Brain Chemistry in Addiction


BrainChemistry in Addiction



Noone takes a stick of cigarette or a streak of cocaine or heroin, oreven a shot of alcohol with the intention of becoming a constantconsumer. There are alarming statistics of the number of people whohave been addicted to the various drugs in the U.S. for instance,both cocaine and heroin accounts for about 2 million addicts with anadditional whopping 15 million addicts of alcohol and quite somemillions of cigarette addicts (Kuhar, 2012). The habitual consumptionof a drug with the intention of obtaining pleasure from it iscommonly referred to as addiction. It disobeys the associatedconsequences. It is a lasting problem, and in particular has aneffect on the population of a nation. Addicts have confessed that itis not an easy thing to stop consuming those drugs at the blink of aneye.

MolecularPharmacology studies have shown that drug abuse not only affects thevarious parts of the brain, but also alters the behaviors of anindividual addict. The behavioral changes can be explained throughthe study of the reward system of the brain. Acute addiction leads tono additional pleasure, but it is associated with sealing the gap ofreduced dopamine production (Tannenbaum, 2008). This explains thefact that an individual will continue using a drug even when they donot obtain any pleasure. It is, therefore, essential to discuss thebrain chemistry involved in addiction in an in-depth way, and alsoexpound on the effects of addiction to the functioning of the brainand its anatomy.

Thebrain is a sensitive component of the human body. It may suffer fromvarious ailments ranging from mild to acute. However, with the helpof both dopamine and serotonin, the brain component is able to remaincalm and desist from depression and disorders of the mood.Additionally, the functioning of the human body is centrallycoordinated at the centre of the brain. Neuro-transmitters dopamineis in charge of the normal movements of a person (Tannenbaum, 2008).It is also responsible for the body balance in such functioning aswalking. On the other hand, serotonin is responsible for thecoordination of movement through the management of otherneuro-transmitters.


Scientistsand scholars have invested much of their time and resources in thestudy of this scenario, and in particular Neuro-pharmacology. Forinstance, Professor Rochelle Schwartz, a professor at Duke Institutefor Brain Sciences, together with her colleagues came up with a studyof brain anatomy and addiction (Kuhar, 2012). The study was anexposition at a conference in Canada, and it was directed towardsjournalists as they are considered to be a mirror and voice to thesociety.

Additionally,Steve Hyman an Ex-director of National Institute of Mental health,expounded on the understanding of the concept of addiction. Steveexpounds on the concept of the brain anatomy, and specifically thenucleus accumbens (Tannenbaum, 2008). Nucleus accumbens are a groupof cells located in the pleasure centres of the brain. It heavilyrelies on two essential neuro-transmitters: dopamine, which isresponsible for the desire, and serotonin involved in satiety andinhibition.

Consumptionof alcohol or smoking of cigarette or even consumption of any otherdrug, results to feelings of pleasure. When this desire arises, ittriggers the release of dopamine the neuro-transmitter involved withthe production of pleasure (Kuhar, 2012). Continued abuse of drugsinhibits the natural production of dopamine in the reward system,and, as a result, the only way to satisfy the lacking pleasure isthrough taking the drugs. This is because of the chemical alterationthat takes place in the brain cells. Presence of drugs causes thebrain to lose its natural functionality aspect, and for it to operatenormally, it has to seek for external pleasure that is present indrugs. Drugs have similar chemical combination as the naturalneurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin. There is the production ofless pleasure in the absence of drugs, and this causes additionaladdiction.

Otherstudies by different scholars show that there is a relationshipbetween the level of addiction and the family setting. One of suchstudies was conducted by Thomas Mc Lellan, Ph.D., a professor in thedepartment of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania,Philadelphia. He noted that there is a distinct characteristicemulated by drug addicts that come from families that have a historyof using drugs. In most cases, a child born by parents who areregular users of drugs has a higher chance of abusing drugs in thelater years in his life. This is explained by an understanding of thehuman body anatomy, especially in the conceptualization of genetics.The various genes making a human being have a mix of inheritance fromboth parents. Therefore, if one parent or both have a history ofbeing drug users, the children born will take those genes andcontinue with the vice. The study was further expounded by HenriBegleiter, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and neuroscience at thestate university of New York, Brooklyn, New York.

