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The Science of Addiction

Addiction is a complex disease that affects both the brain and body. About 1 in 7 Americans ages 12 years and older have a substance problem. Once an individual develops an addiction, his or her brain is rewired to ignore the harm it may cause. The area of the brain responsible for addiction is called the limbic system, also known as the reward system, which produces feelings of pleasure. This part of the brain is naturally triggered when we participate in actions that make us feel good, thus making us repeat this behavior.

The abuse of addictive substances activates the brain reward system and creates feelings of pleasure for actions that are actually harmful. Sadly, addictive substances can “release up to 10 times more dopamine than natural reward behaviors.” This makes it increasingly more difficult to quit the substance because it floods neuroreceptors with dopamine to cause a


One treatment method called neurofeedback, also known as EEG biofeedback, is gaining attention in the fight against addiction. Neurofeedback is a process that teaches the brain to function better by targeting the underlying issues that may contribute to addiction, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, and insomnia. This has proven to be a successful addiction treatment for many people. While there are many paths to recovery, such as this one, it is important to remember that there is one constant- and that’s hope.


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