It’s drafty in here (addiction prediction found in the brain at last)

Yet another one of those links left to linger until I had time to write about it. This time it’s an article nicked from Science Magazine via io9:

Having an impulsive personality means that you jump into situations without thinking through the consequences. Now scientists think they can see “impulsiveness” at work in the brain – and it looks a lot like potential drug addiction.

In a study published over the weekend in Science, a group of researchers described an experiment where they tested to see whether impulsive behavior was related to the neurotransmitter dopamine.

Okay, as one who feels like she was on an emotional bender for nearly all of July, and went through one hell of a withdrawal afterward, this sounds intriguing.

Dopamine is associated with rash behavior, as well as the “high” people get from fun experiences – and various drugs. The researchers administered amphetamines to an experimental group, thus unleashing a dopamine cascade, and imaged their brains to see what happened to that dopamine in their brains.

People who scored high on a psychological test for impulsiveness tended not to absorb the dopamine because they had fewer dopamine receptors in their brains. These receptors “bind” dopamine and take it out of circulation. The impulsive subjects produced more dopamine in response to the drug, too.

If dopamine can bind with enough receptors, it will have less effect overall. If more is made with nowhere to hook-up, though, there goes trouble. What’s worse is that the need for more drug doses also increases. Take that trouble and double it.

I know I have an addictive personality. It doesn’t run toward gambling, drugs or alcohol, though. The proof: I had a friend who called me after I vanished from the internet for several months to make sure I hadn’t died. I hadn’t– I’d just discovered how awesome Buffy the Vampire Slayer was and I was watching it all the time. Seriously. I’d quit doing just about everything else. I’d go to work and sleep when I got tired enough, but I stopped going out, barely cleaned the house or made meals. Every hour I had available I gave to Buffy and the rest of the Scooby gang. I cried when Angel fucked off, I cried when her Mom died, I felt Spike’s agony over the stupidity of falling for her, I cried over the broken crayons. I was HOOKED.

Years before that, it’d been the internet that caught me by the attention span and wouldn’t let go (similar thing happened to Willow, by the way…). I had trouble going home for visits knowing there was no internet there to greet me upon arrival. There was some illogical fear that the on-line world would move beyond me if I was AFK for more than a day. I’d hurry to a computer lab every day just to make sure I wasn’t missing something “important.” Then I’d stay for 7-8 hours chatting with whoever logged in from Britain or the States.

Small wonder I had an attack of the crazies last month. I’m just fortunate the Man wasn’t completely appalled by my insane mood swings as my addiction to his existence got worse and worse. I think a lesser man would have just up and said, “to hell with this business,” stalked off and never looked back. I’m so glad that’s not the route he chose.

I think he was smart to pull back when he did, mind you. It was good to be cut off for a bit. Never mind whatever space/time alone he might have been needing by that point; I needed to get some rationality and sense back before the brain damage was permanent. Cripes. What a ride it was, though. Holy hell.

In case you’re wondering, I’m better now. I can totally tolerate multiple days apart and delays in phone calls without flipping out and thinking the worst. Yes, Minion. He really is just busy. Work, the Little Man, phone malfunctions, random life things. Busy with all sorts of things … just like you should be, you bizarre little blogger you…

About 1minionsopinion

Canadian Atheist Basically ordinary Library employee Avid book lover Ditto for movies Wanna-be writer Procrastinator
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