Does Addiction Physically Change the Brain?

Is there a connection between addictions and poor development/damage of the prefrontal cortex? originally appeared on Quorathe place to gain and share knowledge, empowering people to learn from others and better understand the world.

Answer by Nicole Gravagna, Ph.D., Neuroscience and Genetics & Heredity, on Quora:

There is a connection between addictions and the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC). This is the part of the brain that integrates conflict and pain with thoughts and behaviors.

The ACC shrinks and weakens in people who have been recent long-term addicts for a length of time recently. When they recover from the addiction, the ACC swells back up again. This suggests that the ACC is not causing the addiction, but is responding to it.

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