The neuroscience of impulse and addiction

Impulsivity, sensation-seeking and substance abuse have long been linked. Although individuals who abuse drugs are known to act impulsively and have subtly different neuroanatomy, it is not clear whether these changes are the cause or the effect of the abuse. A new study investigates these links further.Brain imaging helps in the search for impulsivity. Everyone has a level of impulsivity in their character; we are all points along a scale. Some of us consistently act on a whim, whereas others rarely make decisions without deep consideration. As a personality trait, impulsivity is often connected to a predisposition for drug abuse. Studies have shown that adolescents who experiment with recreational drugs are more likely to have lower levels of self-control. Scientists have also noted subtle neuroanatomical changes in the brains of…

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