The Road to Recovery
Unlocking the secrets of addiction
Finding the key to lasting abstinence for substance abusers is a complex task, and one that has long been hampered by misconceptions and myths. Until recently, language like “no willpower” and “moral lapse” was used to refer to addicts who reverted to illicit drug use and to alcoholics who fell off the wagon. But mounting empirical evidence suggests that addiction—which takes a tragic and expensive toll on society, costing an estimated $468 billion per year in the U.S. alone—is a chronic brain disorder, affected by a complicated mixture of biological and environmental factors.
That has prompted researchers to refocus their efforts. At Boston University, this means better understanding how alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and even junk food can alter the brain and how it functions, in order to help improve the health and behaviors of those struggling with substance abuse and addiction.