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Addiction – Substance Use Disorders

3. Addiction Susceptibility

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About this Lecture


In this lecture, we think about some factors which contribute to differences in addiction vulnerability, focusing in particular on: (i) reiterating the phenomenon that only around 15% of drug users will develop a substance abuse disorder; (ii) the ability for modern research techniques, such as genome-wide association studies, to outline some factors which may contribute to addiction susceptibility; (iii) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNIPs) as differences between individuals’ genetic code by just one ‘letter’; (iv) the presence of SNIPs which indicate addiction susceptibility, embedded in genes which code for receptors, transporter proteins, or enzymes which metabolise drugs; (v) SNIPs which are directly associated with decreased susceptibility to alcoholism and their impact on enzyme functions, which result in an accumulation of acetaldehyde in the blood after alcohol consumption; (vi) the impact of traumatic experiences on increasing susceptibility to substance use disorders by increasing output of stress hormones like cortisol.


In this course, Dr Lauren Burgeno (University of Oxford) explores substance use disorders. In the first lecture, we think about drug addiction, a commonly used term which refers to a substance use disorder, and how it is studied. In the second lecture, we think about the biological underpinnings of addiction. In the third lecture, we think about factors which contribute to someone’s susceptibility to addiction after engaging in substance use. Next, we think about some pharmacological and non-pharmacological strategies implemented to treat drug addiction. In the fifth and final lecture, we think about how harm reduction policies can be used to help alleviate the suffering of individuals with substance use disorders and improve their communities.


Dr Lauren Burgeno is a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics at the University of Oxford. Dr Burgeno’s research interests are in the mechanisms by which striatal acetylcholine gates cue-elicited dopamine release and how this contributes to addiction related behaviour. Some of Dr Burgeno’s recent publications include 'Time-dependent assessment of stimulus-evoked regional dopamine release' (2019) and 'Genetic isolation of hypothalamic neurons that regulate context-specific male social behaviour' (2016).

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APA style

Burgeno, L. (2022, May 25). Addiction – Substance Use Disorders - Addiction Susceptibility [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Burgeno, L. "Addiction – Substance Use Disorders – Addiction Susceptibility." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 25 May 2022,

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