Tolerance Dependence and Addiction

Mechanisms underlying tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction are exceedingly complex and are not very well understood. These topics will be addressed only briefly because they are only indirectly related to the topic of alcohol damage to the brain. This is not to say that they are unimportant in relation to the brain damage problem. On the contrary, they are exceedingly important. If ethanol did not have properties that cause an individual to become psychologically and physically dependent on it, no one would drink it chronically in large enough amounts to cause brain damage either directly or indirectly. If ethanol did not have these properties, large segments of society would not habitually imbibe ethanol, and if large segments of society were not imbibing ethanol, many fewer fetuses would be exposed during critical periods when the developing brain is particularly vulnerable to damage from ethanol. It is likely that ethanol induces long-term (but not necessarily permanent) changes in transmitter systems, and such changes may be largely responsible for physical and psychological dependence and addiction. However, it has not been demonstrated that such changes represent a permanent alteration in the brain that could be considered irreversible damage.

Breaking Bulimia

Breaking Bulimia

We have all been there: turning to the refrigerator if feeling lonely or bored or indulging in seconds or thirds if strained. But if you suffer from bulimia, the from time to time urge to overeat is more like an obsession.

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