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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.

Daily aspirin use may cut risk of common breast cancer

Taking aspirin daily may reduce a woman’s risk of developing a common type of breast cancer, say American researchers. The team, led by Gretchen Gierach, found that intake of aspirin was linked to a small reduction in oestrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancers. The discovery is important as around 75 per cent of cancers are oestrogen….

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Brain imaging study offers insight into alcohol's effect on brain

A new brain imaging study has provided insight into alcohol’s effect on the brain. The study showed that after consuming alcohol, social drinkers had decreased sensitivity in brain regions involved in detecting threats, and increased activity in brain regions involved in reward. This is the first human brain imaging study of alcohol’s effect on the….

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Virtual world therapeautic for addicts: UH study shows

Patients in therapy to overcome addictions have a new arena to test their coping skills—the virtual world. A new study by University of Houston Associate Professor Patrick Bordnick found that a virtual reality (VR) environment can provide the climate necessary to spark an alcohol craving so that patients can practice how to say “no” in….

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Anti-addiction drugs linked to depression

Pills that aimed to help people quit smoking, lose weight and kick other tough addictions, have been found to block the body’s pleasure centres, possibly raising the risk of depression and suicide. Margaret Bastian was among patients who reported problems with Chantix, a highly touted quit-smoking pill from Pfizer Inc, which has been linked to….

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Medical-marijuana use can block chance at transplant

Timothy Garon’s face and arms are hauntingly skeletal, but the fluid building up in his abdomen makes the 56-year-old musician look eight months pregnant. His liver, ravaged by hepatitis C, is failing. Without a new one, his doctors tell him, he will be dead in days. But Garon has been refused a spot on the….

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Why should we care about cannabis?

Approximately 4 per cent of the world’s adults – some 162 million people – use cannabis every year, making it the world’s most widely used illicit drug. In some countries, more than half of all young people have tried it. In spite of this high rate of usage, many basic facts about cannabis remain obscure…..

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Cancer Immunotherapy Shows Long-Term Promise In Lung Cancer

New, long-term results from a clinical trial presented today at the 1st European Lung Cancer Conference jointly organized by the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the International Association of the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) show that MAGE-A3 ASCI (Antigen-Specific Cancer Immunotherapeutic), an immune-boosting treatment for lung cancer patients, reduces the risk of….

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Aripiprazole may be effective for alcohol addiction

A drug used to treat the symptoms of psychosis in patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder may also be a useful medication for individuals who are addicted to alcohol, findings published in Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research suggest. Aripiprazole, sold in the U.S. under the trade name Abilify, is an atypical antipsychotic that increases the….

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Heavy drinkers may develop Alzheimer's earlier

Drinking or smoking heavily can speed up the development of Alzheimer’s disease, according to a new study. Scientists found that drinkers developed the disease almost five years earlier and heavy smokers just over two years earlier, after studying 938 people aged 60 or more who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Ranjan Duara, of the Mount….

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Alcohol and Stress: Is There a Connection?

Not everyone drinks in response to stress. A number of factors, including genetics, usual drinking behavior, experiences with alcohol or other drugs, and social support, help determine whether a person will drink during a stressful situation. Does drinking help people relax? Researchers aren’t quite sure. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,….

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