Drug Addiction Research Paper

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An addiction can be considered a physical and psychological incapability to avoid the consumption of drugs, chemicals, substances, or even taking part in an activity even when doing so causes both physical and psychological harm (Nutt, 2018). The Addiction term is not only applicable when it comes to cocaine and heroin use. Any person who cannot function normally without taking some specific chemical or drug is considered to be substance dependent (Nutt, 2018). The obsession with some activities such as working, eating, and gambling is considered an addiction (Clark & Limbrick-Oldfield, 2013). This type of addiction is commonly referred to as behavioral addiction. As stated by Robbins and Clark (2015) behavioral addictions have gradually become a recognized psychiatric disorder. Recently pathological gambling has been allocated to the DSM-5 category (American Psychiatric Association, 2013).

There are several other disorders that have been suggested as being part of the behavioral addiction category although they are yet to receive the formal DSM-5 recognition (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). Addiction is essentially a chronic disease that may emanate from the intake of medication. Overuse of medication such as the opioid painkiller can trigger an addiction from the user. In the U.S. there are 115 deaths annually directly associated with the misuse of opioids (Nutt, 2018). Whenever a person experiences some form of addiction they lose their ability to control substance use or take part in some activity (behavioral addiction) (Robbins and Clark, 2015). An addiction makes the victim dependent on the substance or activity in order for them to be able to manage their daily living.

The American Government spends over $740 billion as a result of illicit drugs, tobacco, prescription opioids, and alcohol abuse. The amount spent goes into the treatment of the addictions, amount of work loss and the consequences of crime suffered as a result. To begin with, drug use or participation in an activity like gambling starts voluntarily. Addiction will eventually take over forcing the addict to lose self-control (Levy, 2013). It is clear that addiction derails the ability of the addict to have neurological control over their cravings for a drug or an activity. In the words of Goldstein and Volkow (2011), drug addiction can be considered a neurological disorder for the reasons that it entails functional brain circuit changes. The changes detail self-control, stress, and reward alterations. These changes could remain for long durations of time after the addict has seized the consumption of the drugs.

Addiction is not any different from other diseases like heart disease or diabetes. In all disease instances, the healthy and normal body function is disturbed. The organs lose their optimal capacity and induced harmful effects on the body. Most of the diseases can be treatable and preventable just as drug addiction is. If drug addiction and other diseases are not treated, they could inflict lasting effects and possibly culminate into death (Koob, Arends & Le, 2014).
Koob, Arends, and Le (2014) explored the neurological, cellular and molecular systems of the brain in an attempt to discover the responsible faculties in drug addiction. The brain is the mediator that controls the rewarding effect of drug use and the changes that happen when transitioning from preliminary drug use into compulsive drug addiction and use. The point here is that persistent drug use interferes with the neurological reward system that culminates into compulsive drug use.

Why people engage in Drug Use

There are several reasons why people engage in drug use. Some of the…

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…alleviation of drug abuse, misuse, and use (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2016). There are various cultural factors and events that influence drug use. If the youthful adolescents are trained to view substance and drug abuse as harmful and dangerous, they will most likely alleviate their chances of taking them. Outreach, awareness, and education programs for the general public and the youth are important in helping people understand the consequences of drug use. Health and medical professionals, parents, and teachers ought to sustain consistent awareness about drug addiction and the prevention of psychological disorder through avoidance of drug use (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2016).

Although the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016) advocates for continued awareness and prevention programs as a medium of alleviating drug addiction the reality is that drug smuggling and drug trafficking has become a big business not only in third world countries but also in developed economies like the U.S. (Dell, 2015). If the drugs are not at the disposal of the young people then there will be no problem of drug addiction. The government should be more vigilant against drug trafficking and smuggling cartels with a view of eliminating them. Another backward policy in the U.S. is the incarceration of repeat drug offenders (Chandler, Fletcher and Volkow, 2009) There is enough evidence showing that drug addiction is treatable. Most drug users do not, however, receive medication or treatment. The subjection of drug addicts and repeat offenders to the American criminal justice system will not yield the required outcomes. It will definitely not destroy the drug seeking tendencies and involvement in illegal drug-related activities.

The treatment of drug offenders will offer a rare opportunity for the alleviation of criminal behavior and reduce drug abuse instances. Although….....

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American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th Ed). Washington DC: American Psychiatric Association

Behavioral Addiction: Screening, Assessment and Treatment. (2013). Erscheinungsort nicht ermittelbar: Central Recovery Press.

Chandler, R. K., Fletcher, B. W., & Volkow, N. D. (2009). Treating drug abuse and addiction in the criminal justice system: Improving public health and safety. JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association. https://doi.org/10.1088/0957-4484/21/25/255504

Clark, L., & Limbrick-Oldfield, E. H. (2013). Disordered gambling: A behavioral addiction. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conb.2013.01.004

Dell, M. (2015). Trafficking networks and the Mexican drug war. American Economic Review. American Economic Association. https://doi.org/10.1257/aer.20121637

Goldstein, R. Z., & Volkow, N. D. (2011). Dysfunction of the prefrontal cortex in addiction: Neuroimaging findings and clinical implications. Nature Reviews Neuroscience. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrn3119

Koob, G. F., Arends, M. A., & Le, M. M. (2014). Drugs, addiction, and the brain. Amsterdam; Boston: Elsevier/AP, Academic Press is an imprint of Elsevier

Levy, N. (2013). Addiction and self-control: Perspectives from philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. (N. Levy, Ed.), Addiction and self-control: Perspectives from philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience. Oxford University Press

National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2016). Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction. https://doi.org/10.1080/00131726109338398

Nutt, D. J. N. L (2018). Addiction. S.l.: Oxford University Press.

Robbins, T. W., & Clark, L. (2015, February 1). Behavioral addictions. Current Opinion in Neurobiology. Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.conb.2014.09.005
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