The Biopsychology of Drug Addiction

Biopsychology of Drug Addiction

Background Information

Understanding of health and diseases relate to interactions that occur to sociological, psychological and biological factors. Biopsychology has traditionally been used to mean the interactions between biological factors and the individual health. Community health as well as individual health, are usually some of the important aspects of life that have led to the introduction of health care plans and medical institutions. Biopsychology has lately been expounded to include social factors that affect behavior of people. The name has been expanded to be called biopsychosocial aspects this adds various social aspects that affect behavior of individuals (Gurewich, Jenna, Sirkin & Shepard, 2012).

Biopsychology can be used in behavioral medicine. This means that there are some medical factors that affect the behavior of individuals. One of the medical areas where medical sciences affect biopsychology is the issue relating to drug addiction. Drug addiction is a biopsychology issue since it affects the behavior of individuals. It changes the normal functioning of human organs such as the brain. It could also be said to be a biopsychosocial issue since it affects individuals as well as other people in family and community at large. Understanding causes of addiction has been said to be more complex (Lev-Ran, Adler, Nitzan & Fennig, 2012).

Complexity of drug addiction has made addiction to be regarded as multi-causal. Although drugs may cause addiction, they cause different levels of addiction to different individuals. Different addicts also have different behaviors. There are people who may abuse certain drugs and the use does not cause addiction. There are those who use the same amount of drugs and will not lead to addiction. This makes it difficult to understand addiction. Drug addiction treatment is also difficult since different levels of addiction from abuse of similar substance. Treatment of addiction is also determined by the substance abused. This study will therefore look at the biopsychology in drug addiction in details and touch on ethical implications in various aspects of drug addiction (Schwarz, Zelenev, Bruce & Altice, 2012).

There are several causes that researchers have put forward. Biological factors have been viewed to contribute largely to addiction. Researchers have also reviewed the increasing literature on the causes and have drawn relationships between drug dependence and vulnerability to alcoholism. A review of existing literature suggests that there are a number of biological factors that lead an individual to alcohol and dependence on other drugs such as for instance heroin and cocaine. The researchers have grouped biological factors into three major clusters, namely: genetic inheritance of various syndromes of alcoholism, in-utero problems that could affect the central nervous system some physiological factors that could occur after birth (Schwarz, Zelenev, Bruce & Altice, 2012).

The genetic inheritance causes include variability in reactions and metabolisms to drugs and alcohol. Bodies of different individuals react differently to alcohol and other drugs. Individuals have different neurological and biochemical vulnerabilities. Different individuals have different structural differences as well as differences in temperaments. These in born characteristics have been said to cause addiction. Drug addiction due to genetic inheritance becomes complex while trying to contain the situation since the addicts have to alter their neurological make up in order to attain the desired results (Schwarz, Zelenev, Bruce & Altice, 2012). Addiction due to genetic make-up leads to depression and could develop into higher levels if it is left unchecked.

There are also situations where addiction results from damage of an unborn child. The damage of a fetus central nervous system has been viewed to cause addiction. The damage could also damage autonomic nervous system. Addiction could also be caused by biochemical or physical damage that could make the children more vulnerable to alcohol and substance abuse and addiction. Such damages provide higher chances that a child could be addicted to the drugs and substances. These causes have been said to contribute highly to early involvement in drugs to children and teenagers. Treatment of this kind of addiction becomes challenging since a psychiatrist to establish the actual point of damage in order to fix the situation (Hser., Fu, Wu & Du, 2012).

There are other physiological differences that may occur at any point after birth. Such situations are mainly caused by sicknesses improper diet. There are nutritional deficiencies that lead a person to drug use and addiction. Sicknesses could also result into damage of autonomic as well as central nervous system. Accidents could also lead to damage of nervous system leading to psychological instability which would eventually lead to drug and alcohol use and addiction. It has also been observed that physical trauma could also result into drug addiction (Hser., Fu, Wu & Du, 2012). Studies have stated that individuals will try to fight traumatic feelings by abusing alcohol and other drugs.

