Biological Basis of Addiction

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4461 words

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10 pages /

4461 words

Downloads: 324

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Human Brain
  3. Drug Addiction
  4. Brain Process
  5. Dopamine
  6. Behavioral problem of the Drug Intake
  7. Understanding the Addiction process
  8. The circuitry of the brain reward system
  9. Reward Vs Risk human brain


Addiction has an enormous impact on the people lives especially in the manner in which it affects their lives. Furthermore, this also affects their families since it has the tendencies of putting the relationships at risks due to the behavioral problems depicted by those with drugs issues. It is important to identify that drugs addiction is one of the major contributors to the loss of jobs since it affects people performances and their ability to fully execute their day to day activities since such individuals lose control of their behaviors. Even though the expenses associated with the drug purchases may be high, this does not hinder individuals access to such drugs which further increases its consumption.

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The tendency or the individual inability to restrain themselves as a result of access to drugs possess a major threat to their health and the relationship with others. Cases of relapses are often evident which makes it difficult to manage the drug’s use which raises the importance of the biological approach to the addiction. Even though individuals are aware of the dangers that the drugs have on the human brain, they are unable to adopt the new mechanism to resist such drugs given that the brain activity is highly compromised. As a result, the operation of the therapeutic process is highly affected due to the inability of the personalities to respond to the changes that in a way may affect the functioning of the brain.

The main challenge in the drug addiction is the developing of an understanding relating to the addiction and the neurobiology and examining their individuals’ relations. This helps in making sure that a person mind is able to respond to the urge of taking the drug by creating a resistance in the human brain. The process of addiction in relation to biology makes it difficult to for the brain process to reject the urge to take drugs especially during the therapy process and the need to eliminate cases of relapses.

Human Brain

The three parts that are often affected by addiction or the abuse of the drugs include the brain stem, limbic system and the cortex which has different roles. The functions of the brain such as the sleeping, breathing, and the heart rate are normally regulated by the functioning of the brain stem. On the other hand, the decision-making process, the ability to identify and solve problems, planning process, thinking, and taste, hear, feel and also the ability to see is normally cerebral cortex. The part responsible for the reward system is the limbic system (Kalant, 2010).

Therefore, the individuals’ tendency feel please is regulated by this part and this, however, helps a person to ensure that the duplication of the activities is done since it helps the individuals to survive. As a result, other activities that range from the ability to interact with the others, as well as eating, emanates from the limbic system. However, the system is also prone to the cases of drugs abuse. In addition, the drug addiction affects the limbic system thereby adjusting the emotions of the individuals. The nerve cells or the neurons dictate the actions of the human brain since they transmit information from one part to another.

Drug Addiction

The drug addiction normally affects the brain communication process by altering the functioning of the neurons in the brain. As a result, the normal process of communication is interrupted which makes it difficult for a person to respond to the reward system. Furthermore, the Neurotransmitters are vital in the communication and the ability of the most of the drugs to mimic the system helps in triggering the communication process even though in this case negative messages are conveyed. The Neurotransmitters in the brain (dopamine) can be released in higher qualities especially with the increase in the consumptions of the drugs which affects the normal commutation process since their overall flow is limited.

The drug addiction emanates from the contamination of the brain reward system or the limbic system which controls a person able to respond to various activities. The rewards system enables a person to access the benefits as well as the risks before engaging in certain activities. As a result of the drug addiction, the user is unable to respond to the negative impact that the drug has since the system has the ability to trigger aspects of the feeling of pleasure and as a result motivating the individuals to continue with the drug consumption. Therefore, by modifying the brain reward system, the human brain is unable to respond to the urge to take the drugs even with the knowledge that such rugs will have a negative impact on the people lives (Caulkins, Reuter, and Coulson, 2011).

The consistent use of drugs often triggers the limbic system which causes the system to the individuals’ brain to record that such actions are necessary. The reward system in the human brain helps a person in making the necessary adjustments since it provides the brain with the information that the activities that a person engages in are necessary if they are to succeed or survive. Therefore, the addiction process creates a scenario where the brain motivates a person to keep utilizing the drugs since the brain cannot be able to identify the risks and the rewards of such actions.

Since the brain reward system is also triggered by the drinks and then food which helps the individuals to respond to cases of hinder and thirst, the same process is trigger with the consistent use of drugs. The drug addiction either alters the brain process by creating a situation where dopamine is overproduced or else it creates a situation where it is able to mimic the dopamine activities.

Even though aspects such as willpower and the good intentions in dealing with addiction is significant, there is always a need to structure another approach in order to prevent scenarios where there may relapse in the long run elucidations that can be accomplished with the use of the biological basis. Furthermore, the addiction alters the human brain which is a biological process (Kalat, 2007). At the initial stage, people often have an idea that taking or drugs is a social and a moral problem which is true but in case of addiction, they have less control of their actions.

