I Can Quit Anytime I Want
The Biological Basis of Euphoria and Addiction
Department of Biology
Ball State University
This “clicker case” explores the biological basis for the temporary euphoria that accompanies drug use as well as certain aspects of the biological basis of drug dependency. The case is called a clicker case because it is designed for use with personal response systems (aka clickers). The case itself is a PowerPoint presentation (~2.7 MB) punctuated by multiple-choice questions that students answer in class using clickers. It could be adapted for use without these technologies. The case was developed for use in a large introductory biology course for both majors and non-majors.
- Describe how neurotransmitters are removed from a synapse.
- Explain the sequence of events involved in communication at the synapse.
- Recognize that there is a biological basis for dependency to certain drugs.
- Understand that certain drugs interfere selectively with neurotransmission.
- Describe two ways that drugs can increase dopamine levels in a synapse.
- Recognize that normal behaviors can activate the reward system in the brain and that drugs of abuse affect those same reward circuits.
KeywordsAddiction; substance use; neurotransmitter; synapse; neuron; dopamine; cocaine; drug dependency; chemical dependency; opiates
Topical AreasSocial issues
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division
Type / MethodsClicker, Interrupted
Subject HeadingsBiology (General) | Neuroscience | Physiology | Public Health |