News tagged with addiction

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Hunting for the brain's opioid addiction switch

New research by Steven Laviolette's research team at Western University is contributing to a better understanding of the ways opiate-class drugs modify brain circuits to drive the addiction cycle. Using rodent models of opiate ...

May 31, 2016
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What can Pavlov's dogs tell us about drinking?

Humans aren't much different from other animals. Just like Pavlov's dogs, we can become conditioned to associate environmental cues with rewards. Innocent enough when the sight of your sneakers makes you want to go for a ...

May 25, 2016
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PET/CT reveals adaptations of the alcoholic brain

Alcoholism is a devastating disorder that too often leads to a perpetual cycle of abuse. An emerging molecular imaging technique may provide a way to break that cycle. It could signal patients' heightened risk and lead to ...

Jun 13, 2016
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New role for glial energy metabolism in addiction

Addiction may be viewed as a disorder of reward learning. To date, addiction research has focused on the molecular adaptations through which memories of exposure to abused substances are encoded and maintained by nerve cells.

Jun 09, 2016
popularity13 comments 0

Addiction

The term "addiction" is used in many contexts to describe an obsession, compulsion, or excessive psychological dependence, such as: drug addiction (e.g. alcoholism), video game addiction, crime, money, work addiction, compulsive overeating, problem gambling, computer addiction, nicotine addiction, pornography addiction, etc.

In medical terminology, an addiction is a chronic neurobiologic disorder that has genetic, psychosocial, and environmental dimensions and is characterized by one of the following: the continued use of a substance despite its detrimental effects, impaired control over the use of a drug (compulsive behavior), and preocupation with a drug's use for non-therapeutic purposes (i.e. craving the drug). Addiction is often accompanied the presence of deviant behaviors (for instance stealing money and forging prescriptions) that are used to obtain a drug.

Tolerance to a drug and physical dependence are not defining characteristics of addiction, although they typically accompany addiction to certain drugs. Tolerance is a pharmacologic phenomenon where the dose of a medication needs to be continually increase in order to maintain its desired effects. For instance, individuals with severe chronic pain taking opiate medications (like morphine) will need to continually increase the dose in order to maintain the drug's analgesic (pain-relieving) effects. Physical dependence is also a pharmacologic property and means that if a certain drug is abruptly discontinued, an individual will experience certain characteristic withdrawal signs and symptoms. Many drugs used for therapeutic purposes produce withdrawal symptoms when abruptly stopped, for instance oral steroids, certain antidepressants, benzodiazepines, and opiates.

However, common usage of the term addiction has spread to include psychological dependence. In this context, the term is used in drug addiction and substance abuse problems, but also refers to behaviors that are not generally recognized by the medical community as problems of addiction, such as compulsive overeating.

The term addiction is also sometimes applied to compulsions that are not substance-related, such as problem gambling and computer addiction. In these kinds of common usages, the term addiction is used to describe a recurring compulsion by an individual to engage in some specific activity, despite harmful consequences, as deemed by the user himself to his or her individual health, mental state or social life.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA

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