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Cognition is a complex of biological discoveries, behavioral theories and experimental discoveries. As such all its components have various models and hypotheses explaining the processes. Some components of cognition include memory, attention, and implicit and explicit functions. The effect of drugs to impair cognition has been researched extensively and all major substances of abuse have been found to affect cognition. Most accomplish this through their toxicity to the brain cells while others cause adaptability and hyper functioning of certain areas of the brain involved in decision making, reward, and impulsiveness.
These findings were initially theories based on experimental models and biochemical reactions. However, newer techniques of imaging and measuring brain activity, as well as development of sensitive tests that measure and evaluate aspects of cognition have provided proof. Detailed knowledge about addiction and the mechanism of dependence, abuse, craving and loss of control allow development of interventions that target the different processes of cognition, thereby preventing further damage and helping with the addiction. The detail also enables tailoring of these interventions according to the individual’s level of impairment thereby maximizing success and reducing relapse. A combination of pharmacological and behavioral therapy ensures maximal success in treating addiction.