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The Addictive Brain

Narrated by: Thad A. Polk
Length: 6 hrs and 19 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (10 ratings)
Price: CDN$ 20.09
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Publisher's Summary

Addiction is a problem that affects everyone - even if we haven't experienced addiction ourselves, we all know someone who has. Unfortunately many sources of information about addiction seem inaccessible or irrelevant because they present vague or false science, they present accurate science in an excessively complicated way, or they are more moralistic than informative.

Addiction is sometimes viewed as a failure of character or will or morality. But neuroscience offers a very different picture - one that can inform how we, as individuals and as a society, treat addicts and the problems caused by addiction. These 12 eye-opening lectures will show you that addiction is a scientifically understandable problem that has its origins in neurobiology and genetics.

The Addictive Brain is a fair and balanced investigation of addiction, backed by hard science and behavioral science. Most of us have probably seen the old antidrug commercial in which an actor compares your brain on drugs to an egg sizzling in a hot frying pan. That's a powerful image, but it doesn't tell us what actually happens when drugs enter your body and interact with neurochemical processes.

Professor Polk gives you a comprehensive but concise survey of addiction and the major drugs of abuse, highlighting the differing neurological effects of stimulants, opioids, and more. He also delves into the world of behavioral addictions, such as gambling and compulsive video gaming, which, neurologically, operate very similarly to drug addiction. This course will clearly and compassionately inform you on what addiction means scientifically, socially, and behaviorally.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your My Library section along with the audio.

©2015 The Great Courses (P)2015 The Teaching Company, LLC

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    5 out of 5 stars

Never disappointed! Fantastic course

This really was one of the best courses provided by the Great Courses. Thank you for sharing.

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Matthew Bukovicky
  • 2015-04-27

Very interesting and in depth

His was an extraordinary in depth study of the brain, substances and how everything interacted with each other. Wonderful course to listen too. Also offers nice tips on how to combat certain types of addiction.

29 of 29 people found this review helpful

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  • marilyn popko
  • 2015-03-16

Excellent.

I've been a psychotherapist for over 30 years. I've been studying and thinking about this stuff for over 40 years. This guy has a clarity that is admirable and a slant on the material that is novel. I never read or listen to books more than once any more. This one made me think. I WILL listen to it again.

120 of 125 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous
  • 2015-07-26

Excellent review of the underlying mechanics of all addictions

An intuitive and principled discussion of the physiological and psychological mechanisms of all addictions from overeating, gambling and porn to alcohol and opioids. Treatment by drugs and psychiatry are discussed.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful

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  • Alifa
  • 2015-06-20

The addictive brain

A wonderful and informative overview of addiction that covers drugs like opiates, amphetamines, alcohol and nicotine, as well as compulsive behaviors like gambling. Not only did I learn a vast amount about the neurological implications of addiction, I became more sensitive to the struggles of addicts to change their behavior. An excellent investment of my time.

31 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Charles
  • 2015-03-28

Great book for anyone

I have a family member who has a major addiction problem and was listening to this to better understand that person. I walked away understanding myself far better. Very very fascinating book if you are an inquisitive person. It's like a feast of interesting information that applies to yourself whether it's behavioral addiction or a medical addiction. Cool course.

90 of 95 people found this review helpful

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  • Harriet Meikle
  • 2015-03-24

Enlightening and absorbing.

This course exceeded my expectations and has given me insight into understanding the problems and difficulties of those trying to recover from addictions of any kind. I am inspired to listen to it again as it has equipped me to grasp the reasons why recovery from addiction, of many kinds, is so seemingly impossible for some sufferers and knowing what I now know I can be support with confidence and genuine hope. Thank you .

80 of 85 people found this review helpful

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  • Jason Como
  • 2016-09-23

Wonderful start to understanding the neuroscience behind the most destructive behaviors of our time

As a family physician that works in an inner city urban clinic I deal with the consequences of obesity, alcoholism, tobacco, diabetes, violence, and even pornography. When I was in medical school we learned about these as problems but did not learn about the neural pathways of the addiction reward system that impact or directly buttress them.

Dr. Polk does an amazing job of filling in the back story of many of the main behavioral problems we see in primary care. He is fascinating and keeps your attention throughout.

It also would be good for any person seeking better understandings of their addictions/cravings in hopes of renewing the attitudes of their minds. So for me the education had a dual purpose.

He simplifies the basic addiction reward circuits in the brain which can help even a lay person to understand and explain things like tolerance, craving/wanting, and liking/pleasure.

Five stars!!!

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Alex
  • 2015-05-21

Not an addictive lecture but quite enjoyable

These lectures were great and easy to understand. It was great to learn how each drug and habit alters the brain to cause addiction, tolerance, and what happens when withdrawal occurs.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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  • Kyle P. Martin
  • 2015-05-12

Biology of Addictions

Good course. The lectures are given mostly from the perspective of biology or physiology, but also touches on the psychology of it. Presented well, but I was hoping for more a more in depth look at gambling, pornography, and video games. Ironically, these 3 things he covers only briefly at the very end of the course. That being said, it's still a great course about why people become addicted.

30 of 32 people found this review helpful

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  • Jackson Berry
  • 2015-05-05

Great insight

There are a lot of scientific explanations which provide insight into why brains get addicted, and some but not much on cessation

20 of 22 people found this review helpful