Drugs Essay

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| Drug Addiction | Drug AddictionDate: 6 July 2006 What is Drug Addiction? According to the latest evidence from human and animal studies (yes, even animals can become addicted to drugs), addiction is a chronic disease, just like diabetes or hypertension. As in other chronic diseases, it too occurs in vulnerable individuals who have been exposed to risks of getting the disease. In diabetes, individuals who are overweight, don’t exercise and have family members with diabetes are more likely to contract it. In addiction, those who abuse addictive substances have a high likelihood of becoming addicted to them. What surprises laypeople and medical personnel alike is the lack of insight addicts have into their own behaviour. They are in a constant state of denial of how miserable addiction is making their life. The addict says, “I’m only taking this to get through the day. I can stop if I really want to.” But he never does for long. Behaviour Addictive substances such as heroin, alcohol, nicotine, metamphetamines (also called ice and syabu) and ecstasy pills cause drastic changes in people. The most recent research indicates these drugs act on the part of the brain called the reward pathway. Humans, as well as other organisms, engage in behaviours that are rewarding; the pleasurable feelings one has cause the behaviour to be repeated. There are natural rewards as well as artificial rewards, such as drugs. Natural rewards such as food, water, sex and nurturing allow the person to feel pleasure when eating, drinking, having sex and being nurtured or loved. Such pleasurable feelings reinforce the behaviour so that it will be repeated, thus ensuring the survival of the species. The collection of nerve cells that is located towards the centre of the brain called the reward pathway is the part of us that controls these behaviours. When a

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