Addiction has been identified as a brain disease that develops compulsive behaviours with negative health consequences. Research shows that brains become altered with drug usage, and these changes are difficult to reverse. Drugs can acutely affect mood, memory, perception and emotional states through structural and chemical changes in the brain.The changes in the brain are most likely responsible for the long -lasting behavioural changes that distort cognitive and emotional functions.For more details-Precipitated Withdrawal.
Addiction begins with the voluntary behaviour of using drugs and addicts must take some responsibility for their rehabilitation from drug abuse. Having a brain disease does not absolve the addict of responsibility for his or her behaviour, but explains why the condition is difficult to reverse.
Clinical studies support the view that addicts may move into different physical and mental state, and it appears that addiction treatment may require a modified approach that can improve efficacy.
Drug rehab centres can focus on treating dramatic withdrawal symptoms of drug and alcohol addiction, by managing them with appropriate medications, but it appears that these brain diseases are not simply biological in nature. The striking difference between addiction and other brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s and clinical depression is that addiction begins voluntarily, and not everyone who uses drugs become addicted.
Individuals differ substantially in how easily they become addicted, and in their preference for particular substances.Consistent with the biobehavioral nature of addiction, individual differences result from a combination of environmental, biological and particularly genetic factors. Scientists have discovered genes that may be responsible for addiction and it is estimated that genetics may be largely responsible for the susceptiblity to becoming addicts.
Addiction genes, are biological differences or gene mutations that may make someone more or less vulnerable to addiction. It may be more difficult for people with these gene mutations to quit once they start. Or severe withdrawal symptoms that can only be alleviated with more of the drug intake may develop. Factors that make it harder to become addicted also may be genetic as many individuals appear to be affected differently by the same drug. To offer effective help for addiction, it may be necessary for addiction centers to develop specific programs for individuals that recognises the multiple components of the condition.
The issue appears to be a bit more complex as social and environmental factors also seem to contribute to this risk of addictions and there may be multiple genes that may be responsible. Many factors determine the likelihood that someone will become an addict, and genetic makeup does not necessarily doom someone to become an addict as environment makes up a large component of addiction risk. The genes and environmental factors can add up or cancel each other out. The gene mutations may differ, and not everyone who carries the genes will display addictive traits.
Several gene mutations have been discovered including a gene called AGS3 and gene such as PKNOX2. Understanding the addiction as a brain disease, has broad and significant implications for addiction treatment. The important question of whether specific drugs can be developed as treatment for addictions can also be addictive. The best known example is the appropriate use of morphine as a pain treatment. It is essential for drug rehab centers to understand that drug addicts are individuals whose brains have been altered by drug use and drug addiction treatment is needed.
Developing improved treatments for addiction is now much easier thanks to the research and discovery of addiction susceptibility genes. Each new addiction gene identified becomes a potential “drug target.” Focus can now be shifted to study how the gene functions and highly specific modifications can now be made to these particular genes. In so doing, the chemical and physical brain function can be restored and addiction condition can be reversed.