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Addiction: What does it mean to be dependent?

Written by: Dott. Roberto Bertolli
Edited by: Top Doctors®

Drug dependence is mainly based on the "reward system" and "education of pleasure". She talks to Dr. Roberto Bertolli, an expert in Psychiatry in Milan

For some time we talk about new drugs and new addictions: internet, gaming, work. But is it really all "new"? Not really: the mechanism that creates dependence is always the same and is as old as animals. For example, cattle, sheep, pigs and horses are fed with a locomotor (locoweed) which causes them to develop a dependence called loco, characterized by an obsessive search for the plant. There are no traders or bad companies here, but only the casual encounter with a rewarding experience giving a nice state.


Every dependency mechanism is based on the "reward system": if something sparks the spark of the prize in the brain, it is securely fastened in memory and again sought. Is this system used to make us addicted? No doubt. It is a system that entails some important functions for life, such as reproduction, power, and attachment. Unfortunately, however, this process is not selective and may also be triggered by other substances and experiences. The result is always the same: pleasure. This is why it is difficult to handle dependencies.


The reward system does not allow for renunciation, so prevention and care have in common the need for education to pleasure. Build and strengthen the ability to join a project, diversify the opportunities of satisfaction, develop the ability to tolerate the inevitable frustrations to achieve a pleasant goal. It is to be cultivated the taste so that life can be appreciated in all its flavors and can be captured the impoverishment that every conduct of dependence produces in existence.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

By Dott. Roberto Bertolli

Dr. Roberto Bertolli is a psychiatrist and psychotherapist specializing in Nervous and Mental Diseases.
In 1992 he founded the Study Society for Personality Disorders (SDP) together with his colleague Dr. Furio Ravera. At the Nursing Home Le Betulle in Appiano Gentile coordinates the department for the observation, diagnosis and treatment of serious disorders of personality and drug addiction.
He is an expert in the treatment of juvenile diseases, depressions, borderline disorder and psychoneurosis.
Co-author of a book and a book chapter, he founded together with Dr. Ravera the protected residence La Ginestra and the Therapeutic Community Crest.

*Translated with Google translator. We apologize for any imperfection

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