Addiction - Addiction: The Pursuit of Happiness By Garrett...

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Addiction: The Pursuit of Happiness By Garrett Koos Psych 4 Fridays 9-11:50am May 8 th , 2011
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Garrett Koos Psych 4, Fridays 9-11:50 May 8 th , 2011 Addiction is something everyone struggles through, the only difference is how addicted you are to your addiction. To understand why everyone is an addict to some degree, we need to take addiction apart back to the roots. The first and most important part about addiction is the reward circuit, also known as the nucleus accumbens. This is the part of the brain that says, “this feels good, do it again.” When you get an A on your paper that you spent days writing for your Psychology class, the reward circuit triggers, releases dopamine, and that is where the good feeling comes from. There was an experiment done on rats that when the rat was put in a box with food on one side, and the rat on the other, the rat had to run over an electrically charged grid which sends small shocks into the rat as it runs across it to get the food. The rat would rather starve and die than run across this painful electric grid. However, when they attached a stimulant to the nucleus accumbens that only worked when a lever was pressed on the other side of the cage, the rat would run across the cage for the stimulant. Not only that but when they put alternating switches, one that works, then deactivates until the other one is pushed, the rat would run back and forth across the electrically charged grid continually for nothing more than triggering the nucleus accumbens with the stimulant. (6) This is the root of addiction, the basic foundation of it. It is from this example that we are able to derive that addiction is the physiological and psychological need of the pursuit of instant happiness regardless of the negative consequences associated with it. Since addiction is based on physiological and psychological needs (4), we can break these two apart. The physiological part of addiction involves a drug called dopamine, which can be naturally created in our bodies, or can be manufactured and then put into our bodies causing incredibly high levels of dopamine. (5) Dopamine is the 2
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Garrett Koos Psych 4, Fridays 9-11:50 May 8 th , 2011 pleasure drug that the nucleus accumbens releases to give you the “feel good” feeling. This is the part of addiction that scientists refer to when debating against free will, which
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This note was uploaded on 11/14/2011 for the course SCIENCE 101 taught by Professor Teacher during the Spring '11 term at Las Positas College.

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Addiction - Addiction: The Pursuit of Happiness By Garrett...

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