The biological factors above can be said to cause drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. An individual may have addiction due to one or more of them. However, the presence of all these factors or any one of them can not be use as sufficient evidence of drug abuse and addiction later in life. Psychologists have had different views on these factors claiming that these could only lead to drug addiction at early stages of development. Others have argued that the biological factors could remain dormant in early stages and start at adolescents when chemical reactions and metabolism are high (Gurewich., Jenna,  Sirkin & Shepard, 2012). They have also argued that when these numbers intertwine with negative environmental situations, they are likely to cause higher levels of addiction.

Biopsychology has also been advanced to include sociobiological factors that cause drugs and alcohol addiction. Drug addiction can be explained through implicit and explicit p0rinciples and underpinnings of philosophy. The philosophical point of view holds that causes of addiction are multi-directional. Proponents of biopsychosocial perspective argue that the causes are sensitive and probabilistic to initial dependencies. This means that alcohol and drug addiction cannot be argued to have a single causative factor, but rather a variety of interactive and inter-related causes (Gurewich, Jenna, Sirkin & Shepard, 2012). They also argued that there are some addictions that can not be explained through biological perspectives. These factors could be explained in sociological terms.

Environment has also been noted to cause drug addiction. Person –environment relationship is strongly an influential factor. Biologists argue that environment contributes to configurations in genetic make-up. This means that if a person is surrounded by a community that is involved largely in drug addiction, there are high chances that the person will abuse drugs. This is a typical biopsychosocial phenomenon that is revealed in the change of behavior of an individual. Person to person relationship is also viewed as a main cause of drug and alcohol abuse and addiction. People always follow their peer influence who introduces them to drugs and eventually they become addicts. It has been observed that individuals have always been observed to have large influences to behavior of people (Qureshi, Al-Ghamdy & Al-Habeeb, 2011).

Biopsychosocial proponents argue that reciprocal transactions between environmental factors and personal factors are also possible. This means that individuals from drug addiction environment can also heal from their addiction when they relate with an environment which is drug free. This means that reciprocal transactions could act as a solution to drug addiction. Personal reciprocal transactions could be explained in terms of change of relationship with peers and other individuals. This means that the change could have impacts in that a change of peer group from a drug free to drug addict peer group could result into drug abuse and addiction (Qureshi, Al-Ghamdy & Al-Habeeb, 2011). Therefore, reciprocal transactions could also be said to cause drug addiction.

Future of the person has also been viewed as a cause of drug addiction. Future events and prospects could also lead to drug abuse which eventually would lead to addiction. an example is the overlying incidences where individuals have a myth that individuals will be more active when they take drugs. Students will be lied upon that drugs increases their ability to study for longer times. Therefore, they would try these drugs and end up becoming addicts. The misconception that drugs lead to increased stamina has driven many people into drug abuse and has led to increased drug addiction in many societies (Lev-Ran, Adler, Nitzan & Fennig, 2012).

Treatment of Biopsychological Addiction

Treatment of addiction follows particular models. Addiction treatment providers base their treatment on particular model. There are other practitioners who will base their treatment on their personal belief, basing on how well they understand addictions from different causes. This study has identified different models that has been put forth to overlook on the basis on which addicts are treated. The paper will look at the disease model, the family model, psycho analytic model as well as learning theory (Lev-Ran, Adler, Nitzan & Fennig, 2012). These are the major models that have been widely embraced by drug abuse and addiction care providers.

Family Models

This states that an individual addiction status would not be understood without considering his family relationship. The model holds that different families will tend to resist change which will affect the endeavors of individuals. There are various individuals who have been said to have different roots of addiction from family ties. This boils down to inheritance. It has been found that particular families have alcohol and drug addicted members. This means that individuals that treat drug abuse and addiction have to know the individuals relation with his family a well as the condition of the family members in relation to substance abuse and addiction (Lloyd et.al, 2005). This helps them to determine the various reasons that would have caused addiction and substance abuse.