TheDopamine and Serotonin Pathways

Dopamineand serotonin are chemical components in the brain anatomy commonlyreferred to as neuro-transmitters. They are responsible for thevarious desires and mood swings on individual experiences. Forinstance, different individuals have different pleasures in lifethere are those who are addicted to travelling and adventure whileothers are addicted to sports. The principal causes of thesebehaviors are the two neuro-transmitters (Tannenbaum, 2008).

Thebrain is a sensitive component of the human body. It may suffer fromvarious ailments ranging from mild to acute. However, with the helpof both dopamine and serotonin, the brain component is able to remaincalm and desist from depression and disorders of the mood.Additionally, the functioning of the human body is centrallycoordinated at the centre of the brain. Neuro-transmitters dopamineis in charge of the normal movements of a person (Tannenbaum, 2008).It is also responsible for the body balance in such functioning aswalking. On the other hand, serotonin is responsible for thecoordination of movement through the management of otherneuro-transmitters.

Dopaminehas a role in the controlling of impulse. It is responsible for theaddiction and other behavioral changes in an individual. Low levelsof dopamine production trigger an individual to seek for pleasureelsewhere (Tannenbaum, 2008). This explains the concept of addictionin an individual’s life. The addiction may range from that of mereshopping spree to abuse of drugs and other products. The impulsefunction in the human anatomy has a linkage to dopamine production(Kuhar, 2012). Scholars, however have not outlined a clearrelationship between the two components.

Dopamineis also responsible for the various desires in an individual. It is achemical element that explains the reason why people crave fordifferent items. Motivation in the life of a person is also relatedto dopamine (Kuhar, 2012). The behavioral change associated withachievement has its source in the brain, and it is normallyinfluenced by the release of dopamine and coordinated by serotonin.The reward system explains why an individual will seek for moreperformance so as to achieve the associated rewards. The twopathways dopamine and serotonin, have the role of connecting thevarious parts of the brain. Operant conditioning gives guidance inthe understanding of the reward system of human beings. Scholars haveput it across that an individual will always seek for satisfactionthrough repeated actions.

Studieshave shown that any imbalance between serotonin and dopamine mayresult to depression and disorders associated with anxiety. On theother hand, low levels of serotonin have an association withincreased cases of suicide. The study of the two chemical elements,therefore, explains the concept of mood and disorder in a humanbeing. The two chemicals also coordinate the communication functionof the brain (Kuhar, 2012). For instance, the brain coordinates thesignaling of the heart to function. Another instance is thecoordination of appetite in human functioning. Serotonin isresponsible for the levels of appetite in the body, normallytriggered through the production of the appetite signals.

Astudy by Helen Fisher, Ph.D., an anthropologist at RutgersUniversity, expounds on the concept of love at first sight and theassociated feelings. She connotes that the feeling is a combinationof lust and dopamine (Kuhar, 2012). She further explains thatdopamine is a factor of infatuation, and it affects the feelings anindividual have towards the topic of love. Other scholars haveexpressed similarity in the relationship of dopamine with factorssuch as insomnia and lost appetite. Fisher further expounds on theconcept that dopamine is distributed in all the four brain pathways(Tannenbaum, 2008). It is, therefore, easily picked by the signalsmeant for connectivity and acts as a bridge. Dopamine is alsoresponsible for the movement of the muscles.

GeorgeKoob, Ph.D., a neuro-pharmacology professor at Scripps ResearchInstitute also offers contributions to the concept of dopamine.George states that the neuro-transmitters act as a spark plugresponsible for triggering behavior (Kuhar, 2012). He furtherobserves that the process of sparks production must take placefailure to which the body will remain stagnated as a result of failedmovements of the muscles. It is clear that dopamine has a link withattention and concentration levels. It is, therefore, eminent thatdopamine encourages addiction. This concept is further emphasized byDavid Goldman, Ph.D., a neuro-scientist with the national Instituteof Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. David notes that dopamine reinforcesbehavior which is associated with the feelings of good or bad(Tannenbaum, 2008).

