Addiction as a disorder of the brain

The way a person's brain is wired may play a role in determining whether or not they are likely to become addicted to drugs. This is according to new research from the University of Cambridge, which suggested addiction may partly be explained as a disorder of the brain.

Published in the journal Science and funded by the Medical Research Council, the study revealed siblings who are hooked on drugs have the same abnormalities in the region of the brain that controls behaviour as their non-addict brothers and sisters.

Chartered psychologist Dr Karen Ersche, lead researcher on the investigation, said it is well-known that not everyone who takes drugs subsequently becomes dependent on them.

Speaking to the BBC, she added: "It shows that drug addiction is not a choice of lifestyle, it is a disorder of the brain and we need to recognise this."