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Lecture 14

NROSCI 0081 Lecture 14: Rat Park and Addiction

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April Dukes

Lecture 14 2817 Rat Park and Addiction Early research suggested mere drug exposure resulted in addiction (animal studies) o Did not take sociocultural factors into account Rat park studies sought to further investigate the nature of addiction o Concluded social interaction plays a significant role in the choice to use drugs, even if drugs are freely accessible o Isolation encourages drug use if accessible drugs are an option o These results have implications for societal drug use, as humans are also social creatures, living in highly varying sociocultural environments More studies need to be done Heroin has direct effects on the VTA Alcohol connects to the nucleus accumbens Cocaine and nicotine affect the nucleus accumbens directly What drives addiction? Reinforcement o When consuming a drug strengthens whatever preceding behavior was performed What does dopamine do? o DA signals the difference between an expected reward and the actual reward o Addiction is driven by drugs that result in a higher reward than expected Rewards stronger than their expectation get strongly reinforced o Feelings of euphoria and pleasure accompany reinforcement (come from NAc, not controlled by DA) o DA contributes to drug craving (wanting), not drug liking o DA signals the difference between the expected and actual value of rewards (reward prediction error First use can be addicting however, because of tolerance, the same high might never happen again, and people are addicted by chasing the first high Liking decreases, but wanting increases addiction increases Effects on reward addiction What things can affect how the body, and the reward pathway specifically, responds to a drug? D2 receptors in the striatum and NAc Most people have a similar response to rewards (D2 density) Dopaminergic mesolimbic reward system D2 receptor density o Less D2 increases risk of addictive behavior All receptors can be activated at once o More D2 also increases the level of reported high or intoxication after ethanol ingestion More receptors can be activated at once
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