Is Drug Addiction a Disease of the Brain - Research Paper Example

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Drug Addiction as a Disease of the Brain Name Subject Teacher Date               Drug Addiction as a Disease of the Brain The Biology of Drug Addiction Drug addiction, as defined by DrugAbuse.gov, 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” (“Drug Facts,” 2011)…
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Is Drug Addiction a Disease of the Brain
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Download file to see previous pages As for drugs like marijuana and heroin, their molecules have a similar structure to neurotransmitters, and thus they activate nerve cells in order to form even harmful synaptic connections as well as send abnormal messages. Cocaine and methamphetamine, on the other hand, would cause the overproduction of neutransmitters like dopamine, which eventually “shuts off” synaptic communication or the signaling between neurons and alters the brain’s reward system (“Drug Facts,” 2011). As the addiction continues, it is getting harder and harder to bring the dopamine level to normal in order to produce the same rewarding or satisfying feeling, thus more and more amount of drugs is needed to achieve this. Another effect of drug addiction on the brain is altering glutamate, which is actually associated with the brain’s reward system and cognitive function. Long term abuse, therefore, may impair the glutamate and consequently affect judgment, learning, memory, behavior control, and decision-making activities of the drug addict (“Drug Facts,” 2011). ...
tion is not a brain disease because of two reasons: First, “the changes in the brain which [those who are on the opposite side of the issue] show us are not abnormal at all,” and second, “there is no evidence that the behavior of addicts is compulsive [or involuntary” (“Addiction is NOT,” 2012). For the first reason, those who believe that drug addiction is a disease often point out to brain images of neuroadaptations and a totally different prefrontal cortex that both result from a repetitive intake of drugs. According to authors of Clean Slate, this is not abnormal at all because any human being can alter the synaptic pathways of his brain simply through constant practice, and the authors point out Begley and Jeffrey Schwartz, who both authored The Mind and The Brain. Both authors pointed out in their book that the scanned images of both experienced and inexperienced taxi drivers in London are not the same in terms of the prefrontal cortex, but this does not necessarily mean that drivers who do not know much of the city would have a mental disease. The point is that “these brain changes don’t need to be brought on by exposure to chemicals,” and since there is no physiologic malfunction and that there are no pathologically affected parts, then the author of Clean Slate contends that drug addiction is not a disease (“Addiction is NOT,” 2012). In fact, the aforementioned claim is rather supported by Satel and Lilienfeld (2007), who state, “In the days between binges, cocaine addicts make many [normal everyday] decisions that have nothing to do with drug-seeking.” However, although it makes perfect logical sense that drug addicts do not act like drug addicts all the time, it is basically the same thing with AIDS patients since these people can ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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