Definition of Addiction Types

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Definition of Addiction Types

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Addiction is a medical condition that is characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences. It can be thought of as a disease or biological process leading to such behaviors. The two properties that characterize all addictive stimuli are that they are reinforcing (i.e., they increase the likelihood that a person will seek repeated exposure to them) and intrinsically rewarding (i.e., something perceived as being positive or desirable).

Addiction is a disorder of the brain’s reward system which arises through transcriptional and epigenetic mechanisms and occurs over time from chronically high levels of exposure to an addictive stimulus (e.g., morphine, cocaine, sexual intercourse, gambling, etc.). FosB a gene transcription factor, is a critical component and common factor in the development of virtually all forms of behavioral and drug addictions; two decades of research into FosB role in addiction have demonstrated that addiction arises, and the associated compulsive behavior intensifies or attenuates, along with the genetic overexpression of FosB in the D1-type medium spiny neurons of the nucleus accumbens; due to the causal relationship between FosB expression and addictions, it is used preclinically as an addiction biomarker. ΔFosB expression in these neurons directly and positively regulates drug self-administration and reward sensitization through positive reinforcement, while decreasing sensitivity to aversion.

Addiction exacts a high toll on individuals and society as a whole through the direct adverse effects of drugs, associated healthcare costs, long-term complications (e.g., lung cancer with smoking tobacco, liver cirrhosis with drinking alcohol, or meth mouth from intravenous methamphetamine), the functional consequences of altered neural plasticity in the brain, and the consequent loss of productivity. Classic hallmarks of addiction include impaired control over substances or behavior, preoccupation with substance or behavior, and continued use despite consequences. Habits and patterns associated with addiction are typically characterized by immediate gratification (short-term reward), coupled with delayed deleterious effects (long-term costs).

Examples of drug and behavioral addictions include: alcoholism, amphetamine addiction, cocaine addiction, nicotine addiction, opiate addiction, food addiction, gambling addiction, and sexual addiction. The only behavioral addiction recognized by the DSM-5 is gambling addiction. The term addiction is misused frequently to refer to other compulsive behaviors or disorders, particularly dependence, in news media.

 

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Alcohol Addiction

Reflections – Definition of Addiction Types

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in problems. It was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions is present: a person drinks large amounts over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use. Risky situations include drinking and driving or having unsafe sex among others. Alcohol use can affect all parts of the body but particularly affects the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, and immune system. This can result in mental illness, Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, an irregular heart beat, liver failure, and an increase in the risk of cancer, among other diseases. Drinking during pregnancy can cause damage to the baby resulting in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Generally women are more sensitive to alcohol’s harmful physical and mental effects than men.

Both environmental factors and genetics are associated with alcoholism with about half the risk attributed to each. A person with a parent or sibling with alcoholism is three to four times more likely to be alcoholic themselves. Environmental factors include social, cultural, and behavioral influences. High stress levels, anxiety, as well as inexpensive easily accessible alcohol increases risk. People may continue to drink partly to prevent or improve symptoms of withdrawal. A low level of withdrawal may last for months following stopping. Medically alcoholism is considered both a physical and mental illness. Both questionnaires and certain blood tests may detect people with possible alcoholism. Further information is then collected to confirm the diagnosis.

Prevention of alcoholism is possible by regulating and limiting the sale of alcohol, taxing alcohol to increase its cost, and providing inexpensive treatment. Treatment may take several steps. Because of the medical problems that can occur during withdrawal, alcohol detoxification should be carefully controlled. One common method involves the use of benzodiazepine medications, such as diazepam. This can be either given while admitted to a health care institution or occasionally while a person remains in the community with close supervision. Other addictions or mental illness may complicate treatment. After detoxification support such as group therapy or support groups are used to help keep a person from returning to drinking. The medications acamprosate, disulfiram, or naltrexone may also be used to help prevent further drinking.

