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Fraser Trevor Fraser Trevor Author
Title: The faster a substance reaches the brain’s reward pathway, the more addiction potential it holds. The quickest route to deliver a drug to the brain is through smoking it
Author: Fraser Trevor
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English: Main physiological effects of Crack cocaine. Sources are found in main article: Wikipedia:Crack_cocaine#Physiological_effects....
English: Main physiological effects of Crack c...
English: Main physiological effects of Crack cocaine. Sources are found in main article: Wikipedia:Crack_cocaine#Physiological_effects. Model: Mikael Häggström. To discuss image, please see Template_talk:Häggström diagrams (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The faster a substance reaches the brain’s reward pathway, the more addiction potential it holds. The quickest route to deliver a drug to the brain is through smoking it and, thus, why substances like crack cocaine and cigarettes are so highly addictive. The second fastest route is through injection, while the third quickest is snorting or sniffing and the least quick is ingestion.
This is why many people advance from one addiction to another. They start out with sugar, caffeine or cigarettes. As the brain adapts and needs more and more to get the same feeling, sugar no longer does the trick, so they move on to cigarettes, after a while cigarettes no longer provides the same relief, so they move on to alcohol. After a while alcohol no longer does the trick and they move on to cocaine and so on and so on.
Although we're talking about alcohol addiction on this page, the process of addiction I've described applies to any addiction regardless of the substance or activity. They flood the brain with neurotransmitters that makes us feel good. Over time this destroys the neurons, then the brain doesn't produce neurotransmitters adequately anymore, the brain needs more and more to function normally. Any substance or activity that stimulates the reward pathway has the potential to be addictive, particularly to brains that are already vulnerable.
This process is also true of serotonin, GABA and endorphins. Alcohol also stimulates a large surge in these neurotransmitters, which leads to depletion and dependence on alcohol to function adequately. Thus resulting in cravings to bring them back to normal and alleviate symptoms like anxiety, depression and irritability.
Additionally, alcohol and all psychotropic substances, mimic our natural neurotransmitters, meaning they can occupy the receptors, which tricks the brain into thinking it has too many and thus it quits producing them. This leaves the brain dependent upon the alcohol or other addictive substances to perform the duties of the impaired neurotransmitter.
It’s also important to note, that the fact that neurotransmitters and the reward pathway are at the root of alcohol addiction, and addiction in general, is not my opinion or a theory or concept that I created. It is what science has found to be true and even NIDA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is teaching this basic concept. I encourage you to visit the following sites and learn more about the science of alcohol addiction.
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