a Georgia Research Alliance Eminent Scholar. His general interests have been the structure and function of the brain, mental illness, and the drugs that affect the brain. Addiction has been his major focus for many years, and he is one of the most productive and highly cited scientists worldwide. He has trained a large cadre of students, fellows, and visitors, received a number of prestigious awards for his work, and remains involved in many aspects of addiction research and education. In June 2011, he received the Nathan B. Eddy lifetime achievement award from the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.

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Product Details

  • Series: FT Press Science
  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Pearson FT Press; 1 edition (November 12, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0132542501
  • ISBN-13: 978-0132542500
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (80 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #378,949 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I am currently a Candler Professor at Emory University in Neuropharmacology. My interests have been in brain function and mental illnesses, especially drug addiction. My website has many additional details.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I chose this book from the Amazon Vine program for a few reasons: I am a public defender who works with addicts (and recovering addicts) on a daily basis, and I recently lost a close friend to a drug overdose. I wanted to know more about how the brain functions after substance abuse, and this book did the job.

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.
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Addicted Brain focuses on the physiological causes and results of addiction and explains why and how addiction is a brain disease using illustrations, Pet scan brain imaging and numerous research studies.

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.
2 Comments 26 of 27 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Maybe it's because I work in mental health, but I found much of the information in here to be fairly basic and well known. I was hoping for more in depth analysis--what are the long-term effects of drug use on cognition and processing? We know that drug use modifies brain chemistry--the changes that manifest themselves in the genes, are they passed down to the drug addict's offspring? What if the addict stops using--do the genes return to normal? Some of this was addressed in the book. We see a lot of adolescents who have smoked salvia or methamphetamines where I work--do the changes in their personalities and processing last a lifetime, if the person never does the drug again? How maleable is the brain? What about alcoholics? If they sober up and stay that way, can the brain recover? And how does this manifest itself in their day to day lives? I had a lot of questions (clearly) and wasn't satisfied with the depth of the answers the book provided. The author is obviously very knowledgable--I think this book was written specifically for the lay person. Also, his use of exclamation points kind of drove me nuts, but that may just be me.
3 Comments 45 of 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The Addicted Brain is an excellent, educational book. It may be considered basic by some, but as the father of a 22-year-old recovering addict, I appreciate *any* book that helps explain why addiction is a brain disease. My son has been battling addiction for more than seven years, and it's taken its toll not only on him, but on our whole family. The stigma associated with addiction needs to be eliminated, and books like this can help chip away at it. Thanks to Michael Kuhar for writing it.
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