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Old 03-21-2007, 07:50 PM
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But dopamine sensitivity and addiction aren't genetically determined or inevitable. One experiment with monkeys showed that the dopamine system may be influenced by social interactions: Animals that lost social status also lost D2 receptors. Context is also crucial. Obviously, it's easier to get hooked if drugs are easy to get in your neighborhood, but it's not just a question of supply and demand. People who grow up in stimulating, engaging surroundings are protected against addiction, Volkow believes, even if they don't have a naturally responsive dopamine system. If you connect to the world in a meaningful way, and have more chances to get excited about natural stimuli, you're less likely to need an artificial boost.

"If you don't get excited by everyday things in life, if things look gray, and the drug makes things look extraordinary, that puts you at risk," she says. "But if you get great excitement out of a great multiplicity of things, and intensely enjoy these things—seeing a movie, or climbing a mountain—and then you try a drug, you'll think: What's the big deal?" For those lucky enough to grow up as Volkow did, surrounded by sharp minds and fascinating history, drugs are just nowhere near as interesting as everyday life.
Well, I think you had me until this part, Teach. I can well imagine the reduction in dopamine receptors... in fact, with my daughter, her meth use may have exacerbated that. She flooded the brain with the "feel good" chemicals (dopamine, serotonin, etc)... so much that the brain couldn't process all the chemicals with the existing receptors.... so it grew MORE receptors. Then she came down, and had the same "normal" amount of brain chemicals, but MORE receptors. She felt bad... worse than before, and took more drugs to feel good... but never as good as the first time.

But the idea that a lack of stimulation in childhood leads to drug use? I think the woman is off her ever loving tree... I've met TONS of addicts and alcoholics. Many of them had perfectly normal, perfectly stimulating childhoods. Even if they were born with a paucity of receptors... SOME lead full lives as kids.

Mine did.

I've never doubted that they had full childhoods... perhaps too full. I read to them, sang with them, they were in church, scouts, music, dance, sports. Nope, on the "how to prevent it" part, I think she strikes out.

Thanks for the article. It was definitely interesting... and she is one smart cookie - so I hope she keeps searching. Perhaps there will be a way to PREVENT this crap one day.
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