Neuroscience

Smoking and alcohol: Double trouble for the brain?

Along with many other harmful health consequences, smoking tobacco causes chemical changes, oxidative stress and inflammation in the brain. Excessive alcohol use can have similar effects. Surprisingly, however, very few studies ...

Psychology & Psychiatry

Women's hormones play role in drug addiction, higher relapse rates

Women's hormonal cycles may not only make them more prone to drug addiction but also more affected by triggers that lead to relapse, a new Vanderbilt University study revealed. The findings are especially significant since ...

Neuroscience

Nature versus nurture and addiction

The progressive understanding of addiction as a disease rather than a choice has opened the door to better treatment and research, but there are aspects of addiction that make it uniquely difficult to treat.

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Drug addiction

Drug addiction is a pathological condition. The disorder of addiction involves the progression of acute drug use to the development of drug-seeking behavior, the vulnerability to relapse, and the decreased, slowed ability to respond to naturally rewarding stimuli. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) has categorized three stages of addiction: preoccupation/anticipation, binge/intoxication, and withdrawal/negative affect. These stages are characterized, respectively, everywhere by constant cravings and preoccupation with obtaining the substance; using more of the substance than necessary to experience the intoxicating effects; and experiencing tolerance, withdrawal symptoms, and decreased motivation for normal life activities. By the American Society of Addiction Medicine definition, drug addiction differs from drug dependence and drug tolerance.

It is, both among scientists and other writers, quite usual to allow the concept of drug addiction to include persons who are not drug abusers according to the definition of the American Society of Addiction Medicine. The term drug addiction is then used as a category which may include the same persons who under the DSM-IV can be given the diagnosis of substance dependence or substance abuse. (See also DSM-IV Codes)

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