Addiction Essay 4

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Addiction is a chronic disorder proposed to be precipitated by a combination of genetic, biological/pharmacological and social factors. Addiction is a compulsion to repeat a behavior regardless of its consequences (Webster, 2003). Addiction is often characterized by a craving for more of the drug or behavior, increased physiological tolerance to exposure, and withdrawal symptoms in the absence of the stimulus (NIDA, 2008). The purpose of this paper is to review a recently published book that focuses on family involvement in addiction. The book selected for this project was, “The Science of Addiction: From Neurobiology to Treatment” by Dr. Carlton (Carl) K. Erickson. Dr. Erickson is a research scientist studying the effects of alcohol on the brain for over 30 years. He received his Ph.D. degree in pharmacology from Purdue University in 1965 and taught and preformed research at The University of Kansas and The University of Texas since 1969. He presently is the Pfizer Centennial Professor of Pharmacology and Director of the Addiction Science Research and Education Center in the College of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Erickson is a published professional with over 150 scientific articles and co-authored multiple books on addiction and drug abuse. As a neuroscientist, he believes that addictions are neurochemical disorders. Although, in 1988 the United States Supreme Court declared alcoholism to be willful misconduct (Gerde, 2005), Dr. Erickson bases his belief on decades of comprehensive genetic and neurobiological research that provided evidence that addiction is a disease of the brain with genetic connection. He believes if the addiction is diagnosed early it can be treated successfully. Dr. Erickson is more than qualified to speak on the subject of addiction and any subtopics related to addition. Dr. Erickson's book is written to a general audience and easy to understand. The book provides a clear and detailed overview of current neurobiological information and treatment programs for addiction based solely on science and provides a brief description of genetics. According to Dr. Erickson there have been possible causative genes identified. He emphasizes in his book that any treatment approach cannot rely on pharmacological solutions alone and that treatment must be individualized, but does not go into great detail. Although, he does refer to group, individual and family counseling his main focus is pharmaceutical treatment. The first chapter of the book clarifies the terminology used throughout the book. The next 7 chapters provide a crash course in the basics of the brain, the anatomy and neurobiology of addiction, genetics and pharmacology. Chapter 8 lists various treatment programs offered for the most widespread addictions to include several types of counseling methods and pharmaceutical treatments. Dr. Erickson focuses on addiction as a disease process and dismisses most psychological aspects of the addicted person, claiming the addicted person is not responsible for their condition. Dr. Erickson's simply ignores other research and evidence that support a psychological bases for addiction. Although there has been no clear-cut cause identified for addiction, research has identified numerous factors as potential causes. Potential cause are everything from genetic, physiological, biochemical, social and prenatal factors to emotional conflicts, personality traits, learned behavior and stress. His treatment modalities focus on pharmacological treatments disregarding the psychological piece of prevention and treatment not to mention free will and moral responsibility. Scientific research supports addiction as a disease and also supports the idea that there are psychological factors present as potential causative factors as well as plays a significant role in prevention and treatment, (SAMSHA, 2004).

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)...
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