This is an ongoing debate in the medical community, but it is generally agreed that there is no one cause for the development of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, contributing factors may include a genetic predisposition to develop addictive tendencies, an environment that is permissive of drug abuse, access to illicit substances, and certain developmental issues. The existence of a Dual Diagnosis is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of addiction. Heroin Withdrawal | First Week In
Drugs are built to interfere with those messages, causing the release of too many neurotransmitters for the wrong behavior—taking drugs. This causes a huge spike in pleasure for a destructive activity that eclipses normally pleasant activities needed for survival. Drug use also prevents normal reuptake of these brain chemicals, throwing off the entire process and your natural balance, altering your mood. Soon, all that matters is to produce that flood of neurotransmitters again—and due to the addiction, there’s just one way to do that: drug use.
Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by compulsive, or uncontrollable, drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences and changes in the brain, which can be long lasting. These changes in the brain can lead to the harmful behaviors seen in people who use drugs. Drug addiction is also a relapsing disease. Relapse is the return to drug use after an attempt to stop.
Biological factors that can affect a person's risk of addiction include their genes, stage of development, and even gender or ethnicity. Scientists estimate that genes, including the effects environmental factors have on a person's gene expression, called epigenetics, account for between 40 and 60 percent of a person's risk of addiction.27 Also, teens and people with mental disorders are at greater risk of drug use and addiction than others.28
Orientation. The first few days of treatment are focused on helping the patient to feel comfortable in the program and assisting the medical team in better understanding the needs of the individual patient. The doctors and therapists must be familiar with the patient’s drug history, mental health history and medical history in order to create a personalized treatment plan that will be effective.
Some people are able to stop drinking on their own or with the help of a 12-step program or other support group, while others need medical supervision in order to withdraw from alcohol safely and comfortably. Which option is best for you depends on how much you’ve been drinking, how long you’ve had a problem, the stability of your living situation, and other health issues you may have.
Once a person is addicted to alcohol, to stop it may take hospitalizations, rehabilitations, and re-rehabilitations all of which hemorrhage expenses — not to mention destroy relationships and property. The estimated cost to the system of this specialized addiction care is $24.6 billion. Since addiction is a disease that rewires the brain, the individual is unlikely to quit through “willpower” alone, and it often takes something dramatic (or “hitting rock bottom”) before they will make changes. There are costs associated with these dramatic scenarios. In the case of car accidents caused by driving drunk, costs include not just hospitalization, but the cost to insurance companies, car owners, municipal employees responding to the accident, and a continued chain reaction of costs that could ultimately include vehicular homicides and funeral expenses.

Focus on one area where you’re experiencing the urge. How do the sensations in that area feel. For example, perhaps you feel hot, cold, tingly, or numb? Are your muscles tense or relaxed? How large an area is involved? Describe the sensations to yourself and any changes that occur. “My mouth feels dry and parched. There is tension in my lips and tongue. I keep swallowing. As I exhale, I can imagine the smell and tingle of a drink.”

There is a strong correlation between alcohol abuse and violent crimes like assault, armed robbery, rape, and homicide. The U.S. Department of Justice reports that in up to half of all murders, the perpetrator consumed alcohol before committing the crime. Approximately 33 percent of sexual assault victims state that their assailant was under the influence of alcohol. In violent crimes where alcohol is involved, up to 60 percent of victims are injured or killed.
Upregulation of the cAMP signal transduction pathway in the locus coeruleus by CREB has been implicated as the mechanism responsible for certain aspects of opioid-induced physical dependence.[20] The temporal course of withdrawal correlates with LC firing, and administration of α2 agonists into the locus coeruleus leads to a decrease in LC firing and norepinephrine release during withdrawal. A possible mechanism involves upregulation of NMDA receptors, which is supported by the attenuation of withdraw by NMDA receptor antagonists.[21] Physical dependence on opioids has been observed to produce an elevation of extracellular glutamate, an increase in NMDA receptor subunits NR1 and NR2A, phosphorylated CaMKII, and c-fos. Expression of CaMKII and c-fos is attenuated by NMDA receptor antagonists, which is associated with blunted withdrawal in adult rats, but not neonatal rats[22] While acute administration of opioids decreases AMPA receptor expression and depresses both NMDA and non-NMDA excitatory postsynaptic potentials in the NAC, withdrawal involves a lowered threshold for LTP and an increase in spotaneous firing in the NAc.[23]
^ Dutcher LW, Anderson R, Moore M, Luna-Anderson C, Meyers RJ, Delaney HD, Smith JE (Spring 2009). "Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT): An Effectiveness Study" (PDF). Journal of Behavior Analysis of Sports, Health Fitness and Behavioral Medicine. 2 (1): 82–93. ISSN 1946-7079. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 December 2010.[unreliable source?] Alcoholism ¦ Treatment and Symptoms
Substance abuse therapy: Used as a part of many inpatient and outpatient programs, therapy is one of the cornerstones of drug addiction treatment. Individual, group and family therapy help patients and their loved ones understand the nature and causes of addiction. Therapy teaches coping strategies and life skills needed to live a productive, sober life in the community. For individuals with a co-occurring mental illness, intensive psychotherapy can also address psychiatric symptoms and find the underlying issues that contribute to addiction. Inside Shalom House, Australia’s ‘strictest’ drug rehabilitation | Australian Story
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