If someone takes alcohol, an illegal drug or some opioids, there are molecular mechanisms that can explain their effects. However, whatever they are, is different from what the person experiences.
There are those who take hard drugs and feel light afterwards. There are some who take more pills just to get to the point they used to be. There are those who continue to drink heavily, for the process and to forget.
There are underlying cellular and molecular processes across these, but the experience of intoxication, overdose, delight, speech affect, mania, tranquility and so on, that the person knows is different from what cells and molecules are doing within.
Cells and molecules do their thing, but no one takes substances for them, as they are not the experience.
Seeking a cure for substance use disorder by molecular or cellular pathways can work, but would remain shorthanded in what the overall should be for everyone.
Friends star, Matthew Perry, with an upcoming memoir, “Friends, Lovers and the Big Terrible Thing“, revealed that aside his alcohol addiction, he was, at a point taking 55 Vicodin a day.
He is an example of what could be interpreted as having it all, but was hooked on substances for reasons including the experience. This is similar to others, whether it comes from a first hit, or a predisposition, along a fad, with crowds or however, the experience is a key reason.
If experience is what substance abuse and addictions deliver, how does this clarity change the approach towards prevention and help?
How do cells and molecules build or construct what becomes experienced for individuals across use, cravings, high, overdose and so forth?
Addiction is not always to substances. It could be to things, places, and others, but they can be as strong as substances. Still, experience is dominant across addictions, making it a key factor.
Builds of Cells and Molecules
There is no shortage of reward system, pleasure center or dopamine explanations for addiction, but those are within cellular and molecular bounds. Cells and molecules of the brain build the experience for individuals. This makes everything about that build [its rules, structure, and so on] important in approaching addictions and substance abuse.
Seeing, hearing, touching, smelling and tasting are interpreted by pathways that involve cells and molecules, but it is the thing that it is, not the cells or molecules. The door is the door, so is the chair, the car, the house, the book, the pen, hunger, thirst and so forth.
Cells build those as internal versions to the brain. It is these versions that are used to experience them in the external world. Cells and molecules are in processes across the brain, but they are not the human experience.
Conceptually, there are two experiential constants in the brain—quantities and properties. Quantities relay in sequences to locations to acquire properties that becomes experienced.
This says that experiences play out in phases, a quantity, its sequence and the destination—or property.
These are constants in every situation, but they don’t act the same way all the time. There are things that don’t cause fear or delight even when they should. There are things that should feel good or bad but don’t always do.
Any experience, in any moment, depends on where the quantities go or don’t. There are sometimes aberrations from what is expected but everything [including addiction] is subject to those.
Understanding these constants, in a display of mind, could be potent in preventing relapses, substance use, mental health struggles and so on. It is not the cure, but would show how the brain works experiences.
In brain science, all sensory inputs arrive at the thalamus, except for smell that arrives at the olfactory bulb. It is where they are processed or integrated, before relay to the cerebral cortex for interpretation.
It is theorized that sensory input or processing is into a uniform unit, quantity or identity which is thought or a form of thought. This means that everything sensed becomes a quantity, which is thought or its form. The car, house, chair, table, liquid, solid, gas, all become a form of thought to the brain. It is what gets relayed to the cerebral cortex for interpretation.
Interpretation is postulated to be the zone of properties, which is knowing, feeling and reaction, mostly dominated by memory. Memory has stores, and sequences. Feelings are a destination, preceding reactions, which can be parallel or perpendicular.
It is what happens in memory that shapes what becomes experienced. It is thought or its form that the memory stores. The memory has large stores where all experiences are mostly based, including promptings, depression, anxiety, interest, hate, love, dislike, will, anger, cool, and so on. They are in stores, with slices that determine degree, in limits or extents.
There are sequences, old and new, that could sometimes be good, like an old sequence for protocols, or bad for boredom or something cliché. There are new sequences that can be good for adventure, curiosity or exploration, but bad for a new high in addiction.
What happens in the mind is a result of these constants, therefore, how should these be displayed for availability at liquor stores, bars, recreational areas, schools, clinics and so on, to understand what the mind is doing per experience, including for outcomes of substance abuse?
This is what brain science research owes the addicted, more than more cells and molecules when those don’t explain experiences.
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