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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.

Alcholic dementia often overlooked

Alcoholic dementia is often an overlooked type of memory dysfunction. It is estimated that about 8 percent of people in the U.S. over age 65 may have an alcohol abuse problem. Sixty percent of the elderly drink and 5 to 10 percent are binge drinkers. It may be hard to believe, but Medicare, which is….

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Prenatal Cocaine Exposure May Compromise Neurocognitive Development During Middle Childhood

Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) have found that heavier intrauterine cocaine exposure (IUCE) is associated with mild compromise on selective areas of neurocognitive development during middle childhood. The BUSM study appears in the May issue of Neurotoxicology and Teratology. BUSM researchers evaluated whether the level of IUCE or the interaction between IUCE….

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Is Medical Advice On Prenatal Alcohol Use Really Acurate?

A medico-legal professional in the Journal of Medical Ethics states that advice given by many doctors on drinking during pregnancy is condescending and morally uncertain, including the recommendations of the Chief Medical Officer for England and the British Medical Association (BMA). Unlike heavy drinking, when consumption is reasonable and moderate, studies still do not conclude….

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Research finds gene bringing together animal and human research in alcoholism

An important genetic study conducted through Mayo Clinic has identified vital new information concerning alcoholism in subjects with European ancestry, according to a recent issue of Alcohol: Clinical and Experimental Research. Research findings indicate that alcohol dependence is highly inheritable, although specific genes and their variations associated with this illness remain unknown. Animal model studies….

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The Disease Model of Addiction

The The Disease Model of Addiction

If I went to my doctor with a set of symptoms, no one would question the fact that I was sick. No one would impose a moral judgment on me for having those symptoms, and I wouldn’t be viewed as a law breaker for being ill. But many people reject the idea of addiction as….

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Drinkers’ Red Face May Signal Cancer Risk

People whose faces turn red when they drink alcohol may be facing more than embarrassment. The flushing may indicate an increased risk for a deadly throat cancer, researchers report. The flushing response, which may be accompanied by nausea and a rapid heartbeat, is caused mainly by an inherited deficiency in an enzyme called ALDH2, a….

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The brain maintains language skills in spite of alcohol damage by drawing from other regions

Researchers know that alcoholism can damage the brain’s frontal lobes and cerebellum, regions involved in language processing. Nonetheless, alcoholics’ language skills appear to be relatively spared from alcohol’s damaging effects. New findings suggest the brain maintains language skills by drawing upon other systems that would normally be used to perform other tasks simultaneously. Prior neuroimaging….

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One-shot feedback session helps problem drinkers

A single brief intervention that gives problem drinkers personalized feedback can help reduce their alcohol use, new research from the Netherlands shows. Dr. Heleen Riper of the Trimbos Institute in Utrecht and her colleagues looked at 14 studies of such interventions, including a total of 3,682 people. For every eight people who participated, they found,….

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Alcohol's Effects: Old vs. Young People

Study Shows Older People Less Likely to Realize How Alcohol Is Affecting Them Social drinking seems to impair older people more than their younger drinking buddies. Also, older people are less likely to realize how the alcohol is affecting them, according to a new study. The study, published in The Journal of Studies on Alcohol….

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