 

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Cannabis Addiction

Reflections – Definition of Addiction Types

Cannabis, also known as marijuana and by numerous other names,a is a preparation of the Cannabis plant intended for use as a psychoactive drug or medicine. The main psychoactive part of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC); it is one of 483 known compounds in the plant, including at least 84 other cannabinoids, such as cannabidiol (CBD), cannabinol (CBN), and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV). Cannabis is often consumed for its mental and physical effects, such as a “high” or “stoned” feeling, a general alteration of conscious perception, heightened mood, relaxation, and an increase in appetite.

Possible side effects include a decrease in short-term memory, dry mouth, impaired motor skills, red eyes, and feelings of paranoia or anxiety. Onset of effects is within minutes when smoked and about 30 minutes when eaten as a cooked cannabis edible. They last for between two and six hours.

Cannabis is mostly used recreationally or as a medicinal drug. It may also be used as part of religious or spiritual rites. In 2013, between 128 and 232 million people used cannabis (2.7% to 4.9% of the global population between the ages of 15 and 65). In 2015, almost half of the people in the United States have tried marijuana, 12% have used it in the past year, and 7.3% have used it in the past month.

The earliest recorded uses date from the 3rd millennium BC. Since the early 20th century, cannabis has been subject to legal restrictions, with the possession, use, and sale of cannabis preparations containing psychoactive cannabinoids currently illegal in most countries of the world; the United Nations deems it the most-used illicit drug in the world. Medical cannabis refers to the physician-recommended use of cannabis, which is taking place in Canada, Belgium, Australia, the Netherlands, Spain, and 23 U.S. states. Cannabis use started to become popular in the US in the 1970s. Support for legalization has been increasing in the United States in recent years and several US states have legalized recreational or medical use.

 

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Opiate Addiction

Reflections – Definition of Addiction Types

Opiate, or opioid painkillers are narcotic medications prescribed by a medical doctor to manage pain in many individuals. Opioid narcotics include such medications as codeine, morphine, dihydrocodone, methadone, OxyContin, hydrocodone, and heroin. While opiate painkillers do vary in how powerful the narcotic element of the prescription medication, opiates are sedating painkillers that depress the central nervous system, slow down body functioning, and reduce physical and psychological pain. While many prescription opioid narcotics are used in the manner in which they were intended for the duration prescribed without problems, certain individuals may become addicted to the way in which narcotic painkillers make them feel.

Created from the flower of the opium poppy, opiate narcotics have been used for hundreds of years to treat pain, diarrhea, and sleeplessness. Opiate narcotics act upon the opioid receptors in the central nervous system and the brain. Prolonged usage may lead to brain damage which can stop the body from producing natural opiates – a neurotransmitter called “endorphins.” This can cause the body to become unable to manage pain naturally and lead to high amounts of pain when an individual attempts to quit using.

The treatment for marijuana abuse and dependence has many similarities to treatments for addictions to other drugs. Although there are no medications available specifically for treating marijuana dependence, professional detoxification facilities can provide a safe, supportive place for abusers to get the drug out of their systems.

Medical staff can help ensure that individuals do not hurt themselves, and sedative medications are available in case of severe anxiety or panic attacks.

Following detox, inpatient and outpatient drug rehabilitation facilities are available depending on the specific needs of the recovering person. Both types of treatment offer counseling and education to help people with addictions to adapt to a drug-free lifestyle. Aftercare programs and peer recovery organizations provide support to avoid future relapses.

 

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Stimulant Addiction

Reflections – Definition of Addiction Types

Stimulant medications including amphetamines (e.g., Adderall) and methylphenidate (e.g., Ritalin and Concerta) are often prescribed to treat children, adolescents, or adults diagnosed with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

People with ADHD persistently have more difficulty paying attention or are more hyperactive or impulsive than other people the same age. This pattern of behavior usually becomes evident when a child is in preschool or the first grades of elementary school; the average age of onset of ADHD symptoms is 7 years. Many people’s ADHD symptoms improve during adolescence or as they grow older, but the disorder can persist into adulthood.

The treatment for marijuana abuse and dependence has many similarities to treatments for addictions to other drugs. Although there are no medications available specifically for treating marijuana dependence, professional detoxification facilities can provide a safe, supportive place for abusers to get the drug out of their systems.

