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Review Article Open Access
Addiction is a chronic, relapsing disorder with genetic, biochemical and psychosocial antecedents. Chronic use of drugs of abuse results in characteristic biochemical changes in the mesolimbic pathway of the brain including reduced extracellular dopamine levels and down regulation of dopamine 2 receptors. Similar biochemical changes have been identified with consumption of high concentrations of sugar. Cross-sensitization between sugar and drugs of abuse has been demonstrated to occur. This raises the possibility that sugar could act as a gateway drug, increasing the subsequent risk of becoming addicted to drugs of abuse. This article examines the research that indicates sugar can act as a gateway drug.
Mesolimbic pathway, Dopamine, Homeostasis, Allostasis, Reward deficiency syndrome, Drug Addiction, Drug Addiction Treatment