The Effects Of Addiction On The Human Brain

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Addiction is a very controversial topic. I support the argument that addiction is in fact a disease. Many believe that once you’re addicted it is just a matter of hard work and willpower to overcome it. On a chemical level certain drugs can block receptor sites for neurotransmitters, which will then prompt the brain to create more sites thinking that it needs to make more sites for more neurotransmitters. This will leave a persons brain with too many open unnecessary receptor sites. Also some drugs can mimic certain neurotransmitters and fit into a receptor site and this is how your brain would make a person seem like they cannot live without that substance. Eventually after consistent use of an addicting substance a person’s body will ultimately end up gaining dependence on the abused substance. In the case of alcohol, scientific research shows that a certain signaling pathway in the human brain can be connected with alcohol dependence. A gene, called neurofibromatosis type 1, controls this specific pathway. Furthermore, neurofibromatosis controls gamma-amino butyric acid, a chemical in the brain that heightens feelings of relaxation and lowers anxiety. Scientists have found that this gene is associated with excessive drinking in mice. The central amygdala is significant in the decision making process, and also with addiction-related processes. This is where gamma-amino butyric is released in the central nervous system and has shown a significant change from recreational drinking to alcohol dependence. In experiments, it shows that mice with functional neurofibromatosis genes steadily increased ethanol intake. Being that alcohol has a plethora of negatives on the human body and brain this shows that the addiction to alco...

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... perform its job, which it was assigned to for its evolutionary history for its organism (Millikan, 1984). Just like liver disease counts as a disease because it threatens to interfere with the function of the liver. This however is also completely true for addiction in the case of threatening the brain’s function. Addiction steals the brain’s natural reward system and makes the brain have a new dependency on the substance that is abused (Satel & Lilienfeld, 2014). Once this happens addiction has threatened the brain’s natural functions. A person’s reaction might be affected; judgment might be affected depending on the type of substance that is being used. Many things in the brain can be impaired while a person is addicted, which disrupts the brain’s normal functions. This information helps fight the argument that addiction is indeed a brain disease.
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