Medical staff can help ensure that individuals do not hurt themselves, and sedative medications are available in case of severe anxiety or panic attacks.

Following detox, inpatient and outpatient drug rehabilitation facilities are available depending on the specific needs of the recovering person. Both types of treatment offer counseling and education to help people with addictions to adapt to a drug-free lifestyle. Aftercare programs and peer recovery organizations provide support to avoid future relapses.

 

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Hallucinogen Addiction

Reflections – Definition of Addiction Types

Hallucinogens are a diverse group of drugs that alter perception (awareness of surrounding objects and conditions), thoughts, and feelings. They cause hallucinations, or sensations and images that seem real though they are not. Hallucinogens can be found in some plants and mushrooms (or their extracts) or can be human-made. People have used hallucinogens for centuries, mostly for religious rituals. 

The treatment for marijuana abuse and dependence has many similarities to treatments for addictions to other drugs. Although there are no medications available specifically for treating marijuana dependence, professional detoxification facilities can provide a safe, supportive place for abusers to get the drug out of their systems.

Medical staff can help ensure that individuals do not hurt themselves, and sedative medications are available in case of severe anxiety or panic attacks.

Following detox, inpatient and outpatient drug rehabilitation facilities are available depending on the specific needs of the recovering person. Both types of treatment offer counseling and education to help people with addictions to adapt to a drug-free lifestyle. Aftercare programs and peer recovery organizations provide support to avoid future relapses.

 

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Depressant Addiction

Definitions of Addiction Types

Sometimes called “downers,” these drugs come in multicolored tablets and capsules or in liquid form. Some drugs in this category, such as Zyprexa, Seroquel and Haldol, are known as “major tranquilizers” or “antipsychotics,” as they are supposed to reduce the symptoms of mental illness. Depressants such as Xanax, Klonopin, Halcion and Librium are often referred to as “benzos” (short for benzodiazepines1). Other depressants, such as Amytal, Numbutal and Seconal, are classed as barbiturates—drugs that are used as sedatives and sleeping pills.

Higher doses can cause impairment of memory, judgment and coordination, irritability, paranoia,3 and suicidal thoughts. Some people experience the opposite of the intended effect, such as agitation or aggression. Using sedatives (drugs used to calm or soothe) and tranquilizers with other substances, particularly alcohol, can slow breathing and the heart rate and even lead to death.

Tolerance to many depressants can develop rapidly, with larger doses needed to achieve the same effect. The user, trying to reach the same high, may raise the dose to a level that results in coma or death by overdose. Long-term use of depressants can produce depression, chronic fatigue, breathing difficulties, sexual problems and sleep problems. As a dependency on the drug increases, cravings, anxiety or panic are common if the user is unable to get more. Withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, weakness and nausea. For continual and high-dose users, agitation, high body temperature, delirium, hallucinations and convulsions can occur. Unlike withdrawal from most drugs, withdrawal from depressants can be life-threatening.

These drugs can also increase the risk of high blood sugar, diabetes, and weight gain (instances of up to 100 pounds have been reported). In a study conducted by USA Today, based on Food and Drug Administration data over a four-year period, antipsychotics (a type of depressant) were the prime suspects in forty-five deaths caused by heart problems, choking, liver failure and suicide.

 

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Process Addiction

Definition of Addiction Types

Process addictions are addictions to activities or processes such as gambling, eating, tanning, video/gaming, spending, sex, Internet surfing and work as opposed to a “substance addiction” like that of drugs or alcohol. The prevailing view is that process addictions are “real” addictions and that they share many commonalities with drug addiction.

People develop process addictions when they become addicted to the feelings of performing a certain action. When people have process addictions, they often have fears that they attempt to control by repeating certain actions. These actions are called compulsive behaviors, and a lot of people struggle with them. Some people even try to deal with process addictions alone, because they think that no one will understand their conditions. However, process addictions and the compulsive behaviors they cause are best managed with professional treatment, so seek outside help to address your psychological issues.

 

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