Psychoanalytic Model

This model of treating victims of drug addiction and substance cause is an extension of Sigmund Freud. However, many of its contents have been rooted in other approaches. The model has faced criticism by perceiving excessive drinking as deeper issue rather than viewing it as central to the problem. This model tries to analyze the problem from deeper causes of addiction. This aids in establishing and understanding the cause of addiction in order to have a better position to approach the condition. This has been as the best approach in giving treatment to drugs alcohol and addicts. Critics have argued that the model waste time investigating a victim’s life history instead of dwelling on treating the individual who is already in addiction (Lloyd et.al, 2005).

The learning model

This theory dwells much on the cognitive aspects and behaviors of addicts. The theory holds that addicts have different thoughts that lead to particular behaviors. This means that treatment of addicts is based on the behaviors that addicts demonstrate. Proponents of the theory have to understand the thoughts of their victims in order to offer treatment to the victims. The model argues that individuals develop addiction due to the environment they are in. the model takes into consideration the actual causes in regard to the environment. The model takes three forms, namely: cognitive modalities, behavioral modalities and the combination of the two which is behavioral-cognitive modalities (Hylton, 2008).

Disease model

This model has widely been embraced largely in the United States since 1960s. This model asserts that certain individuals have physical or psychological features that impede them from regulating intake of alcohol or other drugs abuse. The disease model prescribes collaborative treatment in that addicted victims are persuaded to abstain from alcohol and other drug abuse.  Most treatment centers incorporate this treatment model with other models. The model has faced criticism that it brings confusion in treatment to both victims and clinicians (Hylton, 2008). Such models as moral model, and biological ones have been blended together to offer treatment to substance abusers and victims of addiction.

The models discussed show the modern treatment of addiction. Biopsychology treatment is very useful because it integrates various causes of drug addiction and tries to make treatment on these causes. Biopsychosocial programs engage in risks assessments and seek to enhance prevention and treatment of individuals who are not only addicted, but also those who are at the risk chemical dependence. The theory however does not represent a paradigm shift although the transactional philosophy may have an impact on theoretical and research in behavioral and sciences. The Biopsychosocial model is a universal model that integrates different approaches to treatment and seeks to find deeper understanding of addiction rather than treating the observable conditions and aspects (Robinson, Smith & Saisan, 2012).

There are specialists in prevention of addiction who are advocating for development of methods for risk assessment and protective factors in children and among the youth. Their major objective is to prevent the youth from alcohol abuse and drug addiction. The specialists have taken their campaign in schools and other places where the youth and children are easily accessible. They also target peer groups and family. They argue that prevention of drug and alcohol abuse will help to reduce the rates of addiction, eventually leading to its complete eradication (Robinson, Smith & Saisan, 2012).

Ethical Implications of Drug Addiction

Having looked at the various extreme causes of drug abuse and addiction, it is also important to look at various ethical implications of substance abuse and addiction. Most of these points will dwell much on ethical issues in cure and prevention of biopsychology in drug addiction. Ethical issues that surround a particular action taken towards prevention or curing addicts should morally and ethically acceptable (Dryden & Edwards, 2012). All measures should observe ethics and should be morally acceptable by observing the norms of the society where the victim of addiction comes from.

In rehabilitation centers, the services that are provided should observe high ethical standards. The rehabilitation centers should provide their services in the best possible. Individuals who seek treatment for their loved ones or themselves should rest assured that the services they seek are efficient. This means that all individuals who have long term rehab have to receive the services they searched for. Treatment of drug addiction without observing ethical standards can not guarantee efficient services and results. Care and treatment providers should provide their service in a manner that he expected results equal to the actual results (Dryden & Edwards, 2012).

