Directions for the Future
Part of the Series: The Neuroscience of Addiction

Directions for the Future
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The Human Brain
Part of the Series: The Neuroscience of Addiction
The Human Brain, lays out the neural-biochemical nature of the brain and examines the relationship of the brain to drugs of abuse.
Drugs of Abuse
Part of the Series: The Neuroscience of Addiction
Drugs of Abuse, shows how mind-altering drugs have been an ever-present part of human culture, the positive and negative effects of drugs of abuse and how they influence the brain and consequently affect mood and behavior.
Drugs in the Brain
Part of the Series: The Neuroscience of Addiction
Drugs in the Brain, discusses how drugs of abuse change the most fundamental information processing networks in the brain by hijacking and changing neural networks.
Overcoming Addiction
Part of the Series: The Neuroscience of Addiction
The addict's brain has changed and, consequently, recovering from alcohol and substance abuse can be a long and complex process. Program 4: Overcoming Addiction shows how understanding that full-blown addiction is a brain disease is revolutionizing the definition of addiction and its treatment.
The Neuroscience of Addiction - Substance Abuse and Brain Science
The "War on Drugs" is almost 50 years old, with trillions of dollars spent and countless lives lost and ruined. In the 21st century, neuroscience is finally providing real tools needed to fight addiction. This incredible, comprehensive series explains and identifies the brain's various roles in addiction, how drugs of…
Scathed - Crystal Meth
Crystal methamphetamine has roared across the globe, leaving wrecked lives, broken dreams, and death in its wake. Meth use has cost millions of dollars in policing and health expenditures. 'Scathed' analyzes the problem through the eyes of current and recovering users, their families, health-care workers, and police. This hard-hitting documentary…
Addiction 101
Part of the Series: The Addictive Brain
Begin your course by defining "addiction," which is diagnosed based on characteristics such as abuse, dependence, and craving. Professor Polk then surveys the history of drug use, from ancient history through the development of synthetics in the 19th and 20th centuries. Finally, he reviews government regulation and the substantial costs…
The Psychology and Neuroscience of Reward
Part of the Series: The Addictive Brain
Explore the brain's mechanisms for learning from reinforcement. You'll start with the psychological aspects, discovering the way humans learn by a series of trials and rewards. Then you'll find out what parts of the brain process pleasure, self-control, and craving, and see how the psychology and neuroscience of reward processing…
How Addiction Hijacks the Brain
Part of the Series: The Addictive Brain
Here you'll examine the ways addiction alters the brain by numbing the pleasure center, sensitizing the dopamine system, and inhibiting the prefrontal cortex. Combined, these altered brain functions lead to strong cravings and a reduced ability to control one's actions. This foray into neuroscience will forever change the way you…
Genetics - Born to Be an Addict?
Part of the Series: The Addictive Brain
Investigate how people may be susceptible to addiction on a genetic level. Thanks to studies of twins and DNA analysis, scientists are homing in on the genes that predispose us toward addiction. While there is no single "addiction gene," our DNA can significantly influence whether we become addicts.
Your Brain on Drugs
Part of the Series: The Addictive Brain
Shift your attention from the nature of addiction to the nature of drugs. Here you'll delve into the process of neurochemical transmission and see how drugs mimic this activity by binding to neural receptors. This process is responsible for everything from a drug's physical and psychological effects to its potency.
Why We Crave Coffee and Cigarettes
Part of the Series: The Addictive Brain
Caffeine and nicotine are two of the most common psychoactive drugs in our society. How do they work? How dangerous are they? After reviewing how each of these drugs affects the brain - and why nicotine in particular is so addictive - Professor Polk offers several strategies to quit tobacco…