Effect of addiction on the brain

  1. I would like to argue that addictions in general like smoking and more disgusting and funny like pornography addiction alter the brain deeply...and I would argue that it impairs our cognitive abilities...for short addictions makes you stupid...since we're all learners here ,what are your thoughts on the matter?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    What makes you think these things? Do you have references?

    I don't think many will argue that addiction alters the brain.
     
  4. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    "Addiction" is a catch-all term rather than one phenomenon. Addiction to nicotine is different to addiction to alcohol, opioid or more uncommon behaviours like eating household products (incidentally I've never heard of addiction to pornography, sex-addiction yes but not the former). Just being addicted to something isn't going to make you less intelligent unless whatever it is you are taking has long term effects on cognitive ability.

    Do you have any references to back up your statement? I just did a brief search and found several papers examining the link between personality types and IQ to addictiveness but they were considering how likely an addiction was to occur based on those rather than IQ change due to addiction.
     
  5. I got alarmed about addiction to pornography by TED talk videos By Gary wilson(his site is a ''reliable'' reference) and Philip Zimbardo then I read many scientific papers on the subject ...for exemple the effect of porn on working ...and the effect of all addiction on the brain...I would recommend to you reading The Brain That Changes Itself by Norman Doidge.
    P.S you can find peer reviewed paper links on Gary wilson 's site
     
  6. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Perhaps I'm missing something but this research does not address the long term effects of addiction, rather it showed that working memory was impaired in males who were asked to perform tasks whilst viewing pornagraphic pictures. That's not an unsurprising result but nice to have on paper I suppose, it doesn't address addiction nor argue that viewing of porn impairs working memory for a significant period of time. At the moment I'm also unsure as to what a "pictorial 4-back WM task" is as the methodology they use, I'd be interested to find out more.
    Yes the addiction cycle can impair behaviour and certain drugs have cognitive side effects but not every addiction is the same. More importanrlt your point was that addiction itself causes cognitive side effects but I'm not seeing anything that supports that statement
     
  7. for more insight you should definitely visit [unacceptable link removed] site it's definitely got all the info you want(peer reviewed researches) and you should also check the TED talk video I shared earlier.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2013
  8. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Sorry but the onus is on you to defend the statement you bought up. Rather than trying to link to non-peer reviewed talks and websites please post links to published papers on the topic. It doesn't matter if you come find links to these papers on the other sites but it means people don't have to jump through hopes trying to find information relevant to your original post and minimises traffic to non-credible sources.
     
  9. Greg Bernhardt

    Staff: Admin

    theoristo, thanks, but I don't think most of us have time to read 6 papers. Is there something specifically interesting within those papers you want to discuss?
     
  10. For short addiction have deep consequances for the brain and it may or may not cause cognitive impairement...so it's very important for those who're studying or work some job that 's intellectually demanding.
     
  11. I think addiction in general, both biochemical effects and human behavorial effects, all have at their root the reward system in the brain: behavior rewarded by release of brain chemicals to feel good.

    Aren't all addictions similar in some ways? I wonder what an addiction specialist (yes, they have them), would say about this?
     
  12. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    Yes you can simplify addiction to reward but that doesn't really get you anywhere does it? There are clearly big differences between a nicotine and a heroine addiction for example in terms of the effect they have on people. This is relevant to the thread.
     
  13. Here are two good definitions from wikipedia and psy today:
    1.Addiction is a condition that results when a person ingests a substance (alcohol, cocaine, nicotine) or engages in an activity (gambling) that can be pleasurable but the continued use of which becomes compulsive and interferes with ordinary life responsibilities, such as work or relationships, or health. Users may not be aware that their behavior is out of control and causing problems for themselves and others.
    2.Addiction is the continued use of a mood altering substance or behavior despite adverse consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors.
     
  14. I thought this thread was about how addiction affects the brain. In that regards, I believe that should be best approached at the neurotransmitter level since changes in that system, such as a reduction in the number of receptors on the post synaptic neuron due to heavy use of a neurotransmitter-affecting substance such as cocaine, heroin, or amphetamine, would definitely qualify as a brain-changing phenomenon caused by addiction. Another such biochemical effect would be neurotoxicity due to continued release of neurotransmitters into the cytoplasm caused by such drugs as mentioned above.

    Can we not associate a particular addiction behavior to some one or several biochemical paths in the brain? If so then those behaviors are caused by physiological events emerging in the nervous system as a consequence of addiction.
     
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2013
  15. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    There is no need. The question was quite specific: does addiction (no specific addiction, just the phenomenon) have an effect on intelligence. The best thing to look at would be to directly look for examples whereby any addiction is shown to lower intelligence compared to pre-addiction levels. Looking at alterations to receptor activity would be more complicated and unlikely to get us the information the OP is looking for.
     
  16. Ryan, that was not my interpretation of the question. He said, "affects the brain deeply." However, if you guys wish to discuss how addiction affects intelligence only, my sincere apologies for interrupting.
     
  17. Ryan_m_b

    Staff: Mentor

    No need to apologise. This would be a good time for the OP to clarify but as I interpret it when he says "affect the brain deeply" he doesn't mean it literally in terms of physiology.
     
  18. Excuse my lack of clarity...Ryan_m_b is right I'm trying to discuss the effect of addiction on the intelligence ...but jackmell might be right since intelligence is not really understood ,anything that might affect the brain might affect intelligence.
     
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