Chemistry of Drug Addiction
The disease of addiction is one of the least understood, and frequently misunderstood, of all chronic diseases. While it would be absurd to assert that other diseases of the brain such as schizophrenia or depression are due to weak will or moral character, it is still the prevailing opinion of many, including healthcare professionals that drug addiction is about improper choices rather than improper brain function. Current scientific evidence has revealed that chemical addiction is a process that is caused by a malfunctioning cascade of neurotransmitters which is further exacerbated by drug use. With the advent of single positron emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scan …ver más…
Opportunity, the same impulsive rats were also more likely to self-administer cocaine. This choice illustrates a link between impulsive behavior and vulnerability to drug addiction. It also demonstrates that changes in dopamine receptors pre-date drug use rather than being caused by drug abuse.
The discovery could be helpful in developing therapies for other addictive substances, for example nicotine and opiate drugs, that are also linked to a reduction in dopamine receptors.
“The next step is to identify the gene or genes that cause this diminished supply of brain receptors. This may provide new leads in the search for improved therapies for attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and compulsive brain disorders such as drug addiction and pathological gambling,” said Dr Dalley.
What is substance abuse/chemical dependence?
There are three different terms used to define substance-related disorders, including the following: * Substance abuse.
Substance abuse is used to describe a pattern of substance (drug) use leading to significant problems or distress such as failure to attend work/school, substance use in dangerous situations (driving a car), substance-related legal problems, or continued substance use that interferes with friendships and/or family relationships. Substance abuse, as a disorder, refers to the abuse of illegal substances or the abusive use of legal substances.