Scholarshave had a consensus in the area of study of dopamine. It hasresulted out that dopamine is responsible for every day’sindividual behaviors. Having a focus on one single factor in life isassociated with increasing dopamine levels (Kuhar, 2012). Personalityof an individual is also associated with dopamine as observed byRichard Depue, Ph.D., a professor of human development at CornellUniversity. This explains the reason behind any form of motivationbe it to abuse drugs or to work hard at work or at school. Richardalso observed that the level of activeness of dopamine affectsexcitement associated with setting goals. In contrast, serotonin is aneuro-transmitter associated with calmness and tranquility. It isresponsible for fighting depression disorders in the human brain(Tannenbaum, 2008).


Thebrain of a person is the most-sophisticated organ in the human body.It is the steering wheel for all the activities conducted by anindividual. Additionally, it is responsible for the alignment ofthoughts and other activities (Kuhar, 2012). It is a component ofseveral parts and all of them work efficiently. Consumption of drugsaffects several parts of the brain. These include: – brainstem,cerebral cortex and the limbic system. Each of the affected areas hasa specific function in the life of a human being. The brain stem isin charge of controlling the basic functionalities of life among theminclude power of sleeping, heartbeat, and also breathing. On theother hand, the cerebral cortex, which is a composite of varioussubdivisions, has the responsibility of senses and also thinking.Lastly, the limbic system is a component of the reward system of thebrain. Limbic system also has the role of boosting the habitualbehaviors and is the one mostly affected by addiction (Tannenbaum,2008).

Thehuman brain has the role of maintaining body balance. It is also asource of human motivation in the life of a person. Studies haveshown a relationship between human motivation and the level ofdopamine produced (Kuhar, 2012). The behavioral change associatedwith achievement has its source in the brain, and it is normallyinfluenced by the release of dopamine and coordinated by serotonin. Afurther study on the reward circuit of the brain explains theperformance of the brain and coordination of the rewards expected.The two pathways dopamine and serotonin, have the role of connectingthe various parts of the brain (Tannenbaum, 2008).

Ageof a person determines the level of addiction to drugs. An earlydevelopment of the brain cells is characterized by many activities.The level of vulnerability of teens is higher than in adults orchildren (Brandão, 2006). At an early stage of growth, the braincells have many activities geared towards shaping the brain in anormal way. These changes contribute to the chances of one falling tothe trap of being an addict. Another factor that supports the theoremis the level of affiliation to the reward system. At adolescence, thebrain of teens have higher affirmative to the many factors related torewards. This explains why they have a higher chance of falling drugand substance abuse victims (Fisher, 2006).


Thehuman brain is a communication hub or component functionality thatconsist several neurons. Neurons are pathways of communication asthey transmit messages/signals to several parts of the brain and thebody (Brandão, 2006). Neurons send messages to other neurons in theform of electric signals. The chemical component is comprised ofneurotransmitters charged with the role of carrying informationbetween neurons. The receptors are chemical components on which theneurotransmitters get attached in their function of sending andreceiving messages/signals. Their main function is to receive theelectrical signals (Kuhar, 2012).

Functioningof Drugs in the Brain

Thelimbic system is the brain component charged with the development andmaintenance of feelings and pleasures. This explains why it is theone highly affected by drugs abuse, as it is excited by those drugscausing habitual feelings (Kuhar, 2012). The chemical componentsfound in drugs normally affect the communication pathways of thebrain. Drugs have effects on neurons’ functionality of sending andreceiving signals waiting for the information to be processed. Forinstance, a drug like marijuana and those in its category has thecapacity of activating the neurons as they have a natural aspectsimilar to that of neurotransmitters (Tannenbaum, 2008). They feedthe brain with abnormal signals that lead to processing of abnormalinformation. On the other hand, drugs in the category of cocaine havethe capacity of activating the neurons in the release of largecomponents of neurotransmitters thus distracting the communicationpathways.

Anotable observation in the usage of drugs is the destruction of braincells. For instance, those who excessively consume alcohol for longperiods of time have a chance of experiencing shrinks in theirbrains. Scientists have discovered this by carrying out autopsies,whereby they observe the effects of drugs. Another scenario isthrough carrying out magnetic resonance imaging and other CT scans tothe alcoholics. Drugs have been associated with the destruction ofbrain cells which may be a big problem in the future. Additionally,drugs damage the sources of dopamine chemical, which is responsiblefor the emotional stability of a human being (Tannenbaum, 2008).

