Addiction Is A Chronic Disease That Involves Different Factors
A disease is a condition that changes the way an organ functions. Chronic disease can be treated and managed, but it can’t be cured. Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain the way diabetes is a chronic disease of the pancreas, and heart disease is one of the heart.
Addiction doesn’t discriminate. High-rent districts, “seedy” neighborhoods, age, race, sex or how much money you makeaddiction weaves its way through all walks of life. No one thing can predict your risk of developing a substance use disorder. But researchers agree there are a combination of factors involved that can increase your risk:
- GeneticsYes, if addiction runs in the family, the National Institute on Drug Addiction says you have up to a 60% greater risk of becoming addicted too.
- EnvironmentJust like growing up in a home where fried foods, soda and sugary sweets increase your risk for heart disease and diabetes, growing up in a home with adults who use drugs increases the risk of addiction.
- DevelopmentUsing drugs as a teenager up to age 25 when the brain is still developing increases your chances of addiction and can cause serious, lasting damage.
Causes And Mechanisms Of The Addictions
Addictions arise when substance use becomes disordered, when substances are used more and more in situations where they do harm, and when the user loses control over the use. But how and why does substance use become disordered? Is there individual variability in our vulnerability to develop addictions?
What Is Moral Model
Moral model: This is an older model of addiction rooted in religion. It assumes that theres something morally wrong with people who use drugs. Addicts are bad people who decide to ingest substances or drink. Medical model: Under this model, addiction is a brain disease that has genetic and neurochemical components.
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Withdrawal And Negative Affect
An important result of the conditioned physiologic processes involved in drug addiction is that ordinary, healthful rewards lose their former motivational power. In a person with addiction, the reward and motivational systems become reoriented through conditioning to focus on the more potent release of dopamine produced by the drug and its cues. The landscape of the person with addiction becomes restricted to one of cues and triggers for drug use. However, this is only one of the ways in which addiction changes motivation and behavior.
Persons with addiction frequently cannot understand why they continue to take the drug when it no longer seems pleasurable. Many state that they continue to take the drug to escape the distress they feel when they are not intoxicated. Unfortunately, although the short-acting effects of increased dopamine levels triggered by drug administration temporarily relieve this distress, the result of repeated bingeing is to deepen the dysphoria during withdrawal, thus producing a vicious cycle.
What Is Drug Addiction
Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking, continued use despite harmful consequences, and long-lasting changes in the brain. It is considered both a complex brain disorder and a mental illness. Addiction is the most severe form of a full spectrum of substance use disorders, and is a medical illness caused by repeated misuse of a substance or substances.
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The Disease Model Of Addiction Explained May 9 2021 By Burning Tree Programs Inaddiction Treatment
Drug rates are rising throughout the nation. In a 2020 survey, more than thirty-five percent of adolescents said they used marijuana in the last year.
There are many reasons why addiction is rising. One is the lack of consideration for people with addiction. Many people regard drug use as a matter of character, requiring only willpower to overcome.
But thats not true. Many scientists affirm a disease model of addiction that can lead to several treatments.
What is this model? How does it compare to other models? What is the disease model of addiction?
Answer these questions and you can enrich your understanding of addiction recovery. Here is your quick guide.
How Are Substance Use Disorders Categorized
NIDA uses the term addiction to describe compulsive drug seeking despite negative consequences. However, addiction is not a specific diagnosis in the fifth edition of The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders a diagnostic manual for clinicians that contains descriptions and symptoms of all mental disorders classified by the American Psychiatric Association .
In 2013, APA updated the DSM, replacing the categories of substance abuse and substance dependence with a single category: substance use disorder, with three subclassificationsmild, moderate, and severe. The symptoms associated with a substance use disorder fall into four major groupings: impaired control, social impairment, risky use, and pharmacological criteria .
The new DSM describes a problematic pattern of use of an intoxicating substance leading to clinically significant impairment or distress with 10 or 11 diagnostic criteria occurring within a 12-month period. Those who have two or three criteria are considered to have a mild disorder, four or five is considered “moderate,” and six or more symptoms, “severe.” The diagnostic criteria are as follows:
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What Is The Disease Model Of Addiction
Unfortunately, many people continue to view addiction as a choice and a lack of morals, rather than a chronic disease. This idea comes from a stigma related to addiction, where society viewed addicts and alcoholics as inherently bad people. While research and science have proved these stigmas untrue, individuals still stigmatize addiction and alcoholism alike. Because of this stigma, the cunning psychological and painful physical dependence associated with addiction are ignored.
