Addiction: A Three-Part Disease

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Ricardo Justin Ballinas
Sue Wright, M.A.
English 1301-Composition
M-W 1:30 pm – 2:50 pm

Ricardo Ballinas
Addiction: A Three Part Disease
October 1st, 2012
Sue Wright
Addiction: A Three Part Disease Addiction can be separated into three categories: mind (neurological), body (physical), and spirit (psychological). Within in this breakdown addiction can possibly be explained and properly understood. In order to better understand addiction as a disease as opposed to a moral dilemma it first must be broken down. First you must look at the way in which the chemicals affect the brain. The first attempt at partaking in any mind altering substance can be looked at as a choice to the individual. However what happens after that first time? Are you then in control of how much or how often the substance is introduced to the body? As the substance is consumed it begins to alter the way in which the brain controls our feelings; happy, sad, anger, depression, etc. The brain tries to compensate for the influx of chemicals by reducing the amount of dopamine (a simple organic chemical in the brain system that is responsible for reward-driven learning). Thus when the substance is no longer in the system you can experience extreme “lows” that directly relate to depression. The brain then tells the body that it needs more of the DOC (drug of choice) to make up for that loss. It can be argued that once the levels of dopamine have diminished in the brain the choice of whether or not to use the DOC has been lost. Subconsciously the individual will experience the phenomenon of “craving”. As stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The initial decision to take drugs is mostly voluntary. However, when drug abuse takes over, a person 's ability to exert self control can become seriously impaired. Brain imaging studies from drug-addicted individuals show physical changes in areas of the brain that are critical to judgment, decision-making, learning and memory, and



Cited: “Definition of Addiction.” The American Society of Addiction Medicine. N.p.,n.d. Web. 29 September 2012 Erickson, Carlton K. The Science of Addiction: From Neurobiology to Treatment. 1st Ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2007. Print. Pleasure Unwoven: An Explanation of the Brain Disease of Addiction. Prod. Jim Clegg. The Institute for Addiction Study, 2010. DVD. Volkow M.D., Nora D. “Drugs, Brain, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.” National Institue on Drug Addiction. August 2010. Web. 29 September 2012.

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