The Science Of Drug Addiction
First published 2008. To view the latest Heads Up content,
Facts on Drugs: Teen Guide to Making Smart DecisionsThe teaching guide to the poster LIFES COMPLICATED ENOUGH: Make Smart Decisions About Drugs. This important teaching guide is a skill-building program to help students understand the importance of informed decision making. The teaching guide includes turnkey lessons and worksheets support the idea that when young people know the facts, they have the tools to make smart choices. Find lessons and critical-thinking activities that bring students facts about the science behind teen brain development and decision making, as well as the health risks associated with drug abuse.
Lesson and Worksheet: Obesity and Drug AddictionUse this lesson to reinforce comprehension of the student article Two Teen Health Dangers: Obesity & Drug Addiction. The teacher lesson plan includes a lesson strategy, discussion questions, and an activity to give students information about the connection between drug addiction and obesity to increase students understanding of addiction and the brain and to broaden students understanding of the scientific process. Use with the worksheet Obesity and Drug AddictionWhat Do You Know?
Read about an experiment that scientists created to find out more about how drug abuse affects decision making. Analyze the data and results and draw your own conclusions.
Why Do Some People Get Addicted But Others Dont
Substance use alone doesnt cause addiction. Addiction is a complex illness that arises in a person based on their unique circumstances. These are the most commonly identified risk factors for addiction:
Biology: Scientific research has shown that 4060% of the likelihood that a person will develop addiction comes from genetics. This includes both a family history of the illness as well as epigenetics, which are “the effects environmental factors have on a person’s gene expression.” Plus, if you have a behavioral health disorder like depression or anxiety, your risk of addiction also increases.
Environment: Exposure to traumatic experiences has been shown to increase a person’s risk of developing a substance use disorder. These experiences could happen at school, at home, or out in the community.
Using drugs for the first time at a youngage can also increase addiction risk. Also, snorting or injecting drugs can increase the risk of becoming addicted to those drugs, due to the extreme way the drug is delivered into the body .
So, why do some people become addicted when others dont? Ultimately, the answer lies in a persons unique brain chemistry and lived experiences. Most people who develop addiction are looking to heal or soothe themselves in some way. Its crucial to understand why that is, and work to address it, as part of a persons treatment plan and journey to recovery.
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Overview On Drug Education And Prevention
According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Healths latest report, an estimated 22.6 million Americans age 12 or older had used illicit drugs in the last month. Teaching students the science-based effects of drugs and alcohol on the body through drug education provides a hands-on, interactive and engaging way to show young people the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse.
By incorporating drug education into the science curriculum, students learn about the science behind drugs and alcoholfrom the chemical breakdowns of certain drugs to how those chemicals interfere with how the brain transmits informationand can use that information to make better, educated decisions.
Following is a collection of lessons, broken down by grade level, to teach young people the chemical effects of drugs and alcohol on the body.
Its never too early to begin learning how drugs and alcohol affect the human body. Students in grades K-4 can begin to learn the basics of how the chemicals in drugs interfere with how the body functions.
Alcohol and the Brain A Neuroscience Lesson for Kids, this lesson explores how alcohol effects the brain. It explores the path alcohol takes in the body, how it affects the nervous system, and more.
Brain Buzz: Effect of Caffeine, Nicotine, Alcohol, and Drugs on Learning As part of this three-week unit, students learn how drugs damage the brains synapses leading to learning and memory damage
The Science Of Addiction
First published 2006. To view the latest Heads Up content,
Use the lesson and student worksheet below to reinforce comprehension of the student article The Science of Addiction.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse and Scholastic realize that teachers can have a major impact on protecting children from becoming addicted to drugs of abuse. That is why we continually strive to provide you and your students with science-based facts about drugs and their dangers. Over the course of the next few months, we will bring you a series of articles about addiction that will help students understand the effect of addiction on teen brains and bodies.
We appreciate all your efforts in helping your students get the real facts about addiction and how it can affect them.