One of the greatest ethical concerns is confidentiality.  While family members and other groups consider the rehab centers, they have to select the best rehab centre that has a record of high confidentiality levels. Care given in drug addiction and substance abuse treatment is similar to that one offered in contemporary healthcare institutions and the ethical standards that need to be observed are almost similar. There is information that the victims feel they should not be able to share with everyone after recovery. It is the moral obligation of doctors and other therapist to keep such information confidential. Addiction victims should be let to come to grip with their different experiences which is regarded as part of the rehabilitation process (Zimmer, 2012).

The other ethical issue is equal treatment. Surprisingly, treatment of drug addiction is not based on equal treatment; it is based on individual services that are customized according to the condition of each individual in rehabilitation centers. The media has also misappropriated the understanding of addiction. The media has regarded addiction as poor decision, rather than a disease that require early treatment. It is therefore important that the media recognizes that substance and alcohol addicts are in need of medical attention and from professionals. Stigma is not part of practices that are undertaken in rehabilitation centers. This means that care givers and therapists in rehabilitation centers should treat all their clients in a manner that suggest equal importance (Zimmer, 2012).

Summary

This study has shown that biopsychology in addiction is an important area of investigation. This is because it views drug addiction in a wide perspective. The paper has detailed on the major causes of alcohol abuse and drug addiction. The causes have included the most recent information and the latest researched causes that have been discovered. It has also reviewed literature extensively on the treatment of drug abuse and addiction. Treatment has been explained by the use of treatment models that have been developed to show how various addiction care givers approach various levels of addiction. Confidentiality has been viewed as the overlying ethical issue. It has shown that rehab care givers and doctors should honor the wish of the recovered victims. Since there have been launched campaigns to educate youth and children, it is clear that the future, drug abuse and addiction rates will lower.

 

 

References

Dryden, R & Edwards, MD (2012) “Drug Abuse and Addiction,” Retrieved on 23rd of May, 2012 from < http://www.medicinenet.com/drug_abuse/article.htm>

Gurewich, D Jenna T. Sirkin, J.T & Shepard, D.S (2012) “On-site provision of substance abuse treatment services at community health centers,” Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment 42(4), pp. 339-345

Hser, Y., Fu, L, Wu, F & Du, J (2012) “Pilot trial of a recovery management intervention for heroin addicts released from compulsory rehabilitation in China,” Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 16(6), pp. 45-62

Hylton, (2008) “A Drug to End Drug Addiction,” Retrieved on 23rd of May, 2012 from <http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1701864,00.html>

Lloyd, J.J et.al (2005) “Social contextual factors associated with entry into opiate agonist treatment among injection drug users,” American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 13(2). pp. 10-17

Qureshi, N.A, Al-GhamdyY.S & Al-Habeeb, T.A (2011) “Drug addiction: a general review of new concepts and future challenges,” Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal, 6(4), pp. 723-733

Robinson, L., Smith, M.A., & Saisan, M.S (2012) “Drug Abuse and Addiction Signs, Symptoms, and Help for Drug Problems and Substance Abuse,” Retrieved on 23rd of May, 2012 from < http://www.helpguide.org/mental/drug_substance_abuse_addiction_signs_effects_treatment.htm >

Schwarz, R., Zelenev, A, Bruce, R.D & Altice, F.L (2012) “Retention on buprenorphine treatment reduces emergency department utilization, but not hospitalization, among treatment-seeking patients with opioid dependence,” Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 56(5), pp. 88-107

Shaul Lev-Ran, S., Adler, L, Nitzan, U & Fennig S (2012), “Attitudes towards nicotine, alcohol and drug dependence among physicians in Israel,” Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 58(3), pp 13-39

Zimmer, C (2012) “The Brain Can a Brain Scan Tell You What Drugs to Take and Choices to Make?” Discover Magazine, Retrieved on 23rd of May, 2012 from <http://discovermagazine.com/2012/may/04-the-brain-can-tell-you-what-drugs-take-choices>

 


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