University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Gut feeling: how bacteria influence our wellbeing > From Habit to Addiction: A Slippery Slope?

From Habit to Addiction: A Slippery Slope?

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We all have an occasional craving for something enjoyable to enhance our mood, whether it’s having a bar of chocolate, a couple of pints down the pub or smoking a cigarette. These activities may help us feel better, but when we become dependent on something to feel normal, the path to addiction is in front of us.

The transition from occasional habit to chronic addiction may be a dominant factor in society’s negative relationship to drugs, but how much do we know about the process of becoming addicted? Addiction can be thought of as a combination of factors including social, psychological and cultural, but what role does biology have in this process? Are some people predisposed to addiction? How does addiction affect our brains? To unravel this process we must consider how these different factors combine into one condition.

Both social and cultural environments shape our attitudes towards addictive substances and excess. However the effect of personality or individual psychology cannot be underestimated. Are some people biologically more susceptible to developing addiction? Factors such as genetic susceptibility and neurological variations can greatly influence our risk of succumbing to addiction.

To construct an image of this complex condition we present the seventh annual EMBL -EBI Science and Society Symposium “From Habit To Addiction: A Slippery Slope?”, bringing together three expert speakers for an evening of insightful talks and discussion.

This talk is part of the Gut feeling: how bacteria influence our wellbeing series.

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