Drugs and its role in brain chemistry have helped science better understand why they produce certain behaviors, and recently, the treatment for addiction. "The Addiction Solution" by David Kipper and Steven Whitney explain the true origin of addition and how to successfully diminish it. In recent years doctors and neuroscientists have been putting together the pieces of the addiction puzzle. What was previously mistaken for a behavior problem, addiction has been proven to be a chronic disease. Like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer, doctors can now better manage treatments that can put an end to this problem. Imaging techniques, as we've learned about in Lilienfeld, allow us to go beyond external behaviors and glimpse the areas of the brain responsible for certain behaviors. Functional MRIs can help patients see their brain heal through the progressive stages of recovery helping them maintain their commitment to therapy. The new paradigm of "The Addiction Solution" breaks down addiction as such:
1. An inherited genetic flaw causes...
2. Specific imbalances in brain chemistry that, when...
3. Impacted by stress, create...
4. Biochemical "wants," or needs, that show themselves as...
5. Bad feelings, uncharacteristic behaviors known as addiction
6. This can be medically treated by pharmaceutical medications that first regain and stabilize the biochemical balance.
In a nutshell...
Originates in brain chemistry,
Is determined by genetics
And is triggered by stress.
Due to imbalance of certain neurotransmitters (particularly dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine) specific neurotransmitter imbalance signals a wanting for a specific substance to regain balance (homeostasis). While some people acquire addiction through self-medicating or experimentation it is no more their choice for a specific drug as it is for a diabetic to need insulin.
From what we've learned in lecture the two-factor model can also explain addiction in by thinking of a drug the same way we do unconditioned stimuli.
CS Environment, Paraphernalia --> ( UCS Drug --> UCR Decreased Temperature ) --> CR Compensatory Response
Everyone is born with certain chemical imbalances. It is the severity of the imbalance and the impact of the triggers that cause some people to be prone to addiction.
Triggers (Stress) --> ( Imbalance of brain chemistry --> Biochemical need to regain Homeostasis ) --> Drug
Neglect of treating the chemical imbalance is why most treatment fails. So, is this breakthrough treatment the solution for all addiction? In a perfect world, maybe. With a success rate of 90%, failures occur in nearly 1 to 10 patients and discovering the reason for each failure leads to better practices for success. We must not fall prey to fallacies; everyone has the opportunity to overcome addiction.
Kipper, David and Whitney, Steven. The Addiction Solution. New York: Rodale, 2010. Print.