Biological approach to addiction

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Biological approach to addiction
Tolerance: the ability to repeat exposure to something such as drugs and not experience the orginal
chemical reaction.
Withdrawal symptoms: the physical effects on the body that are experienced when the person is no
longer experiencing or consuming the object of their addiction such as alcohol and cigarettes which
their body had become accustomed to depend on. Including
being ill having headaches and shaking.
Relapse: a falling back into a prior situation or state. This is usually described after a period of mass
Dependence: Describes and emotional need for a substance or experience which people begin to
think that they can't live without and need to have in order to live out a normal life.
Salience: the priority of your addiction (drugs) over every other need in life as its all you think about.
It describes addiction as being a product of a genetic vulnerability and neurochemical factors.
The trigger that enforces these behaviours that are always present can come from an
environmental stressor.
A dependence is developed when the body starts to rely on the consumption of the
substances for everyday life.
The physical dependence becomes apparent once the person has stopped the addiction as
they experience withdrawal symptoms.
People need help in order to stop the addiction as it has modified their chemical balance and
cannot be stopped without medical help to restore the imbalance. Drugs are taken and the
disorder is treated like a disease.
The neurotransmitter dopamine is said to be the cause of the amounts of pleasure that
comes from using the addictive substances and the positive feeling from the pleasure
centres is what repeatedly enables us carry on.
It could also be impairments in their PFC therefore their brain is more likely to act on
receiving reinforcements.
MDP increases blood flow to the striatum (from events like social interaction pleasure is
received). The increase means they regularly desire the experience.
Receptors in the synapse
Dopamine reward pathway


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