CBS 60 Minutes- Hooked: Why bad habits are hard to break
Dr. Nora Volkow, head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has revolutionized how science and medicine view addiction: as a disease, not a character defect. Morley Safer reports.
In the battle against addiction, "just say no" is magical thinking, says Dr. Nora Volkow. She's the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and after spending decades studying the brains of addicts, Dr. Volkow has determined that drug addiction is a chronic disease that physically changes the brain. Dr. Volkow has found that even images of an addictive substance, such as alcohol or drugs, can produce a dopamine response in an addict's brain, and some foods can trigger a similar reaction. Morley Safer reports on Volkow's revolutionary research into addiction, as well as on her revolutionary family history.
What's your poison, your addiction? Is it legal or illegal? Whatever it is you're hooked on, from coffee to cocaine, smoking pot to pigging out, Nora Volkow has your number. She's the head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For three decades now, Volkow has been looking - literally - into the brains of addicts: not just hard drug users, but smokers and overeaters too.
Nobody knows more about how we get hooked and why bad habits are so hard to break. Dr. Volkow grew up in Mexico in a family with a famous ancestor and a tragic history. She's made history herself by challenging many of the old ideas about our addiction to addiction.
Morley Safer: What do you make of that common phrase, "Just say no?"