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Will There Ever Be a Cure for Addiction?
From drinking hand-sanitizing gels to using synthetic marijuana, our society is constantly inventing new ways to get high. When one substance is banned, another quickly takes its place. What drives this never-ending hunt for the next high?
One important motivator is the pleasure principle. The quest for pleasure is a fundamental part of being human. It helps us meet our basic needs by pushing us to work towards specific goals.
Drugs provide an instant shortcut to our brain’s pleasure center. They flood our brains with dopamine and condition us to seek the next high. As a result, our bodies begin reducing their natural dopamine output. With repeated drug use, pleasure dissipates but the cravings remain. Thus, drugs hijack our natural drive for pleasure. Addicts pursue drugs despite the fact that the pleasure they experience from them progressively diminishes.