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Addiction

Page history last edited by Alyssa 8 years, 2 months ago

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Who is affected by addiction and its harmful consequences?

All age groups can suffer from addiction and be affected by the countless harmful affects addiction can causes. Infants, adolescence, adults and elderly individuals can all become addicted to drugs. Drug addiction can lead medical, social, and economic problems.

 

How drugs work in the brain:

When you ingest a drug such as alcohol, the chemical circulates through your body in your blood stream and eventually enters the brain.  Once the drugs enter the brain, they interrupt the communication between the neurons, or cells, in the brain. Drugs disrupt how the neurons send, receive, and process information. Some drugs affect the amount of neurotransmitters (chemical signals) that a neuron releases into the brain. The specific neurotransmitter that many drugs affect is dopamine. Dopamine works to help control movement, emotions, cognition, and the pleasure center of the brain. By increasing the amount of dopamine present, the drug produces a very pleasant and rewarding euphoric feeling.

 

Tolerance:

As you continue to take the drug, the brain adjusts to the increased amount of dopamine. Since the brain is now used to the increase in dopamine, there is less of a pleasurable experience. To get the euphoric feeling, more and more of the drug must be taken. This is known as building up a tolerance for the drug. 

 

It is important to remember:

 

  • Drug abuse decreases when the drug is perceived as harmful
  • Drug addiction does not have to be a life sentence; treatment plans can be very affective
  • Adolescence is an essential time to educate and prevent drug use. Early drug use in teens increases their chance of becoming addicted later in life.

 

For more information please visit http://www.nida.nih.gov/scienceofaddiction/

 

 

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