With advances in modern technology and science, we are able to understand more about addiction than ever before. While excessive and frequent substance abuse alters the brain over time, certain signs and symptoms may be pre-existing in the brain of an addict. Almost like diseases such as diabetes, addiction is caused by a combination of behavioral, environmental, and biological factors. Scientists and researchers have put together something known as the disease model of addiction, a complete guide to better understand the science behind what causes addiction, what the disease of addiction is, and much more.
Why Do I Crave Dopamine
The brain knows that when a person eats, theyre doing something right, and it releases feel-good chemicals in the reward system. These chemicals include the neurotransmitter dopamine, which the brain interprets as pleasure. The brain is hardwired to seek out behaviors that release dopamine in the reward system.
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Breaking Addiction To Heal True Connections
Just as Alzheimers and multiple sclerosis attack the brain to produce profound physical and psychological disease, chemical dependence also changes the brain to create physical, behavioral, and psychological changes. In the extreme, alcoholics become demented, lose their memory, and walk unsteadily. Methamphetamine users become psychotic. And daily cannabis users may have measurable memory, emotional, and cognitive impairments. When the brain is not working well, whether from infection, chronic intoxication, or trauma, a person is ill. When I encountered a minister in the emergency room swearing like a drunken sailor because sudden, catastrophic liver failure was filling his brain with toxins, no one stigmatized him. No one accused him of weak character. Instead, he was treated with empathy despite his having foolishly believed he could avoid death cap fungi while foraging for wild mushrooms. He had voluntarily taken a risk and now was deathly ill.
Chemicals that change the brain create more than a mere proclivity or behavioral addiction. They cause disease.
Addiction Is A Real Disease
Addiction is a chronic, often relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and to those around him or her. Although the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, the brain changes that occur over time challenge an addicted persons self-control and hamper his or her ability to resist intense impulses to take drugs.Herein lies the disease of addiction. At Vertava Health, we hear a lot from people who dont think addiction is a disease. Its a choice to drink or use drugs, they say.
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Questions That This Paper Raises
What is the most efficient way of reducing the social costs of alcohol and drug use: through policy aiming at reducing alcohol and drug use, or through policy targeting the indirect consequences, such as violence, accidents and social marginalization?
What is the relative contribution of gateway drugs, social risk factors and genetic risk in producing addiction?
How does the concept of addiction influence practice in the fields of prevention and treatment?
What is the worldwide influence of drug policy on human rights, democracy, and the living conditions of people, especially the poor?
Can harm reduction policy be integrated with ambitious treatment programmes?
The Brains Reaction To Dopamine
Surges in dopamine can be so powerful that it compels users to keep taking the drug. With prolonged use, however, drugs can alter the brain so that experiencing pleasure without the drug is nearly impossible. At this point, drug use does not raise dopamine levels or produce a high.Instead, the user keeps taking the drug to stave off painful withdrawal symptoms such as fever, cramps, violent nausea, and depression.
Based on their research of how drugs affect the brain, scientists have theorized that people who are deficient in dopamine may be more likely than others to become addicts. George Koob, a professor of neuropharmacology at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California, contends that the neurotransmitter systems affected by drug abuse may already be abnormal in people who are susceptible to addiction.
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Let Covenant Hills Treatment Help You
Are you or anyone you know struggling with drug addiction? Treatment centers like Covenant Hills Treatment help people recover their lives by providing support systems and offering group therapy sessions where individuals find understanding from others who have been in the same addiction or addiction-related crisis. We are uniquely a Christian addiction treatment center however, we offer programs for people looking for a Christian approach as well as an option for people who prefer to have a non-religious treatment program. Contact us today for more information about addiction, addiction treatment, and why addiction is a disease.
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Four Reasons We See Addiction As A True Disease
The modern theory of addiction holds that drug and alcohol dependence both results from and causes disease of the brain, characterized by altered brain structure and function. The American Medical Association first declared alcoholism a disease in 1956, but opposition to this idea remains strong. Most opponents believe addiction results from weak character and stigmatize alcoholics and drug addicts. Belief in character weakness is often accompanied by a sense of moral superiority to, and therefore denigration of, addicts.
The psychologist and lawyer Stanton Peele became a leading opponent of the disease theory of addiction with the publication of Love and Addiction in 1975 and Diseasing of America: How We Allowed Recovery Zealots and the Treatment Industry to Convince Us We Are Out of Control in 1989. The first book introduced the idea that we can be addicted to things other than drugs. According to Peele, addiction is a universal part of the human condition. Nearly everyone becomes addicted to experiences and behaviors at some point in their life and most naturally outgrow their addictions. The descendants of this idea today are such concepts as love and internet addiction.
