Whitney Houston’s death has this talking about her fight with addiction for so many years and we don’t know if it played a role in her death, but we do know that for more than 23 million Americans fighting addiction quitting not just it’s not a matter of will power new research actually reveals that substance abuse causes lasting changes in brain function. We’re going in depth this morning with our host of Sanjay Gupta MD Sanjay Gupta our resident doctor or you know getting the list goes on. Do everything basically? All right. Let’s talk about your piece. And and I guess why did you choose in this is your expertise the function of the brain what exactly the brain looks like in someone who has addiction who’s going through? This is a pretty remarkable thing. I think it gives us a lot of insight into how it should best be treated and also understand it. That’s what I’m trying to do here. I want to explain a couple of things quickly. First of all this idea that someone has some sort of anticipation of taking a substance that sort of The first step but then there are two important steps after that in the brain and stick with me here. So so imagine for example as you take a look at this animation. I’m about to show you that someone takes a drug of some sort. What happens there in this the middle of the brain is that there is a sense of euphoria that’s dopamine there. No small little particles that make you feel good. That’s the kind of drug money. We talking everything from cocaine to Xanax. Yeah that there anything just about any kind of drug, not even drugs necessarily can be other things to certain food substances sugar, for example, there can be a certain amount.
Action quality but I think what’s important is the next step. So you have that Euphoria been someone who’s a true addict take a look at this picture here on the left side of the brain is you see the bright areas. That’s still feeling good. That’s the Euphoria but on the right side is someone who has an addiction now not as much of that bright spot and that is relevant. Why because they need more and more of the substance to try and get that Euphoria back. Think about that for a second. You take the substance to feel good. But an addict that good feeling doesn’t last. So what do you do? You take more than ever before and that’s sort of the basic sort of simplistic but basic form of addiction at these changes permanent. Well, they last a long time and exactly how long is it a little bit of a subject of controversy, but people say you can eventually get to the point where your brain does feel natural pleasure again, but that can take some time. What doesn’t go away is this idea of the memory of the addiction? So say your cigarette smoker quit for 10 years pick up another cigarette and start smoking in and right away you can
Back into addiction, whereas if you’ve never smoked before it would take you some time to build up that addiction. Is that what they say? Well, I mean folks that we know that have gone through treatment say once an addict always an addict at there’s truth to that right? It’s a you aren’t just cured it’s a constant battle to stay away from the Temptation or feel that Euphoria, right? That’s right and people say that but I want to show the pictures of the brain to really explain why that is you say that that dark areas of the brain you need a lot of the substance to get At Euphoria back. So that’s why relapse occurs so quickly they say three days of acute withdrawal which is painful three months where you’re the most sort of subject to relapse again and three years before you really start having natural sort of pleasure again from substances.