Susceptibility to addiction is linked to brain structure
The shape of a person’s brain can affect the likelihood of them becoming addicted to cocaine, a new study claims.
Researchers tested two groups of drug users to discover why some developed dependences to the drug while others did not and were able to remain occasional users of the class A drug.
After giving participants brain scans, they found the “recreational users” had an abnormally large frontal lobe – the part of the brain responsible for self-control. Those most addicted to the drug were found to have small frontal lobes.
The research, published in the journal Biological Psychiatry, also found drug users had “attention seeking” tendencies, with those addicted also likely to display “impulsive and compulsive” traits.
Study leader Dr Karen Ersche, of the Behavioural and Clinical Neuroscience Institute at Cambridge University, said: “These findings are important because they show that the use of cocaine does not inevitably lead to addiction in people with good self-control and no familial risk.
“Our findings indicate preventative strategies might be more effective if they were tailored more closely to those individuals at risk according to their personality profile and brain structure.”
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