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The Joylessness of Drug Addiction

Posted Apr 17 2010 4:46am
From Addiction Inbox :
The act of “liking” something is controlled by the forebrain and brain stem. If you receive a pleasant reward, your reaction is to “like” it. If, however, you are anticipating a reward, and are, in fact, engaging in behaviors motivated by that anticipation, it can be said that you “want” it. The wholly different act of wanting something strongly is a mesolimbic dopamine-serotonin phenomenon. We like to receive gifts, for example, but we want food, sex, and drugs. As Nesse and Berridge put it, “The ‘liking’ system is activated by receiving the reward, while the ‘wanting’ system anticipates reward and motivates instrumental behaviors. When these two systems are exposed to drugs, the “wanting” system motivates persistent pursuit of drugs that no longer give pleasure, thus offering an explanation for a core paradox in addiction.”
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