What is responsible for addiction?

Dopamine is widely regarded as the hormone responsible for addiction, mainly because of its role in producing feelings of euphoria. However, glutamate exerts its effects, it plays an increasingly prominent role in the history of addiction. Addictive drugs take over amygdala and hippocampal cells to build intense emotional memories of drug experiences. These memories link the powerful pleasures of drug addicts to people, places, and the paraphernalia associated with them.

From then on, these associations can by themselves trigger cravings. In fact, one way that alcohol and drug treatment programs help users abstain is by trying to break these associations, creating a new social circle and new, supportive and abstinent friends, as a substitute for their former drinking buddies or drug users. Each substance has slightly different effects on the brain, but all addictive drugs, including alcohol, opioids, and cocaine, produce a pleasant surge of the neurotransmitter dopamine in a region of the brain called the basal ganglia; neurotransmitters are chemicals that transmit messages between cells nervous. This area is responsible for controlling rewards and our ability to learn based on rewards.

As substance use increases, these circuits adapt. They reduce their sensitivity to dopamine, leading to a reduction in the ability of a substance to produce euphoria or the “high” that occurs when consuming it. This is known as tolerance, and it reflects the way the brain maintains balance and adjusts to a “new normal”, the frequent presence of the substance. However, as a result, consumers often increase the amount of the substance they take in order to reach the level of high they are used to.

These same circuits control our ability to enjoy ordinary rewards such as food, sex and social interaction, and when interrupted by substance use, the rest of life can become less and less pleasant for the user when they are not using the substance. The role of biological factors in addiction is supported by increasingly compelling evidence. Substances that can be abused act on the brain's reward systems to produce a booster experience. In discussions on the neuronal mechanisms of drug reinforcement, Koob (emphasized the role of the median forebrain bundle and its connections to the basal forebrain, especially the nucleus accumbens, and the role of dopaminergic systems in the reinforcing properties of cocaine, opiates, cannabis, nicotine and alcohol.

In addition, serotonin, gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) and opioid peptides participate in the rewarding effects of alcohol. Substances that may be abused act on dopaminergic fibers to produce their reward-enhancing effects, with different classes of drugs having different sites of specific action. Addiction is understood to be mediated by the same neurotransmitter mechanisms that are involved in many other mental illnesses. Mapping the human genome will allow scientists to conduct more accurate research to examine the genetics of addiction.

This knowledge will improve our understanding of initiating and maintaining problematic substance use and the difficulty patients often experience in following treatment. When it comes to addiction, the circuits involved are mainly the reward system and the stress system. The reward system is responsible for providing pleasant sensations in response to things that are good for you, such as eating or having sex. The stress system is responsible for helping you deal with threats and dangers.

When these two systems are activated at the same time, it can create an addictive cycle. The reward system will release dopamine, which is a chemical that makes you feel good. The stress system will release cortisol, which is a hormone that makes you feel bad. This combination creates a strong need to continue using the substance or behavior.

Part of the responsibility for substance use may fall on society that does not provide treatment to addicted people. Factors that affect personal responsibility in addictive diseases include awareness of the problem, knowledge of a genetic predisposition, understanding of addictive processes, comorbid psychiatric or medical conditions, adequacy of the support network, nature of the early environment, degree of tolerance of addictive diseases substance abuse in the sociocultural context and the availability of competent psychiatric, medical and chemical treatment for dependency. Because the moral model of addiction considers drug use to be an option, it considers addicts to be responsible; because it condemns this choice, it considers them guilty, potentially deserving of the stigma and harsh treatment they actually receive. Two crucial psychological issues are the individual's responsibility for having an addiction and the individual's responsibility to get treatment.

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Jennie Hovey
Jennie Hovey

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