Drugs and the Limbic System
All drugs that people abuse all change the way the limbic system works. Drugs disrupt the careful modulation of feelings and motivations that underlie normal behavior. When these feelings lose touch with reality, the person receives artificial relief, pleasure, contentment, and relaxation take over.
The Brain Reward System
The Brain Reward System is a specific limbic circuit that generates the feelings of pleasure. This system originates in a group of neurons that are located in the mid brain (called the ventral tegmental area, or VTA). These neurons then connect to a variety of places within the limbic system, but the important connection is to the nucleus accumbens in the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia are a large, complex set of structures within the limbic system that function in generating movements, some cognitive functions, emotional and motivational activities. When a drug activates the VTA neurons, these neurons releasedopamine into the nucleus accumbens and the person feels pleasure.
Key Components of the Brain Reward
Psychology, Sociology, Treatment