Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence essay

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Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence essay

Introduction How does experimental use of substances of abuse lead to drug addiction in some individuals? How do these drugs cause intoxication? Part of the answer lies in a common reinforcement pathway in the human brain which drugs of abuse stimulate, potentially leading to addiction 1,2,3,4,7.

The reward pathway evolved to promote activities that are essential to the survival of the human race as well as other mammals. One may compare the mechanism of drugs of abuse with that of viruses. Viruses and Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence essay of abuse are both foreign to humans.

As the viruses infect more and more cells, the organism may become ill. Illicit drugs can take advantage of an organism in a similar fashion.

Just as viruses take over cell function throughout the body, drugs of abuse modify cell function in these important brain structures leading to modifications in behavior. Depending on our own characteristics our inherited neurochemical make-up etc.

Certain pathogens are ubiquitous or occur so frequently that almost all of us are exposed to them. Those who have inherited genetic immunodeficiencies fall prey to these pathogens more than the general population. Similarly, individuals who have a genetic predisposition, may be more vulnerable to addiction after exposure to the drug.

As noted earlier, substances of abuse affect the brain reward pathway, which is made of neurons that release chemicals when they are stimulated. This release leads to subjective feelings of well being 1,2. This brain reward system evolved to subserve activities essential to species survival, such as sexual activity and feeding behaviors.

For example, sexual intercourse causes release of chemicals activating this pathway, and the result is a feeling of well being. Thus, the reward pathway serves to promote survival of the species by rewarding behaviors necessary for continued survival seeking food, reproduction, shelter, drink, etc.

In the following paragraphs, the basic anatomy of the reward pathway and brain structures that interact with this pathway will be discussed.

Alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence essay

Next, the molecular physiology of the reward pathway will be delineated. After laying the foundation of the anatomy and physiology of brain reward, the specific interactions of drugs of abuse will be examined.

Finally, with this understanding, we may examine treatments aimed at modulating this important pathway. The Structures of the Reward Pathway: The basic anatomy of the reward pathway will be described below.

However, it must be remembered that the anatomical structures involved have complex interrelationships, and are modulated by other parts of the brain and other neurochemicals.

Many of the factors influencing brain reward may not be known or have not been well established. Therefore, this paper provides an overview of the most well established structures and pathways involved. Core Structures of the Reward System The core structures of the brain reward pathway is located in the limbic system, a set of primitive structures in the human brain 1,2,3,7,9.

Conceptually, the function of the limbic system is to monitor internal homeostasis, mediate memory, mediate learning, and experience emotion. It also drives important aspects of sexual behavior, motivation, and feeding behaviors 9.

The primary nuclei or parts of the limbic system include the hypothalamus, amygdala, hippocampus, septal nuclei, and anterior cingulate gyrus 9. Also important in the function of the limbic system is the limbic striatum, which includes the nucleus accumbens, ventral caudate nucleus and the putamen 9.

Topic Discussion

The nucleus accumbens NA has been implicated as an especially important structure of the brain reward pathway because drugs of abuse target it. Other structures important in brain reward include the amygdala and the ventral tegmental area VTA.

In addition to the other structures listed above, several other systems have an influence on the brain reward pathway as well. The endocrine and the autonomic nervous systems interact via the hypothalamus, an integral part of the limbic system, and the pituitary 1. These structures modulate the reward pathway.

The hypothalamus is involved in every aspect of endocrine, visceral, and autonomic functions, and it is able to influence eating, drinking, sexual activity, aversion, rage, and pleasure 1,9.ALCOHOL AND DRUG USE Between 30 and 50 percent of persons who die by suicide have a dependence on alcohol or drugs or have shown a pattern of abuse of those substances.

Alcoholics Anonymous was established in , when knowledge of the brain was in its infancy. It offers a single path to recovery: lifelong abstinence from alcohol.

Child Obesity Essay The main causes of obesity are: the decreased level of nutrients intake, and sedentary example, the intake of fast food meals tripled between and , and calorie level magnified four times during the same period.

Nevertheless, it is insufficient explanation of phenomenal rise in the obesity levels in the well-developed countries.

A Adequate and well-controlled studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus in the first trimester of pregnancy (and there is no evidence of risk in later trimesters). B Animal reproduction studies have failed to demonstrate a risk to the fetus and there are no adequate and well-controlled.

free examples of argumentative essays, sample papers Charcot, Janet, and Freud all noted that fragmented memories of traumatic events dominated the mental life of many of their patient and built their theories about the nature and treatment of psychopathology on this recognition. Janet 75 thought that traumatic memories of traumatic events persist as unassimilated fixed ideas that act as foci for the development of alternate states of consciousness, including dissociative phenomena, such as fugue states, amnesias, and chronic states of helplessness and depression.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) describes alcohol use disorder as "problem drinking that becomes severe." A person with this condition does not know when or how to.

Introduction to Alcohol and Substance Abuse Mark Dombeck, Ph.D. image by Anton Fomkin (lic) Since the beginning of human history and before, people have found ways to alter their bodies and their consciousness by taking substances such as herbs, alcohol, and drugs.

Neuroanatomy and Physiology of Brain Reward II