Drug overdose deaths are at an all-time high. They are also responsible for more deaths than vehicle crashes and firearms, uncombined. In order to understand the drug addiction crisis in the United States it is imperative to understand the meaning of addiction, addictive drugs, those affected, contributing factors, and prevention along with rehabilitation. Addiction is very complex, and it is important to recognize how people can become addicted to things. Despite beliefs, addicts are not merely individuals who lack morals or self-control. It is not quite as simple as just choosing to not do something. According to the American Society to Addiction Medicine, “Addiction is a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry… Addiction is often characterized by inability to consistently abstain, impairment in behavioral control, craving, diminished recognition of significant problems with one’s behaviors and interpersonal relationships, and dysfunctional emotional response.” Drug usage and abuse mainly affects the reward circuit of the brain. The reward circuit is responsible for the body’s ability to feel pleasure. Drugs cause the reward system to be flooded with dopamine, and this overstimulation causes a “high”. This, in turn, leads the brain to adjust to excess dopamine. Due to drugs altering brain chemistry, drug addiction is classified as a chronic disease. A chronic disease like this can also disturb learning, judgement, stress,
Click here to unlock this and over one million essaysGet Access
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.
Most people do not completely know the definition of drug use and addiction, or the treatments that can be provided to stop it. The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as “addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.” (National Institute on Drug Abuse). This definition gives an accurate representation of what addiction is, and how it can be such a serious problem. As given by the definition, addiction is a chronic disease, and when you have an addiction it is extremely difficult to quit. “Drug addiction is a complex disease”. It later goes on to state that “brain changes can be persistent, which is why drug addiction is considered a “relapsing” disease.” (National Institute on Drug Abuse). This shows why people
There have been several news coverages on TV and social network about drug overdose of different cases recently and they have risen people’s concern about the problems of drug abuse national-wide. The drug abuse and opioid epidemic is not a new problem to the American society, actually it has been a serious problem for many years. So what is the situation of drug epidemic now, and how can we find effective ways to deal with this problem? A few writers who ponder this question are Nora D. Volkow, Dan Nolan and Chris Amico.
Brain chemistry can affect different addicts more then others. Drugs and alcohol are more of the main addictions that brain chemistry affects. Once taking these addictive substances your internal natural drug dopamine is lowers causing you to seek more external addictive substances. This causes craving and makes it a lot harder for the addict to stop. In Olds and Milner’s later experiments, they allowed the rats to press a particular lever to arouse themselves, to the effect that they would press it as much as seven-hundred times per hour. This region soon came to be known as the "pleasure center". Using drugs and alcohol stimulates the pleasure center in the brain that makes your brain think, “feels good- want more“. This can make it increasingly harder for an addict to stop using, until they hit a point called “rock bottom”. This is where choice comes back into play.
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
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
Across all addictions, there is a central theory as to how such an addiction can occur. The common mechanism of all addictive substances is the activation of the brain’s “reward system”, made up of dopaminergic neurons of the midbrain and their extensions to the limbic system (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3272277/). This system is normally used in advancing evolutionary fitness promoting activity, such as sex, food, or social interactions (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3272277/). In such normal natural behaviors, the reward system activity is relatively brief and weak. However, addictive substances abuse the system’s circuitry, causing
Basic neurobiological research has improved our understanding of the biological and genetic causes of addiction. These findings have helped establish addiction as a biological brain disease that is chronic and relapsing in nature (Leshner, 1997). As the central nervous system is considered to be the communication pathway to the entire body with the brain being its control mechanism. The brain processes sensory information from throughout the body, guides muscle movement and locomotion, regulates a multitude of bodily functions, forms thoughts and feelings, modulates perception and moods, and essentially controls all behavior (Leshner, 1997). The body and brain then become defendant on this stimuli, as the body and brain adjust to the rewards of receiving this type of sensation. This is where the substance abuse and addiction problems
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
Monique, interesting reply addiction in the family can cause both short term and long term harmful affects .You mentioned the harsh affects of substance abuse often have on youngsters; which in my opinion can be very devastating on a child/children. I have seen it recently firsthand. Your post reminds me of a case that was bought before the judge where a young lady had been using a heavy substance for quite some time now and had 3 small children ages 3-1 years of age. Some one had reported how the Mom often left the children home unattended quite often: roaming the neighbor hood, in need of food and unkempt. The case was bought before the judge due reckless behavior. The women was taken away by authorities and her 3 small children given over to child protective services due to neglect, until they could find relatives to take them in for a few months or until the mother agreed to straighten out her life.