Excessiveabuse of drugs produces a number of changes to the brain cells. Thehuman brain operates as a combined effort of the variousfunctionality cells (Tannenbaum, 2008). Each cell has its function inthe normal circumstance of the brain operation. However, usage ofdrugs alters the functioning of these cells thereby causing effectsto the brain. One of the notable changes in the brain operation isthe abnormal production of neurotransmitters. Drugs have a similareffect as the natural neurotransmitters in the body. They produceartificial pleasure that alters the normal functioning of the brain.The presence of drug element in the brain cells hinders the releaseof dopamine and serotonin chemicals. This affects the processing ofsending and receiving information in the brain cells and to otherparts of the body (Kuhar, 2012).

Additionally,the presence of drug components in the brain cells causes highrelease of neurotransmitters. This normally happens because of theassociation of the pleasure of drugs and the natural pleasureproduced by the natural neurotransmitters. In a natural setting, thereward system of the brain produces balanced pleasures. This is as aresult of the normal release of both the dopamine and the serotoninneurotransmitters (Tannenbaum, 2008). When a person fails to takedrugs, the remaining source of pleasure is through the normal releaseof dopamine chemical. This helps an individual to differentiatebetween the motivating factors and those that do not bring upmotivation. However, the effect is different in the case of drugaddiction. An addict obtains pleasure from the drug through constantintake. This in the long run damages the brain cells.

Moreover,drug elements attach themselves to the receptors to replace theneurotransmitters. When a person takes drugs, the chemical in thedrugs mix with the blood and it attaches itself at the end of thereceptors. This replaces the natural neurotransmitters that areresponsible for the sending and receiving messages. The chemicaleffect of drugs is similar to that from the natural transmitters(Tannenbaum, 2008). When the drug chemicals attach themselves to theneurons, they get transported to all parts of the brain. There is theproduction of the high feelings brought about by the drug. Thistriggers the brain cells charged with production of dopamine toeither fasten the production process or slow it at all. Excessiverelease of dopamine will produce mixed feelings to the drug user inthe absence of drugs.

Atadvanced stages of drug addiction, the drug user experiences momentsof lows and highs brought about by the after effects of excessive useof drugs. At this stage, the brain cells are destroyed thus affectingthe normal process of release of the neurotransmitters. This normallyhappens because the chemical elements present in the drugs block theneuron pathways. This also has the effect of releasing excessivereceptors to a given number of neurotransmitters (Tannenbaum, 2008). All this affects the normal functionality of the brain cell, and inthe long run may lead to acute destruction of the entire brain.It is, therefore, clear that drugs have adverse effects to the braincells and the components of neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmissionand Drug Disruption

Neurotransmissionfunctionality of the brains has two components dopamine andserotonin. Abuse of drugs produces pleasure in the brains which arenormally targeted to the reward system of the brain (Kuhar, 2012).When the reward system of the brain is affected by drugs, it inhibitsthe neurotransmission process by neurons. Another component of thebrain affected by drugs is the synapse. It is a sophisticated elementof the brain, and it is affected by drugs and produces mixedreactions. The synaptic transmission may be triggered to release moretransmitters into the synaptic space (Kuhar, 2012). This unusualrelease of the dopamine causes potential health hazards to anindividual.

Drugsfunction in a similar manner likes the natural bodyneurotransmitters. The intake of the drug results to its absorptioninto the blood where it gets attached to the neurons. When thishappens, there is the production of chemical signals from the drugelements. These messages all distributed to the entire brain cellsthus affecting its functionality. The natural neurotransmitters areblocked by the chemical elements in the drugs. This alters thestability of the brain and may result to unconscious moments or evenmoments of hallucinations (Tannenbaum, 2008).

DrugPleasure in the Brain

Drugsoftenly affect the reward system. This mostly happens through theflooding of the brain circuit with dopamine. This takes place becausedopamine is the component in charge of emotions, pleasure andmotivation. When the reward system is activated normally it has theeffect of producing normal behaviors (Tannenbaum, 2008). However,when the same system is stimulated through the use of drugs, itresults to ecstatic effects and have an effect on the drug user.Constant/habitual use of drugs results to high levels of ecstasy thusresulting to addiction.

