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Encephale. 1998 Jan-Feb;24(1):26-32.

[Is the functioning of our brain of an addictive nature?].

[Article in French]

Author information

Centre d'Etudes et de Recherches en Psychopathologie de Toulouse (CERPP), Université Toulouse Le Mirail, Maison de la Recherche.


The concept of addiction is increasingly bound to a general model of heterogeneous and polymorphous dependences. In this paper we examine upstream what could found this universal addictive principle, asking the question of the neurobiological root of addictivity. In other words, is the root of our brain working in an addictive way? To answer affirmatively to this question we gather two sets of datas: firstly, the conditions of the brain addictivity and secondly, the brain mechanisms that suggest this kind of addictive working. These datas are common if we consider them one by one, but their synthesis in a bundle of heuristic clues could be interesting to examine and to submit to thought. The model we suggest proposes that the architecture of our brain and the type of functioning of our neurones, imply the presence of a natural addictive set of problems in all human beings, between a fight against cerebral background noise--a dysphoric source--and a stimulation need. Finally, considering some neurobiological data in the last five years, we propose a triangular model of the addict brain, that involves three associated systems: "arousal" system, "liking" system and "wanting" system. This model, supported by the sensation seeking one, will allow us to suggest an explanation of the processes that lead to pathological addictions, according to the principles of a natural and universal addictivity.

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