Essay about What is Addiction, and What Causes it?

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What is Addiction, and What Causes it? When a mother brings her young son along with her to a methadone clinic for her daily dose, each nurse and staff members looks upon the little boy with worry. Is this child in risk of falling into the same patterns simply because his mother will find it difficult to teach him differently? Or, is he predisposed to drug dependence due to his own DNA? While drug dependency has not yet been reduced to a few "undesirable" genes in the human genome, most, if not all, scientists will agree that the risk of drug dependence is largely heritable. Why does drug dependency depend on genetics, and are there environmental factors as well? The first step towards understanding drug addiction is finding an…show more content…
Withdrawal can set in as soon as 8 hours after previous heroin use, and can include any of the following symptoms: drug craving, restlessness, muscle and bone pain, insomnia, diarrhea and vomiting, kicking movements, goose bumps, and depression (3). One question that arises from this discussion is, if heroin produces these effects on the central nervous system, then why are some people more likely to become addicted than others? Wouldn't everyone eventually become addicted to the drug? One possible answer to this question is that while everyone has the potential to develop a heroin dependency, some people may be more likely to do so, or may have a more severe problem with the addiction. For example, some people may have greater difficulty synthesizing endorphins and therefore would have more trouble forcing their bodies to make it on its own. In addition, some people are more likely to fall into depression which influences drug use. If a person has high cortisol levels to begin with (which influence depression), he or she may become more severely depressed and therefore have a more difficult withdrawal period (4). It is also possible that heroin addiction is similar to alcohol dependence, which has been found to be genetic. For example, children of alcoholics are said to be 4 times as likely to become alcoholics as opposed to people without family history of alcoholism. However, part of this amount of risk can be accounted for by environmental
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