Addiction: Disease or Not?

Topics: Drug addiction, Heroin, Addiction Pages: 2 (649 words) Published: October 7, 2009
Sandra Nigro
Intro to Psych M/W 5:30

Addiction: Disease or Not?

Is addiction a disease or a psychological/biological disorder. First we need to consider what a disease is. In the following statements and research I will be attempting to compare to views on this matter. The importance of this topic is to really to discuss what is at hand. According to Alice M Young, addiction has a tremendous effect on the brain, both psychological and biological. Jeffrey A. Schaler, on the other hand, is trying to convince us that addiction is a disease. One author speaks of brain processes and the other on predispositions. This is what I came up with.

In Alice M. Young’s article, Addictive Drugs and the Brain, she suggests that an addiction to drugs may effect brain processes, such as learning and emotion. (1) (Young, Alice M. 1999. “Addictive Drugs and the Brain”) According to this article, when one “uses” heroin it travels through out the body and reaches the surface of the neurons. Heroin turns into morphine and can cause profound physiological or psychological changes in the brain.(2) (Young, Alice M. 1999. “Addictive Drugs and the Brain”) When talking about the psychological effects, drug addiction alters our ability to learn and remember through experience and repeat actions w/ reinforcing consequences in the past.(3) (Young, Alice M. 1999. “Addictive Drugs and the Brain” ) Another roll in addiction is memory. Like Pavlovian conditioning, repeating the drug use and being rewarded can condition someone to form strong memories of the drug or the reward/effect.(4) (Young, Alice M. 1999. “Addictive Drugs and the Brain”) Drugs will mimic or block neurotransmitters by altering their activity.(5) (Young, Alice M. 1999. “Addictive Drugs and the Brain”) For example cocaine changes the chemical states of the natural neurotransmitters such as; dopamine, serotonin and nor epinephrine.(6) (Young, Alice M. 1999. “Addictive...
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