Addiction and the reward circuit essay

Various surveys have determined that around two million people in the U. This command center then sends out signals in the form of neurotransmitters chemical signals to various parts of the brain including the brain reward system. Addiction is a chronic brain disease that causes a person to compulsively seek out drugs, despite the harm they cause.

More than three out of five drug overdose deaths involve some type of opioid, either prescription pain reliever, heroin, or man-made opioids like fentanyl.

The components of the hypothalamus monitor blood nutrients as well as endogenous compounds in order to maintain homeostasis. When a neuron is hyperpolarized, it is inhibited from firing.

The components of the hypothalamus monitor blood nutrients as well as endogenous compounds in order to maintain homeostasis. Thus, dopaminergic neurons in the reward pathway have been shown to be important in the reinforcing effects of cocaine 2.

Four in five Americans say they have gambled at least once in their lives. Viruses and drugs of abuse are both foreign to humans. Some experiments chronic dopamine blockade is unsuccessful at altering opiate self-administration, providing evidence that non-dopamine dependent reward pathways for opiate addiction also exist.

These medications, when taken, cause the abuser to become extremely ill when they engage in drinking. Dozens of studies confirm that another effective treatment for addiction is cognitive-behavior therapy, which teaches people to resist unwanted thoughts and habits. Although pavlovian conditioning is generally assumed to be model-free, the incentive salience assigned to a conditioned stimulus is flexible with regard to changes in internal motivational states.

As with other chronic diseases, like diabetes or heart disease, people learn to manage their condition. Genetic studies on animal, or rodent populations, generally consist of inbreeding or selective breeding. The reward circuit, located in the ventral tangental area of the cortex, plays a central role in the neurobiology of addiction.

As the viruses infect more and more cells, the organism may become ill. Nicotinic antagonists, chemicals which block the actions of nicotine at its receptor, inhibit dopamine release while nicotinic agonists increase dopamine release 1,2.

Networks of neurons send signals back and forth to each other and among different parts of the brain, the spinal cord, and nerves in the rest of the body the peripheral nervous system. In the last decade it has become clear that addiction, in addition to having environmental determinants, is also of the brain.

The Neurobiology of Drug Addiction

Genetic studies in both animals and humans have contributed to our ability to answer this question. In the past, the psychiatric community generally regarded pathological gambling as more of a compulsion than an addiction—a behavior primarily motivated by the need to relieve anxiety rather than a craving for intense pleasure.

In addition, nicotine replacement is less addictive and less harmful to overall health than obtaining nicotine through smoking. Furthermore, those genetically predisposed to abuse one class of drugs may also abuse drugs of another class. Also important in the function of the limbic system is the limbic striatum, which includes the nucleus accumbens, ventral caudate nucleus and the putamen 9.

Brain and Addiction

Within a neuron, messages travel from the cell body down the axon to the axon terminal in the form of electrical impulses. Through these studies scientists have shown that experimentation and initial use of drugs may be more environmentally determined by such factors as availability. Scientists have found that a common reward pathway exists in the brain.

However, as lesions to dopaminergic neurons do not completely eliminate self-administration of opiates in some experiments, indirect and dopamine independent mechanisms of opiate addiction and reinforcement also exist 3.

Academic failure or poor social skills can also put a person at risk for drug use. This increase of dopamine in the brain reward centers is dose dependent the more cocaine that is taken in, the higher the dopamine concentration in these areas.

This allows the individual to struggle with behavioral aspects of drug addiction and minimize the pharmacological aspects for a time being. However, the "I" function plays a quintesential role in treating addiction. The use of drugs to influence the reward circuit can lead a user to bypass survival activities and repeat drug use, because it is being rewarded over other activities such as eating 4.

This leads to exaggerated messages in the brain, causing problems with communication channels. These structures modulate the reward pathway. This can be accomplished in two ways. Learn more about the brain-body connection. Resting just above and behind the eyes, the prefrontal cortex helps people tame impulses.

(Drug Addiction is a Disease Not a Habit).

Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction

Drug addiction changes the brain in two ways, “(1) by imitating the brain’s natural chemical messengers and (2) by over stimulating the “reward circuit” of the brain” (DrugFacts: Understanding Drug Abuse and Addiction). The VTA and nucleus accumbens are involved in the reward circuit of all drugs.

The natural function of the reward circuit is to provide a reward and associated pleasurable feelings in response to life sustaining functions, such as eating, to encourage repetition of that function.

To clarify, this occurs only when an individual is addicted to exercise. Both addictions to exercise and addictions to drugs access the brain’s limbic system, which contains an essential “reward circuit”.

This reward circuit is what teaches us to associate functions essential to life, such as eating, with a pleasurable feeling.

How the Brain Gets Addicted to Gambling

- Addiction and the Reward Circuit Most people are affected directly or indirectly by drug addiction. Many stereotypes including race and socio-economic class are associated with drug addiction.

Despite longstanding stereotypes there is more and more evidence being discovered pointing to an explanation from within the brain of the addict.

Thus, “addiction” can be partially explained by the action of drugs of abuse on this common reward pathway, in which drug use stimulates further use and drug seeking behavior (1,2,3,4).

Understanding Addiction

In the following paragraphs, the basic anatomy of the reward pathway and brain structures that interact with this pathway will be discussed.

Addiction and the Reward Circuit Essay - Addiction and the Reward Circuit Most people are affected directly or indirectly by drug addiction. Many stereotypes including race and socio-economic class are associated with drug addiction.

Addiction and the reward circuit essay
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