Brain Structure and Function Associated with Refraining from Drugs

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 A number of factors influence the brain structures and functions associated with the motivation to refrain from using drugs. The dynamics involved include intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, heredity, and environmental forces. In general, internal motivation is considered to be associated with long-term behavior modification, whereas the successful outcome of external motivation can be short lived (Pubs.niaaa.nih, 2010).Motivational assessment suggests a considerable challenge. To bring about a transformation of behavior, one must consider the individual’s internal point of view and beliefs, as well as his or her external forces and inducements. Although environmental and biological factors play a role in the desire to refrain from using drugs, the structures and functions of the brain related to motivation play an enormous role in one’s ability to do so; therefore, the approach must be multidimensional, with regard to these factors Brain Structures and Functions

New insights into the structures of the brain and their functions that reinforce the chronic use of drugs in those who wish to refrain from using have been provided by imaging studies that’s how the role of dopamine (DA) in addiction .  Theses studies provide evidence of not only the reinforcing effects of DA in the forebrain, “in front of and around the thalamus in each cerebral hemisphere [and] the afferent part of the basal ganglia mainly involved in movement planning and control and habit” (Striatum, 2009,para. 1), but also in the proportion of DA being distributed to the nucleus accumbens (Nucleusaccumbens, 2009), either of the two masses of opiate receptors and neural bodies in the vicinity of the septum pellucidum. This is a dopamine channel that is implicated in reinforcement and reward, and is believed to be involved in nearly all addictions. The more rapid the increase of DA, the higher the intensity and effects of reinforcement (Volkow, et al, 2007). In addition, high levels of DA present within the dorsal stratum are related to the motivation to gain access to the addict’s drug of choice when he or she is exposed to stimuli that is associated with his or her drug of choice. Contrary to the preceding scenario, a decrease in DA functioning appears to be associated with long-term use of one’s drug of choice; this reduction in D2-DA receptors has been linked to a decrease in the orbitofrontal cortex that is concerned with compulsory behavior, motivation, and salience attribution (Goldstein & Volkow, 2002); furthermore, reductions in D2-DA nerve endings receptive to stimuli in the striatum and the cingulate gyrus, which is involved in impulsivity and inhibition, become deregulated and the result is the uncontrollable drug use that distinguishes addiction (Volkow, et al, 2007). The results of imaging studies indicate that the inability to refrain from using drugs is the consequence of cerebral regulation that causes one to place an elevated, unrealistic value on drug reinforcers, a deficiency in the value of surrogate reinforcers, and a deficit in the neural process that inhibits the control of drug response.  This impaired response inhibition and salience attribution (IRISA)alters one’s addiction in a manner that was, until recently, believed to be unknown, and expands on the long-established hypothesis of dependency that underscores the importance of the regulating response of the limbic-system to pleasure and reward as the primary source for one’s inability to refrain from using drugs.

Extrinsic factors
The desire to refrain from using drugs, with regard to extrinsic factors, involves motivations that may be unrelated to the task at hand (Florida International University, 2009). An example of extrinsic motivation may include obtaining a job that requires one to be “clean;” the external reward would be money; however, coercion, intimidation, duress, force, punishment, and obligation also can be considered extrinsic motivation (Sung & Choi,...
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