Empirical Evidence of Drug Addiction

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Empirical Evidence

The study of addiction has included alcoholism and drug addiction for a long time. The recent obesity epidemic has brought food addiction as a serious concern even though it is still a controversial issue. It is difficult to accept the idea of food being an addiction. Addiction has been defined as” a primary, chronic disease involving brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.”(Whitepaper) There are numerous studies and research that support the fact that over eating food can have the same effect on the brain as those addicted to drugs. One of the studies took place in the research laboratory in Princeton University by Professor Bart Hoebel. He experimented with rats overeating a sugar solution.
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(Enders, Brandt, 2007) The U.S. Department of Energy 's Brookhaven National Laboratory has researched the role that dopamine plays in drug addiction. “Addictive drugs increase the level of dopamine in the brain, and that addicts have fewer dopamine receptors than normal subjects.”(Gene Jack-Wang, 2003). The Scientists at Brookhaven have found that dopamine also plays the same role in obese people. They had two groups of ten people in the experiment, one group were obese and the other group was normal. They used a PET scan to show images of the brain to compare both groups. The results of this experiment showed that extremely obese individuals also had less dopamine receptors in their brains.
(The Lancet,2003) A study at Yale University compared the similarities of drug addiction and food addiction. Dr. Gearhardt and her associates studied forty-eight woman of different weights and used surveys, experiments and imaging of the brain to compare the effect that the body and brain have with food comparing it to drug dependancy. When the subjects were shown an image of a milk shake it “it activated neural pathways in the brain similar to that of a cocaine addict shown a crack pipe.”(Gearhardt, 2011). Another similarity between the two is the tolerance built up in that it begins to take more of the substance to produce the same high as before. There is also an inability to stay away from the
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