I am a third-year undergraduate Psychology student at American University. After taking Dr. Riley's Drugs and Behavior course last semester, I wanted to learn more about the different cycles of drug use and drug abuse and develop a better understanding of how addiction works at both a psychological and biological level. After I finish my undergraduate degree, I plan on getting my Psy. D. and either practicing clinical psychology or becoming an addiction specialist.
The research study on which I am currently working on, led by Matthew Clasen, is examining the relationship between Western diet consumption (and obesity) and drug use (and addiction). Previous research has shown that while these are two different stimuli, they both produce a effects on the mesolimbic system. Most of the research done on this particular relationship has used a diet that is high only in fat content, but we want to test this model with a more westernized diet, consisting of foods that are high in fat, saturated fat, carbohydrates and sugars to produce a model that is more translatable to human behavior.