Stage One: Binging And Intoxication
In the first stage, the drug activates the brains reward circuit by causing a dramatic increase in the release of dopamine.9 This increase in dopamine induces a reward signal that triggers associative learning or conditioning.9 Thus, the brain begins to relate the drug experience with the reward, and eventually, reward signals are triggered merely in anticipation of drug use.9
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Seeking Treatment Under The Disease Model Of Addiction
The disease model recognizes that treatment should be lifelong and that addiction is a medical issue, not one of choice. With addiction being classified as a chronic illness, treating drug addiction can be simple: through medical treatment or therapy focused on minimizing substance use behaviors with medication if needed.
Therefore addiction treatment should aim to help the patient heal their brains addiction pathways to lead fulfilling lives free from substance abuse.
This means quitting alcohol or drugs for good it wont work if youre only taking them sporadically or in moderation like most people do with other chronic illnesses like diabetes. You need follow-up care, too, as addiction doesnt end when withdrawal symptoms go away.
Impact Of Respondent Characteristics On The Seductive Allure Of Neuroscience Explanations And Attitudes Toward Free Will In The Context Of Addiction
Our study found that belief in free will is associated with some respondent characteristics such as education, self-reported knowledge about neuroscience, gender, or knowing someone with a SUD. From the standpoint of the literature on belief in free will, these results are somewhat surprising since there has been limited attention paid to the impact of respondent characteristics therein. Belief in free will has been found to persist across cultures , but seems higher in religious individuals and higher among political conservatives than political liberals . However, a recent review of the literature of research on belief in free will found that most often respondent characteristics are only passively controlled for and not actively investigated . Also, many studies typically use much smaller samples than we did, with sample sizes most often below 250 participants with a few exceptions of studies with much greater sizes . These small sample sizes may have limited the ability to discover small to moderate effects of respondent characteristics. Additionally, the extensive use of samples of undergraduate students and other samples of young respondents may have prevented greater attention to important characteristics such as age and level of education , given the homogeneity of these samples in these areas.
Respondent characteristics and the brain disease model of addiction
Knowledge about neuroscience and the seductive allure of neuroscience explanations
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Biological Disease Or Behavioral Problem The Great Debate
While most people agree that biology plays some role in addiction, experts on addiction are generally separated into two camps: those who believe that addiction is a biological disease with behavioral aspects, and those who believe that addiction is primarily a behavioral problem that is sometimes influenced by biology.
The latter group maintains that labeling addiction as a medical condition creates a false assumption that addicts have no control over their own behavior. There are however cases of addicts who suffer from mental health problems which can be looked at in a different category. In the view of this group, people become addicts because of their behavior, not their brain chemistry.
Behavioral And Medical Interventions
The findings from neurobiologic research show that addiction is a disease that emerges gradually and that has its onset predominantly during a particular risk period: adolescence. Adolescence is a time when the still-developing brain is particularly sensitive to the effects of drugs, a factor that contributes to adolescents greater vulnerability to drug experimentation and addiction. Adolescence is also a period of enhanced neuroplasticity during which the underdeveloped neural networks necessary for adult-level judgment cannot yet properly regulate emotion. Studies have also shown that children and adolescents with evidence of structural or functional changes in frontal cortical regions or with traits of novelty seeking or impulsivity are at greater risk for substance-use disorders. Awareness of individual and social risk factors and the identification of early signs of substance-use problems make it possible to tailor prevention strategies to the patient. According to research related to the brain disease model of addiction, preventive in-terventions should be designed to enhance social skills and improve self-regulation. Also important are early screening and intervention for the prodromal presentation of mental illness and the provision of social opportunities for personal educational and emotional development.
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Adverse Effects On Prevention
The use of the addiction concept to make light of the problem is not restricted to users. A focus on addiction and dependence liability may derail the discussion on benzodiazepine use, for example, because the question is not whether an elderly patient will develop addiction, but whether the medication is causing unacceptable risks. For instance, elderly patients or nursing home residents, who take benzodiazepines or drink alcohol, may risk serious injuries. Discussing whether elderly people will develop addiction is not important, and may remove focus from the more salient risk of falls and psychological side effects.
Similarly, if universal or selective prevention is aimed at to reduce the risk for dependence, other equally important goals of prevention may be missed. For instance, youth who start smoking cannabis may develop cannabis addiction, but most do not. However, a far more salient risk for cannabis smokers is the development of psychosis . Youth who drink alcohol excessively may be at risk of becoming alcohol dependent. But few actually do. However, excessive drinking may cause a number of other problems, including accidents, unwanted sex, and violence.