4 de 4 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
- Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato: Tapa dura
I chose to read this book, "The Addicted Brain" by Michael Kuhar, because I am very interested in the neurophysiological mechanisms behind drugs and how they implement their effects on the brain of users. This book actually exceeded my initial expectations, and turned out to be very informative. This book not only describes how drugs mediate their effects, but it also describes how drug user's can get addicted to these effects induced by drugs of various types ranging from alcohol to opioids. Kuhar does this on a macro scale by describing how experiments and tests preformed on animals have shown that drugs can in fact be extremely addicting, and he also describes the effects of the drug on the animals. He also does this on a micro scale by describing the molecular mechanisms associated with drug addiction and drug induced effects on the body. It starts off slowly by introducing the reader to the basic anatomy of the brain, neurons, and neurotransmitters, and then slowly starts describing the specific ways in which different drugs alter neural transmission. It describes how neural transmission is altered by drugs because drugs interfere with one or many of the three R's: "release of neurotransmitter, receptor activation by neurotransmitter, and removal of neurotransmitter". The book then goes on to talk about how addiction to a drug sets in via the formation of a tolerance and the fear of withdrawal symptoms. Kuhar describes a metaphor of how addiction is like "a rider and his elephant", and how the more ancient parts of our brains sometimes overpower our critical rational thinking parts of our brains and give in to drug use and addiction.
Structure and Style
Kuhar writes in a way that is easy to understand. He describes the mechanisms of addiction to drugs very simply, but is very thorough in his explanations, making sure not to leave any detail or process out. The book is written in a way as to convey complex ideas by using simple terms and by using comparisons and metaphors. The structure of the book is set up in a way that describes first how addiction occurs, then the effects of addiction, then vulnerabilities of addiction, and then ways to treat addiction.
Effects on the Brain
One of the most interesting aspects about this book is the way it describes the long-term effects and changes drugs have on the brain. This book includes fMRI and PET scan data showing the physical activity of the brain on various different drugs. It also includes data showing the difference in brain activity between a brain not on drugs and a brain that is on drugs or has been on drugs in the past. The point of real, physical change in the brain due to drugs is really hit home in this book.
Vulnerability to Addiction
Personally, I thought the book also did an excellent job describing how a person's vulnerability to drug addiction can be determined. The book describes many potential effectors of vulnerability, ranging from genes that produce altered neurotransmitter receptor proteins that promote addiction, to personality traits, age of first drug use, and the availability of drugs a person has.
A good point that Kuhar makes is the fact that people use drugs to attempt to alleviate a negative circumstance in their lives. When people experience stress in the workplace or in their family lives, drug use by these people seems to increase significantly. The book also does a good job of describing how stress can trigger relapse in recovering drug abusers and addicts.
By far, my favorite part of the book was chapter 11. This chapter goes through 10 different classes of drugs: alcohol, nicotine, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, Xanax, Valium, and other sedatives, oxycontin and other opiates, ecstasy and "club" drugs, PCP and caffeine. I loved how it describes the effects of each drug, exactly how the drug mediates its affects, and what neurotransmitters and/or receptors it effects in the brain.
This book is especially good for people who know or are close to someone who have been negatively effected by the misery and controlling grip of addiction. It gives many valuable insights for solutions to addiction of all kinds, and not just drug addiction. This includes addiction to gambling, food, and sex. Various treatment options ranging from medications that curb addiction to rehab centers and therapy are discussed.
I strongly recommend this book to anyone who is sincerely interested in how drugs effect the brain and body, understanding the underlying mechanisms of addiction, the dangers of addiction, and factors that influence vulnerability to addiction. This book teaches people about how to help people who are addicted to drugs, and to recognize and understand that drug addiction is not entirely about a lack of will power or determination, but is actually hardwired in our brains and uncontrollable for some people. This book was very easy to read, and kept my attention and was very interesting from start to finish!
- Publicado en Amazon.com
Formato: Versión Kindle
The book, "The Addicted Brain: Why We Use Drugs, Alcohol, and Nicotine," is a solid foundation for those interested in drug dependence and the physiological and psychological effects it has on the central nervous system. The reader will develop a well-rounded understanding of reward pathways, synaptic transmission, as well as other commonly used neuroscience terms and their correlation to addiction. The book shows how anyone can become addicted, and tries to shed light on how addicts see their addiction from a behavioral point of view while explaining the biochemistry that occurs within their brains. Dr. Kuhar explores every avenue of addiction to provide a well-rounded experience for the reader.
Dr. Michael Kuhar, as a Yerkes researcher and Candler Professor of Neuropharmacology at Emory University School of Medicine, has a strong background in addiction research. He studies how the CART peptides affect both obesity and addiction. Dr. Kuhar's goal throughout the book is to explain addiction in simpler terms and educate readers about the subject. His expansive knowledge in every area and thorough explanation ensures the reader that Kuhar is a reliable source for the information given throughout the book.
Some of the topics included in the book are: what an addiction is, what the dopamine pathways in the brain do, how animal models help us understand human physiology, how fMRI and neuroimaging helps us visualize the damage being done by drug use, how social status plays a role in drug use, and the kinds of treatments that are available. As for what an addiction is, Kuhar provides an interesting metaphor in the book's introduction, "This is a book about seduction, amazing pleasure, and a world inside your head that is both fantasy and real." He outlines what dopamine does in the body, and how some drugs (cocaine) can increase the amount of dopamine in the brain by blocking the dopamine transporter, DAT. Kuhar explains how experiments done on mice have given us a broad understanding of neuroscience. One example of these experiments involves pressing a lever that administers an electrical stimulus or drug, which can demonstrate how rewarding drugs can be when mice press it repeatedly. Another example is the role of social status within a group of mice and how it affects drug use. Other topics addressed fMRI and how it is used to see damage in the putamen and caudate nucleus, as well as other areas, in drug abusers. In the final chapters, Kuhar mentions treatment of addicts and how important it is that they seek out treatment. He clarifies that addicts are going to spend more money on drugs without treatment than they would ever spend on treatment.
Regarding my personal feelings towards the book, I think that it does an adequate job explaining addiction and how it affects the social structure surrounding people. It also gives the reader an accurate portrayal of how addiction might manifest in someone they know. I only give it four stars instead of five because it could provide the reader with less detail in some of the areas and more in others. Based on my reading, the average person picking up the book won't have a strong background in neuroscience (at least, that's how I interpreted it.) While it's true that readers could skip over some of the more detailed language about the physiology of addiction, or any data that they aren't interested in, it is not clear when those sections start and stop. If readers get through the scientifically dense parts, they'll learn a lot about addiction.
To summarize, I recommend Kuhar's book to any newcomer interested in the field of neuroscience as it relates to drug addiction. In covering many aspects of drug addiction - what it is, the pathways involved, neuroimaging, the impact of social status, etc. - it provides the reader with a broad range of knowledge in a multi-faceted issue. His book fills the gap between textbooks and news articles where it can sometimes be hard to find easy-to-understand, reliable information about well-known social issues that plague us today. However, it may not provide the excessive detail that some readers are looking for if they have experience in the field.