Many people don't understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or. What is drug addiction? Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite. Addiction is a disease that affects your brain and behavior. When you're addicted to drugs, you can't resist the urge to use them, no matter how.
is Drug Addiction? What
People who are recovering from an addiction will be at risk for relapse for years and possibly for their whole lives. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioral therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients. More good news is that drug use and addiction are preventable. Results from NIDA-funded research have shown that prevention programs involving families, schools, communities, and the media are effective for preventing or reducing drug use and addiction.
Although personal events and cultural factors affect drug use trends, when young people view drug use as harmful, they tend to decrease their drug taking. Therefore, education and outreach are key in helping people understand the possible risks of drug use.
Teachers, parents, and health care providers have crucial roles in educating young people and preventing drug use and addiction. Understanding Drug Use and Addiction. National Institute on Drug Abuse website. Skip to main content. What Is drug addiction? Points to Remember Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences.
This is why drug addiction is also a relapsing disease. Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop. Relapse indicates the need for more or different treatment. Most drugs affect the brain's reward circuit by flooding it with the chemical messenger dopamine.
Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy activities, leading people to repeat the behavior again and again. Over time, the brain adjusts to the excess dopamine, which reduces the high that the person feels compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance.
Facing Addiction in America: Modified with permission from Volkow et al. These fMRI images compare the brain of an individual with a history of cocaine use disorder middle and right to the brain of an individual without a history of cocaine use left. The person who has had a cocaine use disorder has lower levels of the D2 dopamine receptor depicted in red in the striatum one month middle and four months right after stopping cocaine use compared to the non-user.
The level of dopamine receptors in the brain of the cocaine user are higher at the 4-month mark right , but have not returned to the levels observed in the non-user left. No single factor determines whether a person will become addicted to drugs.
Images of Brain Development in health Children and Teens Ages As the brain matures, experiences prune excess neural connections while strengthening those that are used more often. Many scientists think that this process contributes to the steady reduction in gray matter volume seen during adolescence depicted as the yellow to blue transition in the figure.
As environmental forces help determine which connections will wither and which will thrive, the brain circuits that emerge become more efficient. However, this is a process that can cut both ways because not all tasks are desirable.
The environment is like an artist who creates a sculpture by chipping away excess marble; and just like bad artists can produce bad art, environments with negative factors like drugs, malnutrition, bullying, or sleep deprivation can lead to efficient but potentially harmful circuits that conspire against a person's well-being.
Ordering Publications Call or: Need a tool to help people stay drug-free? Share This Badge Watch Video. Opioid Facts for Teens. Facts Parents Need to Know. Aggressive behavior in childhood 13, Lack of parental supervision 14, Capture rates enumerate the percentage of users who reported that they had become dependent to their respective drug at some point. Two factors have been identified as playing pivotal roles in psychological dependence: In the NAcc, CREB is activated by cyclic adenosine monophosphate cAMP immediately after a high and triggers changes in gene expression that affect proteins such as dynorphin ; dynorphin peptides reduce dopamine release into the NAcc by temporarily inhibiting the reward pathway.
A sustained activation of CREB thus forces a larger dose to be taken to reach the same effect. In addition, it leaves the user feeling generally depressed and dissatisfied, and unable to find pleasure in previously enjoyable activities, often leading to a return to the drug for another dose.
In addition to CREB, it is hypothesized that stress mechanisms play a role in dependence. Koob and Kreek have hypothesized that during drug use, CRF activates the hypothalamic—pituitary—adrenal axis HPA axis and other stress systems in the extended amygdala.
This activation influences the dysregulated emotional state associated with psychological dependence. They found that as drug use escalates, so does the presence of CRF in human cerebrospinal fluid. In rat models, the separate use of CRF inhibitors and CRF receptor antagonists both decreased self-administration of the drug of study. Other studies in this review showed dysregulation of other neuropeptides that affect the HPA axis, including enkephalin which is an endogenous opioid peptide that regulates pain.
Upregulation of the cAMP signal transduction pathway in the locus coeruleus by CREB has been implicated as the mechanism responsible for certain aspects of opioid-induced physical dependence. DSM-5 substance dependencies include:. Addiction is a complex but treatable condition.
It is characterized by compulsive drug craving, seeking, and use that persists even if the user is aware of severe adverse consequences. For some people, addiction becomes chronic, with periodic relapses even after long periods of abstinence.
As a chronic, relapsing disease, addiction may require continued treatments to increase the intervals between relapses and diminish their intensity.
While some with substance issues recover and lead fulfilling lives, others require ongoing additional support. The ultimate goal of addiction treatment is to enable an individual to manage their substance misuse; for some this may mean abstinence.
Immediate goals are often to reduce substance abuse, improve the patient's ability to function, and minimize the medical and social complications of substance abuse and their addiction; this is called " harm reduction ". Treatments for addiction vary widely according to the types of drugs involved, amount of drugs used, duration of the drug addiction, medical complications and the social needs of the individual. Determining the best type of recovery program for an addicted person depends on a number of factors, including: Many different ideas circulate regarding what is considered a successful outcome in the recovery from addiction.
Programs that emphasize controlled drinking exist for alcohol addiction. Opiate replacement therapy has been a medical standard of treatment for opioid addiction for many years.
Treatments and attitudes toward addiction vary widely among different countries. In the US and developing countries, the goal of commissioners of treatment for drug dependence is generally total abstinence from all drugs. Other countries, particularly in Europe, argue the aims of treatment for drug dependence are more complex, with treatment aims including reduction in use to the point that drug use no longer interferes with normal activities such as work and family commitments; shifting the addict away from more dangerous routes of drug administration such as injecting to safer routes such as oral administration; reduction in crime committed by drug addicts; and treatment of other comorbid conditions such as AIDS , hepatitis and mental health disorders.
