Latest Articles

How Science Has Revolutionized the Understanding of Substance Addiction

For much of the past century, scientists studying drugs and drug use labored in the shadows of powerful myths and misconceptions about the nature of addiction. When scientists began to study addictive behavior in the 1930s, people with an addiction were thought to be morally flawed and lacking in willpower. […]

Read More… from How Science Has Revolutionized the Understanding of Substance Addiction

Learn More

Genetics: The Blueprint of Health and Disease

Why do some people become addicted while others don’t? Family studies that include identical twins, fraternal twins, adoptees, and siblings suggest that as much as half of a person’s risk of becoming addicted to nicotine, alcohol, or other substances depends on his or her genetic makeup. Finding the biological basis for this risk is an important avenue of research for scientists trying to solve the problem of substance use. […]

Read More… from Genetics: The Blueprint of Health and Disease

Learn More

How Childhood Development Can Impact Substance Use in Adults

Child development is marked by important transitions between developmental periods and the achievement of successive developmental milestones. How successfully or unsuccessfully a child meets the demands and challenges arising from a given transition, and whether the child meets milestones on an appropriate schedule, can affect his or her future course of development, including risk for substance use or other mental, emotional, or behavioral problems during adolescence. […]

Read More… from How Childhood Development Can Impact Substance Use in Adults

Learn More

If Taking Substances Makes People Feel Good or Better, What’s the Problem?

When they first use a substance, people may perceive what seem to be positive effects. They also may believe they can control their use. But substances can quickly take over a person’s life. Over time, if drug use continues, other pleasurable activities become less pleasurable, and the person has to take the substance just to feel “normal.” […]

Read More… from If Taking Substances Makes People Feel Good or Better, What’s the Problem?

Learn More

Screening for Substance Use in the Pain Management Setting

While there are evidence based screening tools validated for internal medicine settings, more research is needed to determine best screening practices in patients needing pain management. Many demographic, physical, and psychosocial factors can predict opioid misuse in patients with chronic pain. […]

Read More… from Screening for Substance Use in the Pain Management Setting

Learn More

What Happens to the Brain When a Person Uses Substances?

Most substances affect the brain’s “reward circuit,” causing euphoria as well as flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. A properly functioning reward system motivates a person to repeat behaviors needed to thrive, such as eating and spending time with loved ones. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy behaviors like taking substances, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again. […]

Read More… from What Happens to the Brain When a Person Uses Substances?

Learn More

What Does the Life Course Perspective Show About Risk for Substance Use and How to Prevent It?

Child development is marked by important transitions between developmental periods and the achievement of successive developmental milestones. How successfully or unsuccessfully a child meets the demands and challenges arising from a given transition, and whether the child meets milestones on an appropriate schedule, can affect his or her future course of development, including risk for substance use or other mental, emotional, or behavioral problems during adolescence. […]

Read More… from What Does the Life Course Perspective Show About Risk for Substance Use and How to Prevent It?

Learn More