Once an addict, always an addict: True for the brain? Origins of the addiction neuroscience wanting vs. liking dichotomy

In this clip we comment on the landmark neuroscience publication that began the ‘wanting/liking’ dichotomy that researchers are still using to investgate addiction-related processes to this day. Titled “The neural basis of drug craving: An incentive-sensitization theory of addiction”, Terry E. Robinson & Kent C. Berridge present insights on the psychology of addiction.

The theory addresses three fundamental questions.
1) why do addicts crave drugs?
2) why does drug craving persist even after long periods of abstinence?
3) Whether ‘wanting’ drugs (drug craving) is attributable to ‘liking’ drugs (to the subjective pleasurable effects of drugs)? Or possibly due to external components altogether.

The theory of addiction suggests:

  1. Addictive drugs enhance dopamine transmission in brain reward areas.
  2. A major psychological function of this neural system is to attribute ‘incentive salience’ to events associated with activation of the system (drug cues and stimuli).
  3. In some individuals the repeated use of addictive drugs produces adaptations in this system, rendering it increasingly and perhaps permanently, hypersensitive (‘sensitized’) to drugs and drug-associated stimuli. This is ultimately a learning & memory based effect.

open access articles: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/016501739390013P

Join us for NeuroBeer every Monday (8pm EDT) & NeuroDrugs every Wednesday (9pm EDT) on YouTube for the largest interactive live streaming journal club & contribute to the conversation! Stay tuned to stay up to date with the latest in neuroscience news.

How are dopamine vs opioids involved in wanting vs liking? Is only dopamine involved in motivation? Or opioids too? How does motivation impact drug addiction? How does dopamine affect addiction and wanting vs liking addictive drugs? Can the addicted brain go back to normal? If so, how long does it take for the addicted brain to go back to normal, or when brain dopamine receptor levels take to return to baseline following addiction? As the saying goes, once an addict, always an addict, but is this true for the brain? What are the four fs, and how does dopamine regulate them? And how does learning and memory come into play?

From NeuroDrugs live #2. Short clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YjlgZG7mmt8 streamed live July 15, 2020. Full conversation: youtu.be/X8_fSqM7AZI

18 thoughts on “Once an addict, always an addict: True for the brain? Origins of the addiction neuroscience wanting vs. liking dichotomy

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