The Experiences of Addiction

The Experiences of Addiction
The experiences of addiction

While current research shows that genetics (see the mu-opioid blog entry) and brain physiology (see the amygdala blog entry) play an important role in addiction none of these third order factors are experienced by the inpidual's whom is addicted.

The inpidual's experience of addiction has at least one of the following common factors:

  1. The substances effects at first reward the user with pleasurable feelings and mood alterations.
  2. Over time the body develops a tolerance to the substance of abuse such that more is needed to get the pleasurable reward that the body and mind now craves.
  3. If the addict tries to abruptly stop using their substance of abuse painful, and in some cases, life threatening withdrawal occurs.
  4. The psychological aspects of addiction also come into play such that euphoric memories and ritualized behaviors reinforce the addicts desire to use.
  5. Over time the physiology and chemistry of the brain itself is changed.
  6. The addict develops elaborate denial mechanism to be able to continue to use despite the consequences or the risks involved. The foregoing is best described a syndrome of addiction rather than a simple disease.

How treatment works to overcome or at least diminish the harm of this syndrome will be our next blog.

Post Discussion

  1. Addict

    Once a person stops using alcohol or other mood altering substances there is a period-ranging form a least 6 months to as long as 2 years - during which recurrent symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) may be present. According to Ohio State Medical Center PAWS symptoms include:

    Not able to think clearly - May have trouble with problem solving and
    Memory problems - Forgetful and not able to remember recent things.
    Emotions are over-active or numb - Emotions are out of proportion to the
    event. May lose control and do something rash or impulsive. May have
    emotions shut down and feel numb. May have mood swings.
    Sleep problems - Trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking early. May
    have changes in sleep patterns. May have dreams, often about using, that
    disrupt sleep.
    Coordination problems - Dizziness, trouble with balance, problems with
    hand and eye coordination, reflexes slow causing person to be clumsy and
    prone to accidents.

  2. Addict

    Hey, do you think its addiction if you smoke marijuana alone, look forward to it every evening and are concerned your stash is getting low?

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