Journal of Undergraduate Research


alcohol, nicotine, neurobiology of addiction, pharmacological treatments


Family, Home, and Social Sciences




Addiction is a diabolical neurochemical trap that robs people of their agency and catastrophically affects virtually every aspect of an addict’s life. Alcohol is one of the most statistically widespread and harmful addictive substances in our society (Nutt, King et al. 2010). Through physiological means, it destroys an addict’s dignity, disrupts the ability to maintain healthy relationships, and often results in premature death of the addict and those around him or her. M. Russell Ballard recently spoke about the spiritual implications of the pleasure center of the brain, stating that “when activated by certain drugs or behaviors, it overpowers the part of our brain that governs our willpower, judgment, logic, and morality. This leads the addict to abandon what he or she knows is right” (Ballard, 2010). We are in the midst of trying to understand how drugs of abuse affect the brain, and the findings of this project aided in furthering our understanding of the neurobiology of addiction. Thus, we are one step closer to finding pharmacological treatments to help addict reclaim their agency and their lives.

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