As efforts continue to battle the opioid epidemic, it’s important to know how addiction affects the brain.
Drugs, especially opioids, flood the so-called “pleasure center” of the brain with a powerful surge of dopamine. Addiction is linked to the speed and intensity of that release.
In the 1930s, when studies on addictive behavior began, researchers believed people with addictions just had no willpower. Today, addiction is widely recognized as a chronic disease.
Recovery needs willpower, of course, but it also requires a number of strategies to break the cycle.