Brainshave the prioritizing factor in the life of a human being. Thisnormally happens because the circuit associated with the rewardsystem helps in raising the levels of motivation and also pleasure.When an important event happens, the brain records it and thewillpower to do it habitually (Tannenbaum, 2008). A similar procedureis followed in the process of drug addiction. Drugs have the capacityof activating the brain reward circuit thus encouraging easyaddiction.

Researchhas shown that drugs are able to produce more pleasure than thenatural rewards. As a result of this factor drugs results to highlevels of production of dopamine chemical. However, that is not thecase with other natural rewards such as having sex, sleeping or eveneating. The effects produced by consumption of drugs are adverse andlasts for longer periods as compared to natural rewards (Kuhar,2012). Studies have shown that the art of drug abuse is proceduraland takes a lot of mastery. The scenario explains why it is hard foran addict to stop consuming drugs.

Continuoususage of drugs produces several effects towards the functioning ofthe brain. Huge consumption of drugs affects dopamine and otherneurotransmitters. This leads to the production of smaller amounts ofdopamine, and also results to low number of receptors elementscharged with the role of receiving signals (Tannenbaum, 2008). Tocounter the low production of dopamine, a drug addict will have toconsume lots of the drug amounts to seeking for pleasure. This is aresult of reduced pleasure associated with low levels of dopamineproduction. The continuous process results to depression and a personlacks pleasure of life, and this finally results to total addiction.

Along period of consuming drugs will affect the brain circuits. Thedevelopment of tolerance to drugs makes the abuser feel helplesswithout the drug. In the long run, the effects result to the damagingof the brain circuits. The neurons and other neurotransmitters areaffected and altered in the way of functionality (Tannenbaum, 2008).A neurotransmitter known as glutamate has the capacity to affect thereward circuit of the brain and also the ability of an individual tolearn. Huge consumption of drugs leads to an alteration in theirfunctioning and results to impairment in the cognition functionalityof the brain.

DrugsEffects on behaviors

Anothernotable change occurring into the brain of a drug abuser is thebehavioral changes. Prolonged use of drugs can result to thedisruption of the essential brain interaction structures. Thisaffects the way an individual relates to matters concerningself-control. The effects of tolerance are also exhibited at thisstage of drug usage (Kuhar, 2012). A specific drug abuser seekssolace from consumption of more amounts of the drug which result toaddiction. The resultant effect is low self-esteem and also affectsan individual’s decision-making process.

Scientificresearch on the topic of addiction and the operation of the brainindicate that drug addiction is a real problem to the brains(Tannenbaum, 2008). It is shown that the effects of drugssignificantly affect the way the brain react towards nature and lifeissues. The process of addiction takes time gradually from the simpleleisure behavior to drug addiction. A person starts taking drugs in avoluntary manner as a form of lifestyle, later the drug developsdependence to the brain thus making the person seek constantly formore pleasure from the drug. The constant process of seeking forexternal pleasure produced by consuming a drug leads to intake oflarger amounts of the drug. The resulting effect is addiction to thedrug user. This theorem is supported by the concept of pleasure thebrain obtains from the release of dopamine (Kuhar, 2012).

Additionally,the drug user develops behavioral changes that are eminent from theeffects of taking drugs. An individual alters their functionality inthe presence of family members and also the society. The behavioralchanges are brought about by the craving pleasures produced byfailure to use the drug (Tannenbaum, 2008). To satisfy the pleasures,the individual person has to seek for larger quantities of the drugs.The brain cells, and in particular the reward system develops anxietyin the event of absence of the drug. The mood patterns of a personare affected by the lows and highs experienced during the process oftaking drugs. In the long run, a person may turn hostile to people oreven suffer from acute moments of loneliness and depression.

Anothernotable finding in the study of drug addiction in brain chemistry isthe effects on perception and emotional status of a person.Perception is the way or manner in which a person views specificevents or happenings as compared to others. The process of perceptionis normally coordinated in the brain mechanisms. When a person takesdrugs, they alter the normal functioning of the brain through theproduction of abnormal pleasures and neurotransmitters which affectthe way a person respond to an event. For instance, the consumptionof marijuana produces moment of high to the consumer (Kuhar, 2012). Aperson starts to reside in the world of illusion and imaginations.This highly affects the way that person will perceive importantthings in life. Also, during the low moments of the drug taker,abnormal surges happen in the brain. There is moments of happinessfollowed by moments of solitude. To fight these two moments, drugaddicts seek for more pleasures in the taking of drugs. This furthercontinues to destroy the brain cells, and if not well checked mayresult to total damage.