- Why drug addiction is a disease
- How drug addiction changes the brain
- The latest research
LESSON PLAN & STUDENT WORKSHEET
Preparation: Before displaying the lesson, make two photocopies of the Student Activity Reproducible for a pre- and post-lesson quiz.
Assessment Tools: Use the Student Activity Reproducible as an Assessment Quiz to determine what your students have learned about drug addiction.
OBJECTIVE: To test students self-knowledge about drug addiction before and after reading the article.
NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS: Life Science Science in Personal and Social Perspective
WHAT YOU WILL DO:
ANSWERS TO STUDENT WORKSHEET:More Information:
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Movie Worksheet: The Science Of Addictive Food
Key Points To Understand The Brain And Addiction:
1. Some characteristics of addiction are similar to other chronic diseases.
Just as cardiovascular disease damages the heart and changes its functioning, addiction changes the brain and impairs the way it works. Below is an image of the brain and the heart .
These images show how scientists can use imaging technology to measure functioning of the brain and heart. Greater activity is shown in reds and yellows, and reduced activity is shown in blues and purples. Both the healthy brain and the healthy heart show greater activity than the diseased brain and heart, because both addiction and heart disease cause changes in function. In drug addiction, the frontal cortex in particular shows less activity. This is the part of the brain associated with judgment and decision-making .
Addiction is similar to other chronic diseases in the following ways:
- It is preventable
- If untreated, it can last a lifetime
2. Substances of misuse trick the brains reward system.
Below is a picture of the brain and the nucleus accumbens, in addition to some other brain regions that are affected by addition.
The brains nucleus accumbens activated by alcohol
Addictive drugs can provide a shortcut to the brains reward system by flooding the nucleus accumbens with dopamine. Additionally, addictive drugs can release 2 to 10 times the amount of dopamine that natural rewards do, and they do it more quickly and reliably.
3. The brain can recover but it takes time!
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Harsh Consequences Shame And Punishment Are Simply Not Effective Ways To Heal A Persons Addiction
A person cant undo the effects drugs have had on their body chemistry through sheer willpower. Like other chronic illnesses, such as asthma or type 2 diabetes, ongoing management of addiction is required for long-term recovery. And there are plenty of evidence-based solutions that can help people with substance use disorders get there.
The Science Of Addiction: Genetics And The Brain
The content here is based upon work funded by the Utah State Board of Education and a Science Education Drug Abuse Partnership Award , from The National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health Grant Number R25DA15461.
The contents provided here are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the funders.
Also Check: Uab Beacon Addiction Treatment Center
Addiction Is A Treatable Medical Illness
First things first: Addiction is not a moral failing, a choice, or a character flaw. Addiction, also referred to as substance use disorder, is an illness. All major health experts agree: The American Medical Association, The National Institutes of Health, the World Health Organization, and more.
Treatment for addiction is highly effective. Decades of scientific research show what treatments work bestbut one size does not fit all. From personalized plans to therapy and medications, learn what to look for in addiction treatment.
How Does Addiction Affect The Body
It has a lot to do with brain chemistry.
The human brain is wired to reward us when we do something pleasurable. Exercising, eating, and other behaviors that are directly linked to our survival trigger the release of a neurotransmitter called dopamine.
This not only makes us feel good, but it encourages us to keep doing what were doing. It teaches our brains to repeat the behavior.
Drugs trigger that same part of the brain: the reward system. When someone uses a substancebe it marijuana, opioids, cocaine, or other drugstheir brain releases lots of dopamine. This process tells the brain that this is a behavior that should be remembered and repeated.
Not everyone who uses substances becomes addicted by this process, but if youre already at risk, this is where the cycle of addiction can begin. Thats because, according to the National Institutes on Drug Abuse , large surges of dopamine teach the brain to seek drugs at the expense of other, healthier goals and activities.
Once someone is addicted, theyre not using drugs to feel good theyre using drugs to feel normal.
