Drug Addiction Model

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Drug addiction is a powerful condition that imprisons the mind and body of its users, which leads to the question of whether the option to use remains a choice or becomes a disease. Current statistics reveal that 24.6 million Americans reported using illicit drugs in 2013 (SAMHSA, 2014). That number alone is clear evidence of a significant drug problem in our society. Throughout history there have been conflicting opinions about drug addiction being a choice or a disease. In this paper, I will present information that will substantiate the claims that addiction is in fact, a disease. In order to clearly demonstrate that fact, I will identify common opinions and research on the topic of drug addiction. I will then explain the neurobiological …show more content…
Nora D. Volkow has conducted extensive research exploring the effects of various drugs on the systems within the brain (Stanford, 2009). One of Dr. Volkow’s studies on cocaine addicts revealed that even after 100 days of abstinence, frontal cortical areas of the brain were still exhibiting extreme levels of disruption (Volkow, 2004). The results of this research strengthen the disease model concept of addiction and illustrate the adverse effects that drugs of abuse have on the higher functioning parts of the brain which are responsible for making rational decisions (Volkow, 2004). Research studies aimed at investigating the science of addiction are revealing solid evidence which demonstrates that drugs of abuse are acting on specific neural circuitry within the brain (Stanford, …show more content…
This can be attributed to the fact that the brain has adapted to the presence of the heroin and subsequently developed a tolerance to the euphoric effects of the drug (Buutner, 2011). The drug user must then self-administer higher doses of the drug in order to attempt to reach the once euphoric feeling (Buutner, 2011). Unfortunately, the brains reward system has been so altered that it is no longer making its own “feel good” chemicals and expects to get the DA dump from the drugs (Stanford, 2009). The extent of the brains adaption and dysregulation is dependent on the type of drug that is being taken (Stanford, 2009). Some drugs cause greater reinforcing effects and ultimate damage than others. More studies are needed to determine the exact causes of these differences, but what is known is that many other areas of the brain reward system are being altered by the drugs (Buttner,

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