Asimilar chemistry happens to the emotional status of a person. Theemotions of a person develop from the brains. They are perceived bythe brain cells and distributed to other parts of the body. In anormal circumstance, the brains produce a mix of stable emotionswhich are necessary for human existence. In the event of drugaddiction, the human brain is conditioned to operate from externalforces. According to B. F Skinner’s theorem of operantconditioning, a given behavior is a result of the reward orpunishment received (Tannenbaum, 2008). He proved this factor throughthe use of rat and meat experiment. Similarly, the brain of a drugaddict is conditioned to work only in the presence of the drug. Theabsence of that condition will affect the emotional stability of theaddict who may even turn to suicidal cases.

Skinner’sexperiment has an elaborated outlay of the effects of both positiveand negative reinforcements. In the event of a positivereinforcement, the behavior is reinforced. Similarly, in the event ofnegative reinforcement, the behavior is changed (Ries, 2009). Thesetwo concepts explain the reason why a reformed drug may continuesuffering from moments of compulsion. In the event a person reformsfrom taking drugs, necessary steps should be taken to ensure that aperson do not fallback into the trap of using drugs again (Kuhar,2012). This can be done through issuance of positive rewards afterreformation, and negative reinforcement to those taking drugs todiscourage them from the usage of those elements.

Theorigin of memory is in the brain nerves. The human brain carriesvarious tasks in the human development cycle. Generally, there aretwo basic forms of memory the short-term memory, and the long-termmemory (Tannenbaum, 2008). Human brain has various components withdifferent memory types. Drugs usage affects the cortex part of thebrain. This part of the brain holds both the short and long termmemories. An addict will normally suffer from memory lapses resultingfrom the damage to the cortex part of the brain. An acute addict willprobably suffer from distortion of speech because of the damagecaused to the memory storage bank for remembering information.Another effect is the impaired decision-making process accompanied byslow response to events (Kuhar, 2012).

Abiological change occurs to the fundamental functionality of thebrain in the event of prolonged drug consumption. Drug addictionalters the structural functionality of the brain cells thus affectingthe whole concept of human operation. Studies have shown that drugsdisrupt the neuro-transmitters in the brain (Tannenbaum, 2008). It isthese transmission elements that ensure proper flow of informationthrough electric signals throughout the brain cells and to otherparts of the body. An alteration will lead to changes in the processof sending and receiving of information, and in the end the delayedmotion in the body of a drug addict. Any damage to a brain cellstructure by drugs may end up being irreversible. Therefore, even inthe event of a reformed drug addict, similar problems might beexperienced in the future. Amygdala component of the brain structureis responsible for emotions and memory (Kuhar, 2012). An alterationthrough the usage of drugs will cause it destruction and furthereffects to the entire human body.

Braincircuit is a connection of various components all which function in acoordinated manner. A drug addict will experience moments of neuronchanges that cause an adaptive nature in respect to the abused drug.A long period of drug abuse cause changes in the distortion of thecognitive process (Tannenbaum, 2008). The brain operates in a mannerof seeking for a motivation through the consumption of drugs. This iswell-explained by borrowing facts from the law of motivationdeveloped by Abraham Maslow. In this theorem, a person seeks forattainment of basic human needs before proceeding to the next levelof needs in the hierarchy. A similar effect is experienced in thebrain anatomy of a drug addict. A drug addict will constantly keeplooking for the additional pleasure from the usage of the drug(Kuhar, 2012). However, prolonged use will result to low moment ofpleasure or no additional pleasure at all. To adapt to the newchanges, the drug addict will consume huge amounts of the drug thusworsening the addiction case.

