Essay about Addiction and the Brain

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Addiction and the Brain

The ponderance that Brain = Behavior and the inherent ramifications of such proves no more fascinating than when addressed in the context of "Addiction and the Brain". Essential to consider is:

-what exactly is an addictive/abusive substance (drugs of abuse)

-what brain center(s)/chemical(s)are involved

-what does it mean to become physiologically dependent

-how should the concept of addiction be addressed

-how might we use animal models

-and what sort of treatment approaches should be pursued.

These questions will be elucidated briefly, while further information remains available at the web sources listed below.

A drug of abuse/addiction would be one which leads to "recurrent
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All drugs of abuse seem to activate DA release from these two areas although each drug family tends to work via drastically different psychopharmacological mechanisms.

Besides the obvious appeal of the "high" or elation, which occurs subsequent to drug administration, a greater influence leading to an increased dosage and necessitated use, would seem the acquisition of tolerance. There are three subtypes, pharmacokinetic/dispositional tolerance, pharmacodynamic tolerance, and behavioral tolerance which all prove relevant in the drugs of abuse, with the exception of the stimulants (cocaine, methylphenidate, etc). Pharmacokinetic tolerance refers to the changes in substance distribution due to the bodies metabolism of the drug, while pharmacodynamic tolerance addresses the adaptive changes which have taken place within the system thereby reducing the efficacy of the drug. The final, behavioral tolerance, seems perhaps at once the most confusing and most compelling. Behavioral tolerance has to do with the learned tolerance in relation to a specific situation and it's environmental cues by which the body adapts and prepares itself thus minimizing the drugs effect ( 6). Thus the physiological dependence, or the need to administer the drug in order to maintain even a state of normalcy, is a direct result of these developed tolerances. It is the re-setting of the bodies homeostatic mechanisms in order to adapt for the effect of

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