Researchers from The University of Texas, Dallas, discovered nicotine can influence our brain activity. In other words, the brain’s response to nicotine depends whether or not there is nicotine in the cigarette. It seems that the drug affects a person if he/she believes it is present.
They did an examination of the neural activity of the insular cortex. This is the part of the brain activity associated with addiction and drug craving. It revealed that smokers satisfy their cravings not just by smoking a cigarette, but also by knowing that the drug was present. If a person has not this belief, he/she will not be satisfied.
For the study, researchers used a functional magnetic resonance imaging, which captured the insular cortex activity of 24 smokers. The study is really interesting. The participants were told four different things. First, they were told nicotine and smoked a cigarette with nicotine. After that, they were told nicotine and smoked a cigarette with no nicotine. They did the study again, only, this time, they were told no nicotine. Researchers wanted to find out if smokers are having a different effect when they know the drug is in their body.
Scientists expected that the presence of nicotine would make people crave more, compared to those who did not receive nicotine. However, they found out that belief is sometimes more important than the drug. Nicotine has a bigger effect on those who believe that the drug is their boy and influenced more their brain activity. There will be future research. Researchers hope to find a treatment for addiction by focusing on this discovery.
It seems that we are the only one who can save us from addiction. As long as we will think that the drug is present, it will be harder not to smoke. According to this study, drugs are having an effect on us because we believe they have. It was already known that addiction happens when people do not want to give up taking the drug. Not because they are not able to, just because they do not want.
A treatment could be found regarding this matter. It seems that doctors should work more on what the patient believes because this is the most important thing. If you can make a person to think that the drug is not present, you are already closer to saving him/her from addiction.
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