Week 5 - The short film below is an excerpt from a documentary about addiction called "Pleasure Unwoven" by Dr. Kevin McCauley from the Institute for Addiction Study. The documentary as a whole explores the question of, "is addiction really a disease?" and presents arguments both for and against this theory. The documentary turns complex neuroscientific concepts into easy-to-understand visual images that will help people in recovery feel better understood, and their families and friends feel hope that recovery is possible.
In this installment, Dr McCauley talks about "Dopamine & Glutamate in Addiction." Like the previous films, he takes a scientific but visual approach to explaining how substances can affect the brain and the ways in which it can impair the addict’s ability to make decisions.
Dr McCauley states that each use of the drug of choice surges through our brains like a flash flood, ravaging it’s delicate physiology, sweeping away everything in it’s path. The more we use drugs, deep pathways are created in our brains and replace the old ones – hence how our reliance on mind altering substances increases the more we use them – addiction is a pathological over-learning of the drug and all that goes with it, creating a drug “hyper-memory.”
It is important to receive a scientifically reliable and evenly weighted education on this topic in order to override the often misconceived perceptions that the person suffering from addiction may have about themselves and their illness, particularly in early recovery.
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