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An Addicted Brain Causes Behavior Changes
Brain imaging studies from people with substance use disorders show changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision making, learning and memory, and behavior control. Scientists believe that these changes alter the way the brain works and may help explain the compulsive and destructive behaviors of addiction.
A promising student might see his grades slip. A bubbly social butterfly might suddenly have trouble getting out of bed. A trustworthy sibling might start stealing or lying. Behavioral changes like these are directly linked to a changing brain.
Addiction also creates cravings. These cravings can be painful, constant, and distracting. Whats more, withdrawal from substances is a painful, whole-body experience. Once someone is addicted, responding to cravings and avoiding withdrawal become their most important needs.
Addiction can happen to anyone.
Its not about your background, where you grew up, or how much money you make. Addiction can happen to anyone. Still, researchers have identified what kinds of experiences and biological circumstances put some people at greater risk than others.
The Top Tools Being Utilized For Research On The Brain In Recovery
Functional brain measurement techniques:
Methods that provide dynamic physiological information about brain function/activity. Functional imaging techniques allow scientists to measure the contributions of various structures to specific psychological processes . Commonly obtained while participants complete tasks, functional images offer insight to the brain regions that are activated, or recruited, to perform a given task. Atypical brain function in patient populations can include reduced neural activation or a different pattern of brain activation as compared to healthy control populations.
- Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Also known as a functional MRI , this imaging technique measures brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow and oxygenation.
- Numerous studies utilizing functional magnetic resonance imaging have shown that drug cues elicit increased regional blood flow in reward-related brain areas among addicted participants that is not found among normal controls
See the fMRI in action:
Structural brain measurement techniques:
Imaging techniques that allow one to examine the brains anatomical structure. Structural imaging provides static information, and is analogous to taking a photograph of the brain. These images permit evaluation of gross anatomical abnormalities, including tissue atrophy and reduced white matter integrity .
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What Do You Know About The Science Of Addiction
First published 2006. To view the latest Heads Up content,
Answer the questions below to find out what you know about drugs and drug addiction. For multiple-choice questions, there may be more than one answer.
1. Drug addiction can be defined asa. a bad habit.b. the use of illegal drugs.c. a chronic, relapsing disease.d. a complex and developmental disease.
2. Which of the following are characteristics of the disease of drug addiction?a. compulsive drug seekingb. neurochemical changes in the brainc. molecular changes in the braind. all of the above
3. The brain recognizes the prescription drug OxyContin in the same way that it recognizesa. caffeine.
4. The disease of drug addiction is associated witha. HIV/AIDS.c. mental disorders.d. none of the above.
5. The prefrontal cortexlocated just behind the foreheadis the part of the brain that governsa. judgment and decision-making.
6. The PET in PET scans stands fora. positron emission tomography.
7. Which of the following is a factor in whether someone becomes addicted to drugs?a. genesc. age of first used. none of the above
8. Exposure to drugs during the teen years may affect the likelihood of someone becoming an addict in the future.a. trueb. false
9. Anyone who sells medications prescribed to them could be called a drug dealer and is subject to criminal prosecution.a. trueb. false
10. People, places, and things related to a particular drug experience can, at a later time, trigger another drug experience.a. true
Today More Doctors Policymakers And Everyday Americans Are Embracing The Science Of Addiction
Thats good news. But its important to remember that addiction has always been an illnesseven when our health care systems were most hostile to the idea, and even when the people American culture primarily associated with drugs and addiction were Black or Latinx Americans. Learn about the social impact of addiction in America.
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The Science Of Addictive Food Video Ws
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A worksheet on topic food. The link to the video is on the last page.
Upload date: 2014-04-23 15:15:43
What Is Addiction
Addiction is a disease involving continued substance use despite significant substance-related problems. Addiction involves loss of control over substance use, social and occupational problems, risky use, and physical problems.
The What is Addiction? printout is an introduction to the topic of addiction for clients and their families. This handout covers signs and symptoms of addiction, available treatments, and other important facts.
We suggest sharing this resource in an introductory addiction therapy session or group. It can also serve as a great take-home reminder for basic addiction education.
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