Description of Substance Abuse Disorders Essay

Description of Substance Abuse Disorders Essay

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The National Institute on Drug Abuse defines addiction as a, “chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. From this it considers addiction as a brain disease because drugs change the brain - they change its structure and how it works.” Changes in the brain can be long lasting as well as having the possibility of leading to progress the harmful behaviors demonstrated in people who abuse substances.. In the past decade, there has been an escalating awareness by the scientific community that substance abuse disorders are medical disorders with biologic, chemical, and environmental causes. Where as in the past substance abuse and addiction had been considered solely behavioral problems, there is now a consistent body of evidence that these disorders actually have more extensive effects and can worsen preexisting medical conditions, temporarily mimic certain psychiatric disorders, and cause other medical problems. “Moreover, substance use disorders are common: the lifetime prevalence of these syndromes, including alcoholism, is over 20% for men and about 15% for women, with young and middle-aged persons most heavily affected. On any given day, the average clinician is likely to see patients with substance use disorders and related problems.” (Moeller)
Among the many definitions of addiction, there is yet another that defines it from a biochemical perspective. Professor of Psychology and author Harry B. Milkman defines addiction as " self-induced changes in neurotransmission that result in social problem behaviors." This definition touches on the psychological, biochemical and social aspects of addictive processes. “It is not limited specifically to substance...

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...y Information, “Clinical and laboratory observations have converged on the hypothesis that addiction represents the pathological usurpation of neural processes that normally serve reward-related learning.” The major substrates of persistent compulsive drug use are hypothesized to be molecular and cellular mechanisms that underlie long-term associative memories in several forebrain circuits (involving the ventral and dorsal striatum and prefrontal cortex) that receive input from midbrain dopamine neurons.
Addiction is a disease that may affect the psychology of the brain but that is due to the chemical effects of the drug abuse on the human body. Though in my opinion, it seems you cannot have one without the other, since the assignment was to chose one side over the other I would say that the cause of addiction is mostly physiological as opposed to psychological.

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