Posted by katherine on March 2nd, 2020
Reactional drug abuse has become a real public health issue in the United States. Every year, thousands of people die from overdosing or from drug-associated complications.
The socioeconomic costs of addiction extend beyond the calculated numbers due to eventual unemployment, marital issues, and productivity reduction.
Unfortunately, the online community is filled with misinformation and false claims about “alleged” methods that treat addiction, which is very damaging since it pushes patients away from real healthcare management.
For this reason, we decided to write this article to clearly define what addiction is, as well as the US effort to battle this issue.
Why Does Addiction Occur?
Addiction is a complex neuropsychological condition that has been the subject of thousands of studies worldwide.
To understand addiction, we need to tackle the biochemical nature of the body’s pleasure center.
In our brain, there is a collection of cells known as the nucleus accumbens (NA), which give the person a feeling of euphoria whenever stimulated.
These cells are activated by the release of dopamine in the hippocampus, creating a complex cascade of chemical reactions that result in feelings of satisfaction, happiness, and extreme pleasure.
The nucleus accumbens gets turned on whenever we experience something pleasurable; for instance, if you eat a piece of your favorite chocolate, this area will light up.
However, reactional drugs alter this area in a different way. First, they cause excessive activation of dopamine release, and second, the duration of this activation is short (a short half-life).
Therefore, each time the patient experiences these feelings of pleasure, it only lasts for a short period and their intensity is quite high.
That, in a nutshell, is how an addiction forms. The activation of this biochemical cascade becomes so important that individuals are ready to lose everything to get that brief dopamine release in their nucleus accumbens.
In a famous study, scientists ran an experiment on lab rats where electrical electrodes were connected to a male rat’s nucleus accumbens, and each time he presses a lever, the NA gets activated.
Scientists provided food, water, and female partners (the three basic instincts) for the male rat; however, he kept pressing that lever to feel the dopamine rush while ignoring his digestive and reproductive needs.
Amazingly, the lab rat kept pressing the lever until he died! This example showcases just how powerful addiction is.
Detox Centers in the US
The problem of addiction has invaded the US since the 20th century. However, and as medicine advances, we have a better understanding of the pathophysiology of addiction, as well as the appropriate treatment for these patients.
The US government has always encouraged the opening of new detox centers to help patients in need.
Some notable areas with great responses: Drug detox centers in Maryland are doing outstanding work as this is a drug hotspot in the US. Washington DC alcohol detox programs have also been gaining acting again again is wehat is a very difficult problem for them, and the detox centers in Delaware are doing exceptional work.
These efforts are showing promising results, but more work is necessary.
If you have any questions about the topics of addiction and detox, feel free to share them in the comment section down below.
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About the Authorkatherine
Joined: February 13th, 2018
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