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.
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.
Among the numerous definitions for addiction, there lies yet another to define it from a biochemical perspective. Milkman (1983) defines it as “self-induced changes in neurotransmission that result in social problem behaviors." This definition encompasses the psychological, biochemical and social aspects of addictive processes. It is not limited to substance abuse and can be applied to any activity characterized by compulsion, loss of control and continuation of the substance despite harm. This has helped investigators gain a better understanding of the nature of addiction.
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.
This research paper will evaluate the biological aspects of addictive substance or behavior and how it affects the brain and organs. Biological aspects include dopamine levels that are replaced in the brain due to the reward system being overtaken and the absorption rate of the drug once it is ingested will be discussed. The biological aspects are extensive and permanent if the individual does not get the help they need. Furthermore the clinical issues of addictive substance or behavior will be discussed along with medical treatments and ethical issues. This includes treatments such as counseling
According to the biological perspective, drug use may start off as casual, but through continued use, it produces changes in the brain that influences the onset and maintenance of drug addiction. (Horvath et al., 2013). Drugs have their most prominent effects on the function of neurotransmitters. Almost all major drugs of abuse activate the reward system and cause a flood in the levels of dopamine which is a neurotransmitter that is involved in pleasure. As a result, not only do people learn to associate drug use with pleasure, but the brain also starts to reduce its own natural dopamine production in adjustment to the levels of dopamine produced by the drugs. This is called tolerance, and the consequences of tolerance are highly influential
Brain chemistry is a detailed system that helps the brain to interact with the chemicals that moves important around the brain. Brain chemistry changes depending on what substance or how much of the substance is used. These changes can indicate signs of the beginning of an addiction over time if the drug use begins to get worst it can lead to dramatic changes in the brains over all chemistry. This example supports the theory of brain change ”‘when we elevated levels of ΔFosB in the NAc, the mice exhibited behaviors that are considered reliable indicators that exposing people to the same conditions would cause addiction: They showed more sensitivity to the drug (responded to doses one-third those required to produce a response in normal animals), self-administered more drug, and displayed greater drive (or craving) for cocaine (they worked two to three times as hard to get the drug) ().” The opposing side stated this as their disagreement “human psychology is simply the reflection of human neurophysiology. Thus, for instance, although the authors claim that their account of addiction is relatively 'skeptical,' and has less explanatory power than that of their opponents, they nevertheless seem to accept at least the possibility of a complete account, which will only come about as a result of 'further advances in biological and psychological science (Foxcroft, L. J.
Addiction is an epidemic in the United States of America. Yet out of all the addictive substances that are available to Americans, Alcohol has become the leading stimulant to flourish this outbreak. According to the 2014 Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration statistics, 60.9 million Americans considered themselves binge drinkers while 1 in 10 underage alcohol users, age 12 to 20, already themselves considered heavy alcohol users (SAMHSA, http://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf ). Since alcohol addiction can affect any socioeconomic status and any street corner in America, many Americans know a friend or a family member that has been struck by this epidemic. I myself am one of those Americans. Although my grandmother lost her battle to addiction more
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
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
This research paper is a compilation of information gathered during lectures and through the web on the Nervous System and the Reward Pathway. This paper examines the structure of these systems, their discovery and the effects that drugs have on influencing these systems and how addictions are formed.
Substance abuse and addiction have become a social problem that afflicts millions of individuals and disrupts the lives of their families and friends. Just one example reveals the extent of the problem: in the United States each year, more women and men die of smoking related lung cancer than of colon, breast and prostate cancers combined (Kola & Kruszynski, 2010). In addition to the personal impact of so much illness and early death, there are dire social costs: huge expenses for medical and social services; millions of hours lost in the workplace; elevated rates of crime associated with illicit drugs; and scores of children who are damaged by their parents’ substance abuse behavior (Lee, 2010). This paper will look at
The complexity of the human brain creates mystery when determining the influence of neurophysiological factors and their role in the process of addiction. There is a proposed relationship between drug addiction and the mesolimbic dopamine system, with the mesolimbic pathway from the ventral tegmental area to the nucleus accumbens considered the ‘reward centre’ of the human brain (Alcohol Rehab, 2011). A release of dopamine is necessary for ‘reward’ which is hypothesised to initiate the addiction cycle by providing positive reinforcement for drug self-administration (Feltenstein & See, 2009). Methamphetamine triggers the release of dopamine from synaptic vesicles which flood the synaptic cleft activating feelings of euphoria, well-being
The alcoholic beverage has remained an established element to society’s social world and has grown into a way of living. As alcohol continues to flourish in its prevalence among citizens of the United States, so does the concept of alcohol addiction. A person becomes addicted to alcohol when they “drink excessively and develops a dependence that results in noticeable mental disturbance, or an interference with bodily and mental health, their interpersonal relations, and their smooth social and economic functioning” (Calahan, 1970, pp. 3). In 2009, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reported that about 52% of Americans used alcohol at least once within 30 days of their survey. As the percentage of Americans who consume alcohol