These kinds of outcomes can be achieved without eliminating drug use completely. Drug treatment programs in Europe often report more favorable outcomes than those in the US because the criteria for measuring success are functional rather than abstinence-based. Residential drug treatment can be broadly divided into two camps: Twelve-step programs are a nonclinical support-group and faith-based approach to treating addiction.
Therapy typically involves the use of cognitive-behavioral therapy , an approach that looks at the relationship between thoughts, feelings and behaviors, addressing the root cause of maladaptive behavior. Cognitive-behavioral therapy treats addiction as a behavior rather than a disease, and so is subsequently curable, or rather, unlearnable.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy programs recognize that, for some individuals, controlled use is a more realistic possibility. One of many recovery methods are step recovery programs , with prominent examples including Alcoholics Anonymous , Narcotics Anonymous , Drug Addicts Anonymous  and Pills Anonymous. They are commonly known and used for a variety of addictions for the individual addicted and the family of the individual.
Substance-abuse rehabilitation rehab centers offer a residential treatment program for some of the more seriously addicted, in order to isolate the patient from drugs and interactions with other users and dealers. Outpatient clinics usually offer a combination of individual counseling and group counseling. Frequently, a physician or psychiatrist will prescribe medications in order to help patients cope with the side effects of their addiction.
Medications can help immensely with anxiety and insomnia, can treat underlying mental disorders cf. Behavioral programming is considered critical in helping those with addictions achieve abstinence.
From the applied behavior analysis literature and the behavioral psychology literature, several evidence based intervention programs have emerged: Community reinforcement has both efficacy and effectiveness data. Alternative therapies, such as acupuncture , are used by some practitioners to alleviate the symptoms of drug addiction. In , the American Medical Association AMA adopted as policy the following statement after a report on a number of alternative therapies including acupuncture:.
There is little evidence to confirm the safety or efficacy of most alternative therapies. Much of the information currently known about these therapies makes it clear that many have not been shown to be efficacious. Well-designed, stringently controlled research should be done to evaluate the efficacy of alternative therapies. However, a review of 48 clinical trials on alcohol, cocaine, nicotine, and opioid dependence showed that acupuncture has promising outcomes for craving and withdrawal, specifically through body acupuncture, electroacupuncture, and bilateral needling.
However, the effect of acupuncture on withdrawal was transient and thus needed to be repeated several times a day. Another alternative therapy for substance dependence is yoga and mindfulness-based therapies. Those struggling with addiction often feel disconnected from their bodies and use substances to block out any painful thoughts and experiences.
Thus, they may not be fully aware at the present moment. Mindfulness training can bring back awareness and allow individuals to more effectively manage those painful situations, rather than default to substance use as a coping mechanism. Mindfulness can be practiced in many forms, from becoming more engaged and alert on a daily basis to more formal meditation. Yoga is one form of "meditative movement" that can be effective in fostering emotion regulation and enable individuals to instill a greater sense of connection with their bodies.
This can help overcome any negative feelings of isolation and shame associated with addiction, as well as improve self-regulation. Biofeedback programs are another alternative method that can connect individuals to a technological device and enable them to track their body's physiological changes, such as heart rate, skin conductance, and muscle tension.
Neurofeedback is a branch of biofeedback technology that measures brain activity through EEG. By examining what factors may affect these parameters positively or negatively, individuals can train their mind and body to act in a certain way that will help enhance emotional, cognitive, physical and behavioral experiences.
Particularly, they can learn to better cope with emotional stress and develop skills in self-regulation, all of which can be beneficial in managing addiction. Medical professionals need to apply many techniques and approaches to help patients with substance related disorders. Using a psychodynamic approach is one of the techniques that psychologists use to solve addiction problems. In psychodynamic therapy, psychologists need to understand the conflicts and the needs of the addicted person, and also need to locate the defects of their ego and defense mechanisms.
Using this approach alone has proven to be ineffective in solving addiction problems. Cognitive and behavioral techniques should be integrated with psychodynamic approaches to achieve effective treatment for substance related disorders. Cognitive psychologists should zoom in to neural functions of the brain and understand that drugs have been manipulating the dopamine reward center of the brain. From this particular state of thinking, cognitive psychologists need to find ways to change the thought process of the addicted person.
There are two routes typically applied to a cognitive approach to substance abuse: Behavioral techniques have the widest application in treating substance related disorders. It uses the principle of pairing abused substances with unpleasant stimuli or conditions; for example, pairing pain, electrical shock, or nausea with alcohol consumption.
Psychologists tend to use an integration of all these approaches to produce reliable and effective treatment. With the advanced clinical use of medications, biological treatment is now considered to be one of the most efficient interventions that psychologists may use as treatment for those with substance dependence. Another approach is to use medicines that interfere with the functions of the drugs in the brain.
Similarly, one can also substitute the misused substance with a weaker, safer version to slowly taper the patient off of their dependence. Such is the case with Suboxone in the context of opioid dependence. These approaches are aimed at the process of detoxification. Medical professionals weigh the consequences of withdrawal symptoms against the risk of staying dependent on these substances. These withdrawal symptoms can be very difficult and painful times for patients.
What is Drug Addiction?
Drug addiction is a complex neurobiological disease that requires integrated treatment of the mind, body, and spirit. It is considered a brain. With drug addiction (substance use disorder), you can't control your use of legal or illegal drugs or alcohol and may continue using despite the. Drug addiction causes sufferers to experience physical and psychological dependency on illicit, mind-altering substances. Habitual drug use causes changes in.