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Antoine Bechara, Xavier Noel & Eveline A. Crone

In: Handbook of Implicit Cognition and Addiction

Chapter 15: Loss of Willpower: Abnormal Neural Mechanisms of Impulse Control and Decision Making in Addiction

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Loss of Willpower: Abnormal Neural Mechanisms of Impulse Control and Decision Making in Addiction
Loss of willpower: Abnormal neural mechanisms of impulse control and decision making in addiction

Abstract: Addiction is a condition in which the person becomes unable to choose according to long-term outcomes when it comes to drugs. We will argue that this is the product of an imbalance between two separate, but interacting, neural systems: (1) animpulsive, amygdala-dependent system for signaling the pain or pleasure ofimmediate prospects and (2) areflective, orbitofrontal-dependent system for signaling the prospects of thefuture. The conditions that lead to this imbalance include (1) a dysfunctional reflective system and (2) a hyperactive impulsive system. In other words, drugs can acquire properties of triggering bottom-up, involuntary signals through the amygdala that ...

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