This review is the first in a 4-part series about the audiobooks I listened to in the 7-day, 3400 mi drive from Healy, AK to Denver, CO.
Name: The Great Courses: The Addictive Brain
Narrator: Professor Thad A. Polk
As the name suggests this lecture series gives an overview of the psychology, behaviors, and neurophysiology of addiction. Addiction touches most people's’ lives in some way or another and can be a pretty touchy/emotional subject, as I learned while discussing the series with my travel buddies. Because of this, it might be hard for some people to listen to. However, Professor Polk balances dispassionate science with a healthy dose of compassion, taking time to talk about the most effective treatment options for each drug/behavior of abuse that he discusses and implores people who are struggling with addiction to remember that they are not weak or broken and that setbacks should be viewed as learning experiences rather than failure.
The series is split into 12 half-hour lectures, covering a range of topics from the brain’s reward circuit to genetics and how both influence addiction. It also delves more deeply into the addictive a wide variety of substances from caffeine to methamphetamine and how each affects the brain.
If you are a brain nerd like me, I highly recommend this lecture series. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, it may be difficult to get through, but it also may deepen your understanding of what you or your loved one is going though.