The Role Of Addiction In Today's Society

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In today’s society addiction is becoming an epidemic. There a millions of people who suffer from addiction to alcohol, opiates, meth, and many other things. This epidemic is causing so many people to lose their lives, or spend the rest of them in prison. Prison is not effective considering 95% of addicts will return to drug abuse after release (National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Drugs and Crime in America). Addiction is a mental illness and needs to be treated as such. One can’t just tell a paralyzed person to just walk again and believe they will be able to, the same concept applies with addiction. Addiction should be treated as a mental illness considering the genetic factors for addiction, the severe chemical changes in the…show more content…
It is a chronic disease that needs treatment to overcome, which can take years. “According to the latest government statistics, nearly 23 million Americans— almost one in 10—are addicted to alcohol or other drugs.”(How Addiction Hijacks the Brain). The brain thinks of pleasures all the same, from the high of a drug or a reward of some kind. The brain releases dopamine when something pleasurable happens. With drugs, the risk of addiction is directly related to how fast that drug releases dopamine and the intensity and reliability of the release. Taking the same drug through different forms affects the likeness of addiction. For example, if snorting heroin still releases large amounts of dopamine but injecting it into the bloodstream lets out larger and more intense amounts, the only difference with is how you are taking the drug. According to “How addiction Hijacks the Brain,” “According to the current theory about addiction, dopamine interacts with another neurotransmitter, glutamate, to take over the brain’s system of reward related learning.” This system has an important role in sustaining life because it links activities needed for human survival with pleasure and reward. The reward circuit in the brain includes areas involved with motivation and memory as well as with pleasure. Addictive substances and behaviors stimulate the same circuit—and then overload it. When one is repeatedly exposed to a drug the nerve cells tell the part of the brain that plans and carries out task that it needs that drug and it becomes a priority. Naturally the brain only gets rewards with effort or time but when one takes drugs it releases the dopamine with no effort. When drugs are taken to get the release of dopamine it can release up to 10 times the normal amount, which causes the brain to to become overwhelmed and slow down or stop the dopamine receptors. Overtime the brain gets used to the amount of

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