Science reporter Hanson presents a savvy, big-hearted exploration of the latest investigations into addiction science.
Like it or not, the popular imagination still views addiction not so much as a disease, but as the product of a weak-willed lifestyle. But, as biological psychology indicates, the concept is much more complicated. Hanson begins with an overview of drugs–use and abuse, legal and illegal–and how they work on our brains, with a particularly astute look at the roles of dopamine and serotonin and how nerve receptors function. He then shifts into methods of treating the disease of addiction, sociological as well as medical. In a soothing bedside manner, Hanson serves forth the whole addiction picture without false promises or dire forecasts. We each have biochemical individuality while sharing neurochemical pathways of reward and relief and unconscientiously fashioning them to our desires: ways to feel good, molecular levels of bliss. Though Hanson’s tone may be conversational, like an informal chat with an informed friend, he nonetheless takes readers through the science of brain function and explicates what is known about its chemistry, physiology and psychology. He looks at the pros and cons of today’s pharmacopoeia, and gives a thorough, entertaining tour of the government’s part in its creation. The author is equally engaging when it comes to the role of diet and exercise. Hanson also has much to say in the contest between criminalization and harm reduction, strategies that â€œaim for the creation of non-coercive, community-based recovery programs and resources for drug users.” In all instances, he smartly summarizes the medical studies and gives sources to pursue investigation.
Insights into addiction that are wise, generous and humble.