An article I wrote for The Psychologist magazine based on my thesis research investigating risk and protective factors in drug dependence was published online this week.
This work all stems from a question I (and countless others in the field) have of why some people are able to use illicit drugs without becoming dependent, while others seem to quickly succumb to addiction.
While we’re still far from answering this question definitively, my lab at Cambridge, headed by Dr. Karen Ersche, has some theories on why this might be the case.
For example, it appears that there are underlying traits, like impulsivity, compulsivity and sensation-seeking, that can put someone at a greater risk for developing drug dependence. Some of these traits also correspond to differences in brain structure and function, such as smaller frontal cortex volume potentially making it harder for people to stop or inhibit a behavior.
If you’re interested in reading more, a full link to the article is here (the magazine kindly made it available open access). So please check it out, and as always I welcome any questions or feedback!