This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Understanding Addiction Essay

1096 words - 4 pages

Addiction is regarded by most as a social problem to be solved with social solutions, i.e. incarceration. But, scientific evidence argues otherwise: addiction is a brain disease. “The World Health Organization has defined addiction as ‘A state, psychic and sometimes also physical, resulting in the interaction between a living organism and a drug, characterized by behavioral and other responses that always include a compulsion to take the drug on a continuous or periodic basis in order to experience its psychic effects, and sometimes to avoid the discomfort of its absences. Tolerance may or may not be present’” (4). Interestingly though, this clinical condition has both behavioral and social components that need to be attended to, just as other disorders, such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s are treated. Furthermore, researchers argue that addicts should be viewed as victims, suffering from an altered brain state, just as schizophrenics are viewed (1).

Advances in the fields of neural and behavioral sciences have led to this new-found definition of addiction. Researchers have identified physical differences between the structure of an addict’s brain and the brain of a “non-addict,” implying that these habits are behaviors that alter pathways built by neurons and synapses, as well as altering the availability of recently identified receptors, gene expression, and even an addict’s responsiveness to his/her environment. Biologists have also uncovered elements common to all addiction, regardless of the substance that is being abused. Such standardization acts as a great advancement in treating the disease (1).

On that biological note, it is argued that addiction proliferates through the activation of the mesolimbic reward system, a pathway that is affected by all addictive substances, and one that completely mediates reinforcement, including the reinforcement of such artificial substances as drugs (2). This reinforcement does not always act in positive terms, seeing how it can eventually cause a victim to experience withdrawal: the physical effects felt when a substance to which the circuit is repeatedly exposed is absent; addicts respond so violently because that recurring contact with the addict’s substance of choice causes the nervous system to adapt to maintain a kind of homeostasis in the body that is constant when the drug is present. But, as soon as the drug is absent, the nervous system functions abnormally, which results in withdrawal symptoms (1, 2). A common misconception is that the withdrawal symptoms will be more severe for those drugs that are more highly addictive. Though this is not accurate, “the inherent abuse potential of a given substance is likely to reflect it’s ability to activate this reward pathway,” so that a drug’s “addiction level” can be seen directly in the mesolimbic reward pathway (2).

For example, cocaine, a heavy-hitting drug, does not cause typical withdrawal symptoms...

Find Another Essay On Understanding Addiction

Addiction Is What? Essay

861 words - 4 pages is curable for every person that possesses any addiction. Programs, classes, meeting, and therapists are available for poor coping and genetic disorders of addiction to overcome issues. This will only improve through scientific studies and research. Works Cited Hartney, Elizabeth. "Understanding the Aspects of Addiction." What is Addiction?., 9 Jan. 2014. Web. 7 Apr. 2014.

Research proposal on predictors of Internet addiction among Shanghai undergraduates

2009 words - 8 pages behavior of Internet users can be explained. The target population will be undergraduates who are currently studying in universities located in Shanghai.2. Research aim, research questions and research objectivesBased on the information stated earlier, the research aim of this project is to gain a better understanding of predictors of Internet addiction among Shanghai undergraduates. Accordingly, the research question and objectives are identified in

Bupropion, Naltrexone, and Food Addiction

3396 words - 14 pages addiction is therefore one of the causes of obesity and an important barrier to successful treatments, how to treat food addiction becomes an important consideration in treating obesity. According to Gearhardt et al. (2011), research into obesity and policies surrounding it should be shaped by this consideration, both as a way of understanding better the cause-effect relationship between food addiction and obesity, and of finding future treatments

Drug Strained Brain

1338 words - 6 pages avoid situations they do not wish to deal with. However we should not forget the more mundane excuses such as boredom and peer pressure. Today, more than twenty million Americans abuse drugs and alcohol. That is a huge figure that must be addressed. In order to help people, we need to answer the three main questions about addiction: what is addiction, what causes addiction, and how we can prevent addiction? We can do so by understanding and

Comparison of Models of Addiction

677 words - 3 pages be singled out as it enlightens people on the best ways to address the situation and the various recommendations that will in the long run be of importance to their well-being (Smith & Robbins, 2013). Addiction refers to a repeated indulgence in substance abuse or certain unhelpful activities for purposes of contentment. The indulgence brings about pleasure or a certain imagined value. Scientific research on addiction has led to the understanding

