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Thursday, 13 June 2013

Who are vulnerable to addictions

Shortly after the death of 27-year old British singer Amy Winehouse, radios across the length and breadth of the land resounded «Rehab», a song about refusing to do drugs rehabilitation.
The official cause of death is not expected to be announced before October because pending toxicology tests, but the dependence on drugs and alcohol is believed to have played a role.

The use of illegal substances is very common, writes the newspaper "New York Times". According to an Inter-American 2008 study, 46% of Americans have tried an illegal substance at some point in their lives, but the proportion of those still using is 8%. This suggests that most of those who experiment with drugs do not develop dependence on them. Who are they, therefore, are at risk?
  • Mental illness
Doctors know how long now suffering from certain psychiatric illnesses - including disorders of mood,
anxiety and personality - are at increased risk of addiction. According to epidemiological study by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in the USA, the mentally ill are almost three times more likely to develop a disorder and addiction compared to non-sufferers.

Similarly, 60% of those suffering from addiction to a substance have a mental illness. However, it remains unclear whether addiction predisposes to the development of mental disease or vice versa.

Scientists also know that a mental disease not only increases the risk of discontinuing substance use and the risk of direct dependence and addiction. Apparently, in many cases illegal substances used as "self-medication": patients use them to 'cure' their misery.

There are clinical and epidemiological data reinforce this view. Alcohol and drugs affect mood and behavior by activating the same brain pathways that disrupt serious mental illnesses. It is therefore not surprising that patients with severe depression or anxiety disorder often turn to alcohol and other sedative substances. These substances did not have antidepressant properties and merely exacerbate the underlying problem, leading to a vicious cycle of depression and addiction.

Certain personality disorders also increase the risk of substance use and alcohol. Sufferers of narcissism often attracted to stimulants such as cocaine, which impart a false sense of power and confidence. Similarly, individuals with borderline (borderline) personality disorder, which are struggling to control their impulses and anger, often resort to drugs and alcohol.
  • Brain disorder
Newer evidence suggests that substance abuse can be a developmental brain disorder and that individuals who develop addictions the brain works differently than it does for other people.
Dr Nora Volkov, director of the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) of the U.S., discovered in studies with brain imaging that are addicted to substances such as cocaine, heroin and alcohol have fewer dopamine receptors in brain reward centers of what non-addicted. Dopamine is a substance that plays a vital role in the development of feelings of pleasure and desire.
When Dr. Volkov compared the reactions to a stimulus of a group of addicts with the reactions of healthy volunteers found that the sound with high levels of receptor D2 (a subtype of dopamine receptors) found the stimulus repellent. In contrast, addicted to low levels of D2 found it pleasant. This finding and others respectively suggest that addicts may have faulty reward system in their brains. There are some interesting clues that the addicts who detoxified increasing receptor D2.
  • The environment
But studies have shown that even people who have no disorder in the brain reward circuitry risk of developing addiction to drugs and alcohol if continuously exposed to them.
Studies by Dr Volkov have shown that primates without predisposition to addiction become avid users of cocaine when decreasing the number of D2 receptors in their brains. How can happen this fall; One way is the constant exposure to stressful social circumstances, according to the investigations.
Long-term drug use usually begins in adolescence. To those who are vulnerable or use must be directly addressed before they become addictive.
It is therefore clear that the question "who is addicted and who is not" the answer depends on the complex interplay of genes, environment and psychology. And unfortunately, luck .


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