Further,the use of drugs cause instances of jammed brain circuits. Theexternal pleasure found in drugs blocks the brain pathwaysresponsible for the transmission of dopamine and serotonin. As aresult of this, the brain is left with no option other than toembrace the new chemical alterations. This explains the reason whyaddiction is a gradual process and not just an event of a single day(Tannenbaum, 2008). The drug addict normally seeks for unnatural waysof pleasure contained in the drugs. In advanced stages of addiction,the specific user is affected in the way they respond to the outsideworld components. The brain solely gains satisfaction from the drugs,and this result to decreased attention to the real world.

Asophisticated way of understanding the operation of addiction and thebrain chemistry is through the study of the concept of homeostasis.It is scholarly noted that homeostasis is a biological status of thebody remaining at a similar level or at constant (Lessa, 2009). It isthe self-balancing of the body that occurs through the interaction ofthe various activities of the brain. In the event of a drugaddiction, there are two effects that normally take place: one thereis a short term positive effect of increased release of the dopaminechemical, and secondly there is the negative long term of addictionwhich may cause destruction of brain cells. High levels of dopaminechemical enable a person to maintain a normal body balance in termsof natural pleasure produced (Kuhar, 2012). This can be explained bythe effect produced by normal activities such as eating or havingsex. It is the normal production of dopamine that enables anindividual to have a balance in the above-stated activities.

Thelong run negative effect of drug intake is the alteration of thehomeostasis process. Brain cells have the capacity to seek for theself-balancing effect through the controlled production level of bothdopamine and serotonin. However, in the presence of drugs, the brainis conditioned to operate only through continued usage of drugs. Theeffects are adverse in the case of acute addiction (Tannenbaum,2008). The destroyed brain cells have no capacity to produce thenecessary neurons, and this affects the natural process of productionof neurotransmitters. To compensate on the gap built when the braincells are destroyed, the drug addict will continue to take hugeamounts of the drug with the aim of getting pleasure. In somecircumstances, the additional intake of drugs does not produce thepleasure experienced at early stages of drug use (Kuhar, 2012). Thiscan be explained through studying the theory of marginal utility inEconomics. Application of similar concepts can be used in analyzingthe concept of addiction.

Lastlybut not the least, drugs affect the synaptic transmission. Forinstance, some chemicals present in marijuana causes activation ofsome brain cells. Similarly other effects may happen in the usage ofother drugs that cause the blockage of specific receptors. A givenscenario to explain this happening is found in the study of theeffects of caffeine and other mild stimulants to the brain cells(Tannenbaum, 2008). An uptake of caffeine causes blockage of aneurotransmitter known as adenosine. Adenosine is a neuromodulatorthat induces sleep. Therefore, high intakes of caffeine will causethe blocking of adenosine thus resulting to increased levels ofphysical activities.

Brainvulnerability an age composition(Brain changes due to repeated exposure to drugs)

Studieshave shown a relationship between the age of a person and thevulnerability of the brain cells to drugs. At an early age ofgrowth, the brain cells have several stages to undergo beforeattaining maturity. The Age of an individual affects the level ofdrugs and substances addiction. During the early stages of braindevelopment, brain cells have several activities interrelated to allthe linkages. Vulnerability levels of teens and young children arehigher than adults who have developed brain cells. At an early stageof growth, the brain cells have many activities geared towardsshaping the brain in a normal way. The changes that take place in thebrain cells affect the extent of addiction of a person to drugs. Thisis understood by studying the rewards system of the brain cells. Itis from the brains that the desired level of a person originates.

Similarly,prolonged exposure to drugs at an early stage causes complex damagesto the brain cells. A teenager addicted to drugs has higher chancesof experience acute brain cells since the cells are in the process ofdeveloping. Adults who are exposed to drugs have their brainsdamaged proportionately since the brain cells are at advanced levelof development. All these factors have relationship with the braincells related to the reward system. Other studies have related theearly exposure to drugs to health problems such as schizophrenia. Inmost instances, teens have the susceptibility of falling into earlyand permanent addiction as compared to other groups of people. When ateen falls into drug addiction, there are several changes that happento his life. One of the changes is the adoption of a new lifestylewhich may worsen the situation of addiction. Teens suffer fromhallucination problems and also moments of solitude. There is alsonotable damage to the neurons at teenage than at developed stages oflife time. It is paramount for an early detection and treatmentbefore the situation become worse.

