Psychiatric Disorders: Addiction and Drug Dependence

explanatory Essay
1758 words
1758 words

Addiction is a complex psychiatric disorder that consists of social and psychological factors, but at its most basic level it is a biological process. Addiction may come in many forms, but its primary choice of substance is drugs. In particular, prescription medications in the form of pills have become a major health problem, not only to those addicted but the clinicians who prescribe them. In order to fully understand this disorder, considering what brain mechanisms and functions are involved with addiction, the next area to look into is the factors that make the prescription drugs so addictive, along with long term effects, and to discover any new treatment options out in practice today, whether it be through medicine and/or counseling.
According to Nutt (1997), rugs are used to produce alterations in brain function that act “on brain receptors and neurotransmitters” (p. 53). The areas of the brain where most of the drugs action takes place is beginning to be better understood in the past ten years, especially in the sense that drug abuse works through multiple mechanisms depending on the drug. Specifically looking at opioid abuse, the neurochemical action that takes place are agonists at the mu (µ) opioid receptors. Agonists mimic or increase the effects of a natural neurotransmitter. It often does this by binding to the receptor site triggering the same signals that the natural neurotransmitter would. The more an opioid does to interact with its designated receptor; the more efficient the agonist becomes (Nutt, 1997, p. 53). Simply, agonists work at a maximal efficiency.
Two major mechanisms have been found in the brain that mediates drug addiction - the dopamine and endogenous opioid systems. The release of dopamine from...

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...ld be reduced medically, but cannot be done because of their addictive demeanor. Long term use in addicts of prescription medication does have long lasting effects on brain function and neuron connections within the brain. This is because of the rapid firing of opioid receptors that are being mimicked by the opioid drug of choice, and eventually these connections will die off.
New treatments must be made by realizing drug dependence coexists with habits that must be changed. This must, and can happen with long term supportive health with both clinical practices, and new-evidence based treatments such as Buprenorphine/naloxone rather than Methadone. This type of intervention will work in an extraordinary way with addicts and their sobriety. Intervention of both the physicians and addicts practices of opioid misuse would change the course of a deadly prescription.

In this essay, the author

  • Explains that opioid receptors are widely distributed throughout the central nervous system and peripheral tissues.
  • Explains that opioid dependence occurs when the first dose was not enough, or when desensitization occurs. opioids act by attaching to specific proteins called opioid receptors, which reduce the perception of pain.
  • Explains that buprenorphine/naloxone detoxifies the patient, allowing an alleviated response to withdrawal symptoms, and inhibiting the misuse of the addicted drug.
  • Explains that addiction is a complex psychiatric disorder that consists of social and psychological factors, but at its most basic level it is biological.
  • Explains that the tolerance state of drug addiction reduces the fast-acting euphoria while taking opioids, which is closely linked to reinforcement, but is not the sole reason for the use of drugs.
  • Explains that drug dependence and abuse is an up-and-coming public health issue, which has called attention to researchers to identify the areas of the brain affected.
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