Drawing on years of research--as well as personal experience as a recovered addict--researcher and professor Judy Grisel has reached a fundamental conclusion: for the addict, there will never be enough drugs. The brain's capacity to learn and adapt is seemingly infinite, allowing it to counteract any regular disruption, including that caused by drugs. What begins as a normal state punctuated by periods of being high transforms over time into a state of desperate craving that is only temporarily subdued by a fix, explaining why addicts are unable to live either with or without their drug. One by one, Grisel shows how different drugs act on the brain, the kind of experiential effects they generate, and the specific reasons why each is so hard to kick.
Grisel's insights lead to a better understanding of the brain's critical contributions to addictive behavior, and will help inform a more rational, coherent, and compassionate response to the epidemic in our homes and communities.
"Grisel's account of her wayward early 20s, chasing one high after another, is harrowing . . . She writes clearly and unsparingly about both her experiences and the science of addiction--tobacco and caffeine figure in, as well--making plain that there is still much that remains unknown or mysterious about the brain's workings. In the end, she notes, much of our present culture, which shuns pain and favors avoidance, is made up of 'tools of addiction.' Illuminating reading for those seeking to understand the whos, hows, and wherefores of getting hooked." --Kirkus Reviews
JUDITH GRISEL, Ph.D., is a behavioral neuroscientist and a professor of psychology at Bucknell University. She has been awarded more than a million dollars in federal funding to pursue research on the causes of drug abuse. Her work focuses on what in the brain predisposes people to addiction, and her most recent paper revealed a genetic risk for alcoholism in women.
A NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER
From a renowned behavioral neuroscientist and recovering addict, a rare page-turning work of science that draws on personal insights to reveal how drugs work, the dangerous hold they can take on the brain, and the surprising way to combat today's epidemic of addiction.