Scholarshave also invested in the study of age and addiction in differentways. Several drugs have been studied and their effects to the lifeof an individual person. For instance, alcohol has almost similareffects to the brains as cocaine and related drugs. Also, the age ofthe person consuming the drug has been taken into consideration inthe research. Young children and teenagers have higher health damagewhen exposed to drugs than their adult counterparts. Children bornfrom parents who use drugs have higher chances of turning into thesame trend of drug addiction. During the period of conception andchild development in the mother’s womb, several changes happen. Thedrug chemicals get absorbed to the body of young one and this affectsthe child later.

Aprolonged exposure to drugs causes several notable changes. Drugchemicals affect the pathways in the brain cells. This reduces thelevel of communication between the various brain cells. Theinhibition of brain communication has effect on the normal activitiesconducted by an individual (Lessa, 2009). For instance, an alcoholuser experiences moments of imbalances in the body. There is also anotable characteristic of addiction and brain coordination. The levelof decision making is also low in drug addicts as compared to anormal person. Drugs also cause the blockage of important cellformation spaces in the brain (OECD, 2010). This in the long runaffects the level of dopamine chemical produced. The end result islow levels of natural pleasures and one has to seek for more drugs.

Adiagrammatic presentation of the vulnerability of brain cells to drugaddiction.


Drugaddiction is a community problem. The burden caused by the drugaddict to the members of the society is the supporting factor. Drugaddiction is associated with the rise in the level of crime rates(Kuhar, 2012). Community-based programs should be introduced to helpreforming members of the society. When an addict who wants to reformis identified in the society, the action should be taken toincorporate the family members in the recovery process. It is alsoparamount to educate the reformed addicts on the importance ofavoiding peer pressure (Tannenbaum, 2008). This will help the processof reformation and lower the chances of repeating the abuse of drugs.Those in the early stages of abusing drugs should be enlightened onthe dangers of drug addiction to their brains.

Toboost the production of enough dopamine chemical it necessary to eatthe correct diet mainly plant sources of diet. Although scientistshave not shown any clear relationship between the diet and thecondition of the Parkinson disease, it is important to eat healthily.Diet with lots of vitamins B, C, and E should be encouraged to theaddicts (Tannenbaum, 2008). To avoid cases of dementia, one issupposed to avoid alcohol as it erodes the brain cells charged withmanufacturing of dopamine. Alcohol is a known source of brain jamsessions it blocks the neurons pathways and releases artificialillusions and pleasures. This causes the drug addict to experiencemoments of self-satisfaction.

Thestarting point of drug treatment is the acceptance by the drugaddict. After an individual person accepts his problem, the nextprocess involves joining a reformation program. The drug addictshould be conditioned to a therapy meant to reform him (Kuhar, 2012).

Astudy by Patricia Owen, Ph.D., director of Butler center for researchat Hazelden, show that there is no biological inclination in anaddict. It is, therefore, crucial to encourage a reinforcedtreatment program to an addict. An explanation to the concept isshown by the new behaviors depicted by a reforming drug addict(Tannenbaum, 2008). The brain normally registers the new ways of lifeespecially the changing source of pleasure after discontinuation fromdrug usage. For proper treatment program to be achieved, it isparamount to understand the biological and behavioral linkage withaddiction.

Itis, therefore, essential to discuss the brain chemistry involved inaddiction in an in-depth way, and also expound on the effects ofaddiction to the functioning of the brain and its anatomy. Brainanatomy is comprised of two chemical components the dopamine andserotonin. These two components are responsible for the variouspleasures in the life of a person. The two elements are commonlyknown as neurotransmitters (Cui, 2013). They have the function ofreceiving the sent signals and completing the communication circuitin the brain cells. In a natural setting, the two elements affect thebasics of life such as craving for adventure and involvement invarious sports. In the study of molecular pharmacology, it is evidentthat drugs affect several components of the brain. Drugs also alterthe normal functionality of the brain cells through production ofartificial pleasure (Kuhar, 2012). Behavioral changes in the life ofan addict can better be explained through the study of the rewardsystem of the brain circuit. Studies have shown that acute addictionleads to no additional pleasure, but it is associated with sealingthe gap of reduced dopamine production. It is, therefore, clear as towhy an individual will continue to abuse drugs for long period toobtain the pleasure produced by the drug elements.


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