A research study from England reveals that one sibling who is addicted to drugs, and the other sibling who is not, have similar brain abnormalities. The abnormalities come from an area of the brain – the frontal-striatal system – that is vital to helping people exhibit self control. This research is important in helping people understand why it is more likely, for people who have a history of drug abuse in their families, to actually develop the addiction, than those without any family history of drug addiction or abuse.
“It has long been known that not everyone who takes drugs becomes addicted, and that people at risk of drug dependence typically have deficits in self-control. Our findings now shed light on why the risk of becoming addicted to drugs such as cocaine further exacerbates this problem, paving the way for addiction to develop from occasional use,” said lead researcher Dr. Karen Ersche, a professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge.