Dr. Kevin McCauley, of the Institute for Addiction Recovery, has been helping people with addiction for fifteen years. He has studied the brain and how it is affected by addiction.
In his new video for the Mormon Channel, Landscape of the Mind, McCauley compares the brain to the geography of Utah, shaped by experiences over time. These experiences are carved into the cortex of the brain and they affect the decisions that we make and our personalities.
The frontal cortex is connected to our thoughts, our decisions, our ability to understand consequences and reason. In addiction, the frontal cortex is overpowered by the midbrain, which is where our survival instincts and sex drive are controlled. The midbrain does not process reason or understand consequences: it reacts to pleasure in the moment instincts.