What motivates drug use and abuse?


I’m not a big number dropping person but 15 million people struggle with alcohol use disorder about five to six percent of the population. So understanding factors that can contribute to that and some of the underlying behavioral and brain systems that may play a role in addiction may eventually lead to better treatment programs and help for people that are struggling with substance use disorders. The research questions that I’m interested in tie in to addiction and in particular drug seeking behavior and why people sometimes struggle with seeking out drugs and it may be a critical factor that leads to kind of the cycle of addiction continuing. As many in psychology know about Pavlov and salivating dogs there’s the potential for drug cues that are paired with drug states to come to generate drug-seeking behavior on part of the drug user. It can be a lot of different cues it could be visual, auditory, touch and in fact some of the research that we do on drug seeking behavior using mice that are inbred and models and alcohol drug seeking behavior. The cues we actually use are touch cues or tactile cues but the cues can vary depending on the lab that you work in when you explore some of these questions they can be specific visual, touch, auditory, smell cues, olfactory in nature or they can be general contextual cues that are like a combination many of those kind of primary sensory cues.




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