Introduction: Willpower hijacked. The science of addictions

José Miñarro López


Surely, we all know someone close to us who uses drugs. Consider, for example, tobacco or alcohol, or even marijuana. They may at some point have tried to stop using and, after somewhat longer or shorter periods of abstinence, have started using again.
Not every drug user develops an addiction: addicts’ lives revolve around compulsive drug-seeking and use; they lose control over their own decision-making and end up relapsing. This occurs because addiction is a brain disease that can modify its structure and functioning, affecting the areas of the brain responsible for controlling our behaviour. Addiction is a public health problem affecting a high percentage of the population and leads to health, family, and work-related problems.

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