Source of Harm in Addiction – “…turning on the opioid pathways in the brain—as … opioids do—can simultaneously dampen both pain and empathy.”

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Dulling pain may also reduce empathy…seeing others in pain engages some of the same neural pathways as when we ourselves are in pain. Moreover, both pain and empathy can be reduced by a placebo effect that acts on the same pathways as opioid painkillers, the researchers found…similar areas of the brain are activated when someone is in pain and when they see another person in pain.

But overlaps on a brain scan don’t necessarily mean the two function through identical pathways—the shared brain areas could relate to attention or emotional arousal, among other things, rather than pain itself.

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