Even though we have not discussed this topic broadly, we have seen a video of it and it caught my eye, therefore I chose this topic. It is critical to understand the distinction between drug abuse and addiction as abuse and addiction are separate diagnostic categories. Abuse describes the use of mood - altering drugs in such a way as to cause some level of dysfunction in the individual's life. In contrast, addiction (which may vary in severity) describes a process of compulsive use of drugs, loss of control over the drugs or over drug-induced behavior, and continued drug use despite adverse consequences. During drug use and drug abuse, the behavior controls the drugs. Although it may be a poor idea, the decision to abuse drugs is made by cortical areas of the brain: those areas concerned with rationality and logic. In contrast, addiction is characterized by the drugs controlling the behavior. In particular, addiction is controlled by deeper, more primitive, lower centers of the brain (Suojanen, 1993). The addicted person's compulsion to use the chemical arises from more primitive central nervous system instinctual centers, where imbalances in neurotransmitters occur (Morrison & Smith, 1997). In other words, for the addicted person, the choice to use or not use drugs no longer exists, and continued drug use precludes logical and rational thought processes (Talbott, 1994). One way of describing this phenomenon is to say that people who abuse drugs can "cross the line" into addiction, but cannot cross back into controlled use. Neurobiology of Drug Addiction
From the neurobiological point of view, drug addiction can be defined as a chronically relapsing disorder that can be defined as a compulsion to take a drug with loss of control over drug intake. Important challenges for neurobiological research are to understand not only how drug use proceeds to drug addiction but why some...