Drug Use, Memory and the Brain’s Reward System

The New York Times published a great piece earlier this week titled Lasting Pleasures, Robbed by Drug Abuse by Dr. Richard Friedman, MD.  The article sheds some light into the powerful and long-lasting effects of drugs on memory and the brain’s pleasure centers. It’s definitely worth reading! 

Here is an excerpt from the article:

Of all the things that people do, few are as puzzling to psychiatrists as compulsive drug use.

Sure, all drugs of abuse feel good — at least initially. But for most people, the euphoria doesn’t last. A patient of mine is all too typical.

“I know this will sound strange,” he said, as I recall, “but cocaine doesn’t get me high any more and still I can’t stop.”
When he first started using the drug, in his early 30s, my patient would go for days on a binge, hardly eating or drinking. The high was better than anything, even sex.

Within several months, though, he had lost the euphoria — followed by his job. Only when his wife threatened to leave him did he finally seek treatment.

When I met him, he told me that he would lose everything if he could not stop using cocaine. Well, I asked, what did he like about this drug, if it cost him so much and no longer made him feel good…

To read the full article visit NYT.com.