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What Happens To The Brain When It Becomes Addicted

Brain Scan - CAT Scan and MRI scan in color.

Credit: Courtesy of WGBH

Above: Brain Scan - CAT Scan and MRI scan in color.

Scripps Neuroscientist To Discuss What Happens To Brain When It Becomes Addicted

GUESTS:

Dr. Olivier George, associate professor in the department of neuroscience, Scripps Research Institute

Transcript

Scripps Research Institute professor Dr. Olivier George estimates that nearly 800,000 San Diego County residents have a substance-use disorder.

And, he said, many don't realize it.

Estimated Prevalence Of Substance Use Disorder In San Diego County

Tobacco: 525,000 (21 percent of adult population)

Alcohol: 175,000 (7 percent of adult population)

Marijuana: 50,000 (2 percent of adult population)

Prescription: 25,000 (1 percent of adult population)

Stimulant: 15,000 (.6 percent of adult population)

Heroin: 6,250 (.3 percent of adult population)

Hallucinogens: 2,500 (.1 percent of adult population)

Source: SAMHSA

George said that a sign that you are on your way to becoming addicted to a substance is exhibiting risky behavior.

"When you start bingeing on alcohol, bingeing on drugs to the point where you will pass out maybe, where you might have an accident, where you might get into an argument with your partner," George said. "So your behavior is the best sign, we don't have any good biomarker to tell you if you're on the way to addiction or not."

George studies what actually happens when the brain becomes addicted and how to develop therapies to interrupt that path.

George joins Midday Edition on Monday to discuss his research.

George will be speaking 6:30 p.m. Monday at a Fleet Science Center Suds and Science event at Wavelength Brewing in Vista.

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