How We Get Addicted

Humans have a habit of getting hooked on harmful things. New research reveals why, and opens the door to a cure

PA Photos / Landov

Empty bottles of alcohol

I was driving up the Massachusetts Turnpike one evening last February when I knocked over a bottle of water. I grabbed for it, swerved inadvertently--and a few seconds later found myself blinking into the flashlight beam of a state trooper. "How much have you had to drink tonight, sir?" he demanded. Before I could help myself, I blurted out an answer that was surely a new one to him. "I haven't had a drink," I said indignantly, "since 1981."

It was both perfectly true and very pertinent to the trip I was making. By the time I reached my late 20s,...

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