The Relationship Between Drug Abuse and Excessive Food Consumption

1674 WordsFeb 21, 20187 Pages
In seminar, we discussed the relationship between drug addiction and excessive food consumption. In particular, we remarked that drugs of abuse hi jack the reward pathway that evolved for hedonic food consumption. Drugs such as cocaine cause excess dopamine released in the Nucleus Accumbens, which results in a feeling of extreme pleasure. Over time, the pleasure derived from the drug decreases due to synaptic adjustment and the addict is in a state of anhedonia (lack of pleasure). Chronic drug use is motivated by a compulsive need to administer the drug and avoid anhedonia. Addicts that successfully abstain from the drug, even after a long period of time, are still at risk of relapsing. Drug users report immense drug cravings when they come across cues that remind them of the drug. These environmental cues trigger drug cravings by placing the addict in a state of anhedonia in anticipation of the drug. It is believed that these cue dependent cravings are due to permanent structural changes at the synapses level. We can view these changes as a form of associative learning between environmental cues and the pleasure (or reward) derived from the drug. I propose that we view drug addiction as a memory problem, wherein continued drug administration is a result of maladaptive learning. If we frame drug addiction as a memory problem, we might be able to think of novel treatment methods. The biggest obstacle in overcoming addiction is the high incidence of relapse. If we can remove

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