Drugs are chemicals that interfere with nerve cells, neurons, that are placed within the brain. Drugs, such as Cannabis and Heroin, hack into the communication system and tamper with how the neurons process, seize, and hand out information. The brain is a living organ with a function just like any other organ in the body; the brain is the control room of the system. With the use of drugs and damaging the control room, the body slowly starts to shut down and take a lengthy time to process ideas in the mind. The addiction works a little like this: dopamine-embracing neurons broadcast messages containing information about pleasure through their nerve fibers to nerve cells in a limbic system structure labeled the nucleus accumbens.
“The overstimulation of this reward system, which normally responds to natural behaviors linked to survival (eating, spending time with loved ones, etc.), produces euphoric effects in response to psychoactive drugs. This reaction sets in motion a reinforcing pattern that “teaches” people to repeat the rewarding behavior of abusing drugs ”(“Understanding Drug Abuse). Using addictive drugs floods the limbic brain with dopamine, taking it up to as much as five or ten times the normal level. A person with elevated dopamine levels now has a brain that begins to associate the substance with an outside neurochemical reward (“Your Brain on Drugs”). As a person continues to abuse drugs, the brain adapts to the overwhelming surges in dopamine by producing less dopamine or by reducing the number of dopamine receptors in the reward circuit. The result is a lessening of dopamine’s impact on the reward circuit, which reduces the abuser’s ability to enjoy the drugs, as well as the events in life that previously brought pleasure. The decrease in normal dopamine levels encourages the addict to keep abusing drugs in an attempt to bring the dopamine function back to normal, except now larger amounts of the drug are required to achieve the same dopamine high, an effect known as tolerance (“Understanding Drug Abuse ). That is what leads to the state of addiction, which leaves the person in a cycle of craving, using, withdrawal, and relapse.
Drug addiction is influenced by many factors. Not only does the brain change when taking constant doses of a certain drug, but life as you know it changes to. Drugs are misleading they cause you to think that your life is becoming better, when it actually is becoming much worse. “Fooling” is what drugs do best; they fool the brains receptors by sending abnormal messages to the brain. After all, what good really comes from drugs? When someone starts taking it they just simply can’t stop, even if they wanted to. However, if they actually do stop there are many side effects to this, “persistent vulnerability to relapse long after drug taking has ceased”. They lose total control over their brain and bodies. How lamentable is it watching someone’s life shatter in to pieces right in front of your eyes, and there’s nothing you can do about it. How sad is it knowing they had a reason for living before this all began, that they wanted to actually achieve something before they leave this world. All the drug dosage did was completely destroy them. Hence, drug addiction leads to greed, treachery, murder; dreams fall to pieces and life is nothing but a living hell.
There are many programs provided in Australia and many other countries that have a high success rate. These are the programs that should be modeled after for the simple fact that they work and provide long term effects for the patients in most cases. In regards to drug treatment programs, we have a lot of work to do. In reality, the ideal thing would be to start from scratch and move on, but that is not reality. Something needs to be done and fast or the issue will only get worse. Drug abuse has a stigma that follows it and this stigma is not good. It 's very negative. People label drug users/abuser very negatively and this is not motivating for the person to go get help. They will do what the label says that they are capable of. The first step, that needs to be taken to even start improving the drug treatment system is to try to get rid of this stigma. People have to realize that just like anyone else with a medical issue, people with drug abuse issues also have a serious problem and they need help. Instead of shunning them out of our society and telling them that they do not belong or fit, they need to be included and told that they matter and can function in society. There needs to be more of a positive view on this issue and instead of putting people down, we need to help them get up and this is probably yah most difficult piece we encounter. It 's hard to change people and their views on an issue. Once you think one thing, it 's is very hard to change a thought process.