I studied neuroscience to understand my addictions. Now I know it’s not the cure

“Substance misuse is not a simple problem of brain chemistry. The most powerful influences lie outside our heads”

Writing in The Guardian, Judith Grisel says:

“I used to think addiction was caused by screwy molecules in the brain, and would be cured by neuroscience. I began learning about how the brain works after I ended up in treatment for drug addiction in the mid-1980s, when hopes for neuroscientific cures were as overblown as the hairstyles.

Like many at the time, I envisioned the brain as executive director of an epic drama – solely responsible for the total picture of what I did, felt and thought. My specific purpose in getting a doctorate in behavioural neuroscience was to discover the neural explanation for my irrational choices around mind-altering chemicals. What was the faulty neural switch that swept away heartfelt promises or strongly held convictions in response to practically every opportunity to twist reality? I made increasingly risky and harebrained decisions, as the possibility of transient bliss in a shot of cocaine, a belly full of booze or a head in the (cannabis) clouds came to outweigh my obligations or common sense. Final exams, ‘last chances’ at work, or loved ones’ funerals, for example, didn’t stand a chance compared to hitching myself to whatever intoxicating ride I could catch. By the time I hit bottom, the choice between facing stark reality or using drugs to escape was no choice at all: cortical regulation had completely given way to subcortical impulses and habits …”

You can read more from here.

Any reply would be very welcome

Follow

Get the latest posts delivered to your mailbox:

Your email address will not be passed to any other organisation. It will only be used to send you new posts made on this website.

MENU