Rumour: The brain’s reward system is involved in addiction.
Truth: This is true. A new study published in the Journal of the American Journal Association – Psychiatry aims to determine the brain structures and pathways responsible for addiction. Researchers used computer software, fMRI images, and previous addiction studies to compare the brains of individuals with addictions in comparison to those that didn’t have an addiction.
The results showed that during reward outcome, the brains of addicted individuals had an increase in activity in the ventral striatum. In comparison, those without addiction had decreased activity in the ventral striatum, which has been previously described to be involved in goal-directed learning. Interestingly, the increased activity in the ventral striatum was only seen in those with substance addiction, not in those with a gambling addiction. The results show that, not only in the reward system involved in addiction, but this activity also depends on the type of addiction. Read more about the brain and addiction here.