Brain Imaging Reveals What Causes Drug Addiction in Humans

Doctor Nora Volkow, MD, research psychiatrist and scientist, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), discusses what goes on in the human brain when an individual has a substance use disorder.


Doctor Volkow discusses the prevalence of drug use, the economic burden of substance abuse and what science now knows about what goes on in the brain when we are addicted. She uses brain imaging to investigate the toxic effects and addictive properties of abusable drugs. She studies changes in the dopamine system which affect the functions of the frontal brain regions involved with motivation, drive and pleasure in addiction.