The Science of Addiction: How Substance Abuse Changes Brain Chemistry

Updated November 5, 2019

Kenneth E. Leonard, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of the Clinical and Research Institute on Addictions, is quoted in a story on the science of addiction. “There are brain changes that go on with any drug that activates neuroreceptors in the brain that the body will respond to,” Leonard said. “If that happens regularly for long periods of time the brain will change structurally to try to minimize that impact. Then when the drug is no longer there the brain says, ‘Hey what happened? You’ve changed conditions dramatically on me.’”