The Pleasure Center of the Brain: What Role Does it Play in Addiction?

The world is plagued by many problems and the worst of them all is addiction. There are thousands of individuals struggling with substance-abuse each day. Some cases lead to long-lasting mental conditions and others even lead to suicide. Fortunately, an increasing number of individuals are becoming aware of the problem. Numerous research, studies and trials have been developed over years to treat addiction in an effective and less troublesome manner. These have been proven to be more and more successful over the past couple of years. Professionals have been able to understand well the troubles that those who are affected, are going through. There are a range of different contributing factors that need to be considered for a person who goes through addiction. The modern one, however, requires medical experts to understand exactly how addiction interacts with pleasure center of the brain.

Understanding the relationship between substances and the brain

The concept of “pleasure center of the brain” was first discovered back in 1954. One of the laboratory experts was carrying out an experiment with the rats when they found that the animals were being attracted towards addiction at the same time the nucleus accumbens (NACC) region of their brains was in active stimulation. Thus, it was established that addiction seems to have a direct connection with this part of the brain. This soon, came to be known as the pleasure center of the brain. The same case occurs with humans as well. Whenever individuals indulge in a pleasure-centric activity such as sex, gambling, consumption of drugs and alcohol, their brain triggers the release of something called the dopamine hormone. The dopamine hormone is called the pleasure hormone. This actively stimulates the pleasure center of the brain. While something like this is good for the mental health when it comes to indulging it in a restrictive manner, it takes little time for the indulgence to get out of hand. This ultimately leads to addiction, wherein pleasure can potentially cause a lot of damage to both – the brain as well as the body.

Understanding the pleasure center of the brain

Expert in this field of study and well-established researcher, Dr. Jonathan Britt was able to discover a new type of brain imaging method. He named it Optogenetics. Under this exercise, he was able to gauge the negative and positive effects of carrying out the reward program. Our brain reacts in a different manner when it comes to this. At the same time, it is essential that such a method is kept very much in control.

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