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Addiction Science

It’s challenging for some to understand why addiction affects one individual and not the next.  In fact, even doctors and treatment professionals are sometimes at a loss of words when it comes to explaining the science behind addiction and what it is that makes some people become addicted to drugs or alcohol while others steer clear of the problem.  Scientific advances have helped doctors, treatment professionals and others to better understand the science behind addiction and continued research embarks on the consistent journey to discover more about what it is that causes addiction and addictive behaviors.

People of all ages suffer the harmful consequences of drug abuse and addiction.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, NIDA, estimates that the total cost of addiction to drugs, alcohol, nicotine and illegal substances is upwards of half a trillion dollars each year in America alone.  This includes the impact that drug abuse and addiction has on the economy, the criminal implications that arise from addiction, the medical needs that result and the overall social impact of addiction.  More than half a million people die as a result of addiction related causes each year in the United States.

The Science Behind Addiction

There are a number of ways that science has helped to provide solutions for those who are addicted to drugs or alcohol.  Scientists study the ways that drugs, alcohol and other substances affect the brain and how these chances impact human behavior.  The information that is gained helps in making better judgment calls when it comes to addiction treatment and also when it comes to finding new methods of helping people to effectively recover.

Addiction is a chronic disease that is characterized by changes in the brain which result in a compulsive desire to use a drug.  Through science, it has been determined that an individual’s risk of becoming addicted can be influenced by a number of factors including both genetics and environmental influence.  Addiction science focuses on taking a closer look at how all of these factors, everything from biology to the environment to family, influence people to used drugs or alcohol and to potentially become addicted.

Understanding How the Effects of Drugs on the Brain Cause Addiction

drug abuse and the brain

Regardless of the type of drug involved, addictive drugs all exert certain effects that increase the likelihood of ongoing drug use. Also known as psychoactive agents, these drugs are able to cross the blood-brain barrier, which gives them easy access to the brain’s workings. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, drug addiction creates….

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Is Cocaine Addictive?

cocaine abuse

Cocaine is one of the most highly addictive drugs in existence. It increases energy and alertness and produces such an intense euphoria that, once tried, many find hard to resist. Cocaine Addiction We’ve all heard about the rat studies where rats are given the choice between food and cocaine and they always choose the cocaine….

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Understanding the Disease Model of Addiction

addiction science

The disease model of addiction expresses that addiction is a brain disease. A brain disease which only gets worse as it progresses through various stages. The disease of addiction has no cure, but it can be treated. The answer to treatment is medical intervention (using medication-assisted treatment), abstinence (completely staying away from drugs) and sustained….

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Opiates and the Brain – How Addiction Happens

addiction science

Opiate addiction develops out of a series of changes that take place inside the brain. Over time, these changes alter the brain’s overall structures and chemical processes. As these alterations take shape, a vicious cycle of opiates and the brain ensues for as long as a person continues to use. According to the U. S…..

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Challenges You May Encounter in Drug Abuse Treatment

recovery from addiction

The decision to enter drug abuse treatment is, in essence, a decision to enter into a new way of life. After months or years of drug abuse, the damaging effects of drugs have created a negative quality of life that affects both a person’s physical and psychological well-being. According to the National Institute on Drug….

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Common Misconceptions about Addiction

There are many misconceived ideas about addiction that lead people to make poor choices or to overlook certain consequences when addiction is a factor. Though addiction is a science that is continuously being addressed, many of the original ideas and perceptions about this disease continue to stick around in the minds of both those addicted….

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Using Stem Cells to Study Alcohol Dependence

Dependence on alcohol

An estimated 14 million Americans – one in eight – are addicted to alcohol or will develop an alcohol use disorder. Yet despite the very high personal and economic costs, the vast majority of individuals with an alcohol use disorder never receive treatment. Researchers at the UConn Health Center are trying to do something about….

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Doctors want booze marketing ban

ban booze marketing

There should be a ban on all alcohol advertising, including sports and music sponsorship, doctors say. The British Medical Association said the crackdown on marketing was needed, along with an end to cut-price deals, to stop rising rates of consumption. The industry spends £800m a year on promoting drinks – just a quarter of which….

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Getting your fix at the doctor’s office

heroin addiction treatment program

A group of Canadian researchers has demonstrated the truth of a practice commonly used in European countries like The Netherlands and Switzerland: Heroin can be an effective treatment for chronic, relapsing heroin addicts. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the study is “the first rigorous test of the approach performed in North America,”….

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Substance abuse, schizophrenia and risk of violence

substance abuse and schizophrenia

A study published this week in the open access journal PLoS Medicine demonstrates that there is an association between schizophrenia and violence, but shows that this association is greatly increased by drug and alcohol abuse. Importantly, the study also finds that the risk of violence from patients with psychoses who also have substance use disorder….

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