Predetermination is not Predestination…
There are many reasons why addicts decide to use and repeat self-defeating behaviors. And one of the hallmarks of the addicted brain is related to poor impulse control. The same decision making process in regards to crossing the street safely or slow down when the traffic light turns yellow is at work when deciding to use drugs. The article below illustrates that two people who have similar deficits in the brain do not always succumb to the addiction process. This inspires hope to the addiction community that although there may be organic causes inherent in addicts’ brains, others are finding ways to overcome by building positive self-control habits… and this is where research will be heading.
A study in Science looked at 50 pairs of siblings. One member of each pair was a cocaine addict. The other had no history of drug abuse. Brain scans showed that both siblings had brains unlike those of typical people – the fibers that connect the different parts of the brain were less efficient in both. Another experiment showed that both siblings took longer than a typical person to respond to a signal telling them to stop performing a task. In other words, they had less self-control.
The findings offer strong evidence that these brain abnormalities are inherited. Impulse control is also central to behaviors like compulsive gambling and compulsive eating. The new study shows it’s possible to identify people who have inherited a susceptibility to these sorts of problems, and it should help researchers figure out how to help susceptible people strengthen their self-control.