Video games addiction

988 words - 4 pages Adelaide Paul H. Delfabbro School of Psychology The University of Adelaide Mark D. Griffiths International Gaming Research Unit Psychology Division Nottingham Trent University, Recent innovations in video game addiction research and theory, Kimberly Young, The Center for Internet Addiction Recovery, Bradford, Pennsylvania, USA Understanding online gaming addiction and

Unusual Sexual Character Known as a Sex Addict

1686 words - 7 pages man and a woman. Addiction is known as a mental mind state where a person is enslaved to a habit. Sex addiction is a worldwide problem that is affecting many people’s understanding and concept of sex. In in the book, Sex, love, and mental illness: A Couple’s Guide to staying Connected stated “Although mental and sexual health are very important to a person's quality of life, they are both areas that are misunderstood and even neglected”( Buehler 7

Analysis of Being Sober by Doctor Harry Haroutunian

995 words - 4 pages outside of the AA book or 12 steps book. I have read and know a little bit about addiction but I’ve never taken the time to read a book about getting sober, getting through and living in recovery. The first chapter is about understanding addicts and alcoholics and how it is a disease that affects a person brain and understanding that addiction is not something that some people can just quit. I It is important to understand that there is more

The World of Addiction

1912 words - 8 pages psychologically or physically habit-forming, as narcotics, to such an extent that its cessation causes severe trauma.” Basically various doctors and therapist consider addiction to be a genetic disorder. “Provocative, controversial, unquestionably incomplete, the dopamine hypothesis provides a basic framework for understanding how a genetically encoded trait — such as a tendency to produce too little dopamine — might intersect with environmental influences

Drug Addiction as a Psychobiological Process

9066 words - 36 pages has been gained during the past 15 years regarding the neurobiological mechanisms mediating their addictive properties. Second, these two pharmacological classes represent the best examples of potent addictive drugs, and the elucidation of their addiction potential can provide a framework for understanding abuse and addiction to other psychotropic


1097 words - 5 pages freedom and happiness and I am understanding the word ‘serenity’ and learning to find peace.” (Recovery Works). Works Cited "Home | Alcoholism Addiction and Drug Addiction Treatment + Recovery, Long Term Residential Rehabilitation - Recovery Works - Ridge Spring, SCAlcoholism Addiction and Drug Addiction Treatment + Recovery, Long Term Residential Rehabilitation – Recovery Works – Ridge Spring, SC." Alcoholism Addiction and Drug Addiction

Similar Essays

Understanding Sexual Addiction Essay

1404 words - 6 pages The many personalities of this world are phenomenal because they are all so different. Not one individual is the same, and that is one thing that makes the human brain as fascinating as it is. The human brain is quite beautiful; unfortunately, biochemical or other brain changes can alter proper functioning of the human brain, leading to mental disorders or diseases. Sexual addiction, although not always recognized, is a severe condition which

Understanding The Neurological Effects Of Alcohol Addiction

999 words - 4 pages response to withdrawal symptoms and is approved for anti-craving therapy (Lesch et al., 2011). Another popular medication used in anti-craving therapy is Naltrexone which blocks certain opioid receptors in the brain. Naltrexone also indirectly inhibits the main neurotransmitter involved in addiction, dopamine, by reducing its’ release in the striatum which reduces the effects of ethanol on the brain(Lesch et al., 2011). Typical Allied Health

Is Addiction A Defect Of The Will Or Of The Body? Bryant &Stratton Engl102 Essay/Memo

635 words - 3 pages view. If I can change just one person’s opinion about addiction, then I will have been successful. The more people that take the time to truly understand the medical aspect of addiction, the more addicts we will be able to help. There are so many still sick and suffering addicts out there that need compassion and understanding instead of shaming and demoralizing so that they can feel safe asking for help. Addiction is a serious epidemic in our

Drug Addiction As A Disease Essay

1129 words - 5 pages . Works Cited • "Definition of Addiction." Definition of Addiction. American Society of Addiction Medicine, 19 Apr. 2011. Web. 31 Mar. 2014. . • "DrugFacts: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction." National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). N.p., Nov. 2012. Web. 01 Apr. 2014. . • Volkow, Nora, M.D. "The Brain: Understanding Neurobiology." The Brain—The Essence of Drug Addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse, n.d. Web. 01 Apr. 2014. .