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Lecture 5


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Suzanne Erb

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PSYC62: Lec 5: Addiction Why can’t they just stop? Addiction in media is oversimplified Weak will or some sort of epiphany Addiction alters brain and recovery can be a messy process Getting treatment can be overwhelming Addiction is a brain disease  Develops over time and changes occur in function and structure that can persist long after individual stops taking drugs  Responsible for cognitive and emotional dysfunction that characterizes an addicted brain  Functions and looks differently from an individual who merely experimented with the drug or abuses the drug, but not clinically diagnosed Relapse is part of the disease  Relapse is an ongoing part of addiction cycle o Frequently cycling through series of phases (drug taking/abstinence-short period/relapse-start taking drugs again)  Individual able to maintain abstinence for months or years o Drug free for many years and then suddenly relapse again o Why are individuals so vulnerable after so many years of abstinence Addiction is treatable  Not that much different from parkinson’s. schizophrenia  Can be treated, but difficult Sooner an addict gets treatment, the better  Combine use of medications and behavioural therapy and access to social services, in order for treatment to be successful  Whole individual needs to be assessed  No indication that medication will completely treat addiction o Psychological side effects exist  Sooner the changes in brian structure and function as a consequence of drug exposure, sooner they’re arrected, less disdease is allowed to progress, better the prognosis  Sooner the behavior alpatterns that characterize addiction are broken, more likely the positive outcome  Drug taking becomes increasingly habitual  If the habit can be broken early on, the better the outcome Longer addict stays in treatment,  Increased compliance and motivation to be drug free  Progress to advanced stages of treatment Addiction is not a moral failure  Alan lshner quote o Many diseases that affect society and become a burden on many levels (economical/social) o Sometimes come out of personal choices  Diabetes, heart disease, cancer  They don’t have the same stigma associated with them as addiction  Physiological and genetical factors make certain individuals susceptible to addiction (combined with environmental factors)  Wrong place at the wrong time can set stage for development of drug addiction  There is always a personal factor in taking drugs, but when addict enters loss of control that’s when disease is manifest Drugs and alchol can highjack the brain’s reward system  Addicted individuals circuitry becomes sensitive to drugs and drug cues and fires unchecked and starts to control idnividual’s behavior in seeking drugs in a pathological way  Because of drug’s ability to hijack, drug experience can alter individual’s responses to natural reinforcers Risk factors  Triggers genetic and environmental including stressful life experiences that make individuals vulnerable to drugs Drug and alchol abuse in adolescence  Rare or individual to acquire addiction for first time after age 30 o Adolescence is more sensitive than adults to positive effects of drugs and less sensitive to aversive effects due to developmental changes in the brain occurring in adolescence First 7 segments Don’t
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