Addiction is a chronic brain disease that often results in some sort of relapse. Addiction is characterized by inability to control drug use which results in problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships. This disease causes compulsive behaviors such as the need to use drugs despite the many harmful consequences that affect the addicted individual and those around him or her. Although for most people, the initial decision to use drugs is a one time lapse in judgement, the brain is easily affected by these drugs if the person decides to use these drugs multiple times. The changes that occur to the brain over time will cause the addicted person’s ability to resist the intense impulses of drugs to be altered causing the addict to often give into the temptation of these drugs. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death. Drug addiction is an issue that many people deal with whether they are the addict or the addict is their loved one; but with a good source of support anyone can over come the challenges and consequences of addiction.
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:
Addiction is a disease that causes individuals to be compulsive and seek for substances in order to relieve craving. Addiction is commonly associated with drugs and is a great concern to the well beings of people around the world. The physiological and psychological effects of drug addiction can be deadly. Mood swings, hallucinations, and confusion are common physiology side effects, while psychological effects include inevitable depression, cravings, paranoia, and anxiety. By researching and gathering more data about substance addiction, it could lead to a decrease in the number of deaths associated to drug abuse and find healthier alternatives.
To understand addiction further, it is important to look at how drugs have neurological effects in a human body. Drugs can be ingested in various ways; while some are taken orally, some are smoked (cannabis) while others are injected directly into the blood stream (Heroin). Once in the body, they mainly affect the reward pathway in the brain, known as the dopaminergic pathway, which in turn gives pleasure. Even though all drugs affect the reward and motivation pathways in the brain, their speed depends on the way the drug has been consumed. Over constant use of drugs, the cognitive functions are impaired as the effects become more prominent in learning, memory
It is believed that certain individuals are predisposed or vulnerable to addiction based on biological, psychological and social influences. The euphoric high produced by many addictive substances is the result of overstimulation of the “pleasure center” of the brain. This is the same area that controls emotions, fear, self-control and overall feelings of wellness. The presence of these foreign chemicals creates a response that the brain will crave as soon as it fades. The brain’s chemistry works against its own health, as it rewires its decision making faculties around the primary goal of finding and taking more of the drug” (1). Many people mistakenly believe that psychological addiction is somehow less serious or real than physical addiction. The psychological aspects of addiction are much more challenging to repair and recover from than the physical addiction. Psychological addiction can last for years or even a lifetime.
In order to successfully decrease the cases of drug addiction, society needs to remember that we cannot change the physiological effects of drugs, but we can prevent individuals from turning into them. In other words, the primary focus should be on the individual and not the drug.
According to Drugabuse.gov, Drug addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. Addiction is viewed as brain disease due to the changes that are going on in the brain due to the usage of the drugs, so it alters the structure and how it regularly functions. However, after reading Maia Szalavitz book, “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary new way of understanding addiction (2016)”, she has a unique view of what brain addiction is and her experience with addiction. In her novel, she views addiction as a learning disorder, like in her case it started early on in her as a child learning to be addicted to other things that develop habits of pleasure, reaction that makes up their addiction. Her memoir is her personal experience with addiction with using reputable journals and study to convey her point on what her rollercoaster with addictions has been starting early on in early childhood.
As results of scientific research, we know that addiction is a disease that affects both the brain and behavior. A disease is an interruption, cessation, or disorder of a body system, or organ structure, or function; according to Stedman’s Medical Dictionary. (Sheff ,2013) cites, the disease od addiction has an etiologic agent, identified by a group of signs and symptoms or consistent anatomic alterations. There are significant changes in the brain. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) states that addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward motivation, memory and related circuitry. Dysfunction in these circuits leads to characteristics biological, psychological, social and spiritual manifestations. This is reflected in an individual pathology pursuing reward and /or relief by substance use and other behaviors. (Addiction is characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment of behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships and dysfunctional emotional responses. Like other chronic diseases, addiction often involves cycles of relapse, and remission. Without treatment or engagement in recovery activities, addiction is progressive and can result in disability or premature death. (ASAM Adopted as Policy, February
Addiction is when a person cannot stop abusing a drug or substance, even if they want to quit. The effects from continuing drug use take over the mind and body. Drug addiction is classified as a "relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the drug addict and those around them" (NIDA 4). Repeated drug use leads to addiction, which then leads to a disease that changes the brain (CDC).
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse 2014, the disease model addiction is considered a brain disease that can affect multiple circuits in the brain, which involve motivation, learning, memory and inhibitory control over one’s behavior. Because drug addiction and abuse have so many dimensions and disrupts aspects of one’s life, treatment is just not that simple. Addiction treatment must be able to stop an individual from using drugs and continuously maintain a drug free lifestyle, and achieve productive functioning in working, family and society. Because a person’s addiction is typically considered a chronic disease, those who have the disease cannot simply stop using drugs in a few days and totally be cured. Some require long-term and repeated episodes of care to be able to achieve one’s ultimate goal of sustaining abstinence and recovery of their lives. A report conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), the
Drug addiction is a brain disease because drugs change the brain’s structure and how they work. Over a period of time drugs start to affect the brain by challenging an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs. “Most drugs affect the brain's reward circuit by flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine. This overstimulation of the reward circuit causes the intensely pleasurable "high" that leads people to take a drug again and again. Over time, the brain adjusts to the excess dopamine, which reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance. They might take more of the drug, trying to achieve the same dopamine high.”, States National Institute on Drug Abuse. After long term use of drugs it affects functions such as learning, judgment, decision-making, stress, memory, and behavior. Even though an addict knows this, they still use
Is addiction a brain disease? The definition of disease is a disorder in an organism that produces specific signs/symptoms that affects a specific location and isn’t a direct result of any kind of physical injury. Addiction is a compulsive need for any substance or service that can cause a person or organism to form a habit, and is a chronic disease of brain reward and causes dysfunctions in the circuits. Addiction is also characterized by the inability to consistently abstain impairment in behavioral control. The idea that addiction is a brain disease is just about universally accepted among scientist that focus on addiction (Corrigan,2008). However few believe that addiction is not a brain disease because they claim that neural dysfunction is not sufficient for disease. (NCBI, 2012). Some agree that addiction occurs in the brain but should not be considered a brain disease or a disease at all(Lawrence 2013). Substance abuse is the most common addiction that people base their decision upon. These drugs affect the brain and cause different reactions to the rest of the of the body. The types of drugs include: hallucinogens, opioids, sedatives, stimulants, etc. cause different
Although, in the past, I’ve had clients state that their environment is a leading contributor to their addiction. There is no proof of a switch that is turned on by acute or chronic drug use. My overall theory regarding the brain disease hypotheses is that it helps to reduce the stigma associated with drug abuse and help to lift some of the blame off addicts. The lack of supporting evidence makes it difficult to solely suggest that drug addiction is a brain diesis although it leads to specific changes in the
Studying and developing the biology of addiction allows us to understand the science behind the brain disease. Through years of research, science have found that a consistent usage of substance can actually alter the brain’s function. Substances interfere with major neurotransmitter systems such as dopamine, serotonin, GABA and glutamate. Unfortunately, this makes being “able to successfully maintain a year of sobriety.” extremely difficult which involves “three or four false starts.” (p.38) Michael Dennis of Chestnut Health Systems comments “That can often take eight or nine years.”(p.38) In fact, the change in the brain’s shape is affected by the overuse of substances. Their path to recovery may be thought to be difficult due to the government