Addiction Essay

1287 Words6 Pages
An addiction is the fact or condition of being physically and mentally dependent to a particular substance or activity. The two main types of addiction are behavioural based addictions, e.g. gambling, and substance dependant addiction, and they are both influenced by many different factors. In the UK, statistics from the National Drug Treatment Monitoring System shows that in 2011-2012, 197,110 people aged 18 and above were in treatment for drug abuse and addiction. An addiction not only can affect and ruin an individual’s health and quality of life, but it has wider reaching effects, as the individual may be seen as a burden or threat on their family and friends as well as the health care system and surrounding society. This report will be focusing on substance dependant addiction, mainly drugs and alcohol, and the risk factors making people more susceptible to it. In this report I will ask and address the following questions: Are there genetic, environmental or neurobiological factors which make some people particularly vulnerable to becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol? And, how do these factors interact? Although I shall mainly be covering in detail the genetic, neurobiological and some environmental factors explaining why some people are more likely to develop addictions than others, I shall briefly mention some other risk factors and explain how they may lead to addictions. Substance dependant addicts no longer experience pleasure from taking the substance they are addicted to and only take it to avoid the harsh withdrawal symptoms. The table below states the different risk factors influencing addiction and briefly explains how they are linked to addiction. Risk factors Link to addiction Genetics Inherited Genes The g... ... middle of paper ... ...l responses and links them with memories. The dopamine build up in the nucleus accumbens (NAc) in the limbic system produces powerful feelings of pleasure because cocaine causes an unnaturally high number of dopamine-receptor complexes to form in the NAc. There are two important memory centres in this system located in the hippocampus and amygdala. Under the influence of cocaine memories of the pleasure, people, places and other thing associated with cocaine experience are imprinted in these memory centres. When coming across these cues again it can trigger cravings to repeat the experience. This can lead onto compulsive behaviour to keep taking cocaine. The frontal cortex of the limbic system can stop the other regions of the limbic regions creating a desire to take cocaine, however if this becomes impaired, it is unlikely to overcome ones urges for cocaine abuse.

More about Addiction Essay

Open Document