According to Carter, and de Lecea, (2011) the functioning of the brain is highly affected with the addiction which makes it difficult to reverse those changes which highly contributes to the cases of relapses whenever this happens. Therefore, individuals with addiction problem often face an uphill battle in overcoming those challenges considering that they are prone especially when exposed to drug and alcohol.

Besides, there are various elements that can contribute to triggering the relapses which may include the kind of environment that a person is exposed to. The brain controls every aspect of the human body and the ability that people have to interact with others including the relationship that they are able to create with their families. Moreover, other aspects such as bonding, eating and the exercising which are main contributors to the health of the individuals are largely affected by the destruction of the brain as result of the addiction process (Cooper, Bloom, & Roth, 2003).

The brain also helps in triggering responses relating to its ability to create the warning to the individuals and as the result, the ability to use self-control is a major part of its success and this is affected by the inability of the brain to trigger those responses in cases of addiction. The brain process is largely affected by the increased use of drugs and therefore the personal mechanism and the ability to protect the individuals from the external influences is highly hampered as a result. The inability to control, one’s actions may cause mental health issues and in some cases, this may be fatal.

Brain Process

The brain is an integral part of the human brain and largely dictates the conduct of the individuals. A healthy brain has a protection mechanism in place which helps in providing the necessary guidance to the individuals in the decision-making process (Witten et al, 2011).

Therefore, there is always a need to ensure that the brain process works in the right manner to help in making sure that persons’ decision making is not affected and at the same time control individuals emotions which is vital in safeguarding the relationships. Parts of the brain such as the prefrontal cortex acts as a protection to the individuals and its condition is vital to the behavior of the individuals and the avoidance of substances such as the drugs and alcohol. People are often aware of the repercussions associated with the drug intake but it is the functioning of their brain that dictates whether they are able to respond to such changes (Kandel, Schwartz, and Jessell, 2000).

The functioning of the brain also relies on the limbic system which is responsible for regulating the brain in order to help in the behavioral adjustments and the decision-making process that aid individuals in avoiding dangers that they may be exposed to. Furthermore, the effect that dopamine


Dopamine has a significant role in human brain due to its role in signaling brain and communicating with various parts of the brain. Therefore, an increase in the levels of dopamine in the human brain complicates the learning processes due it sends mixed signals which further affects the learning process. Since it forms the main core of the communication process, the dopamine is responsible for relaying the messages to various parts of the brain to trigger responses against the intake of drugs which can help in avoiding cases of relapses.

There is a biological mechanism in the human body that helps in minimizing the excessive production of the dopamine by relying on the dopamine receptors in the human brain. However, the functioning of the dopamine receptors depends on whether they have the capability of regulating the dopamine in the human brain (van Amsterdam, Opperhuizen, Koeter, and van den Brink, 2010). This is mainly the ability of the brain to make sure that neurons are free from the excess dopamine since they largely affect the brain communication process.

However, the miscommunication within the brain makes it difficult to receive or send the appropriate signals that help in controlling the cases of relapses. The plasticity of the brain dictates its success in terms of modifying various behaviors portrayed by the brain in response to the drug addiction. The main challenge, however, is the inability of the dopamine receptors to function in the cases of drug addiction process makes it difficult to control the communication process.

However, the drug addiction or the drug intake triggers a mechanism where the brain is unable to regulate the production and the inflow of the dopamine which largely compromises the communication with the brain (Julien, 2005). As a result, the available mechanism including the work of the dopamine receptors do not lead to the reduction in the production especially after a person is addicted.

As a neurotransmitter, Dopamine plays a critical role in the brain especially in the manner in which the communication of brain is executed. Through this, the dopamine main role is to provide the necessary transmission of the signals in term of nerve cells and this helps in facilitating the actions of the brain. Through this, the actions of the brain are regulated by the uptake and the flow of dopamine in the brain, however, one of the main challenges, in this case, is the role that drug addiction has on the people lives since it affects the production and the flow of Dopamine.

The increase in dopamine neuronal activity motivated by the dopamine activities given that its increase in the brain affects the functioning of the brain which largely contributes to individuals behaving in an abnormal manner. However, the activities of the Dopamine in the human brain creates a major problem to the individual given that its increase in the brain also affects other types of hormones that are released in the human brain which affects person inactivity or the way they can respond to other challenges. According to Kolb, and Whishsaw, (2003), the main role of Dopamine is to act as a message in various body organs including brain but it must be regulated to ensure that it does not create issues in the human body.

Activities such as nausea, lactation, reward system, reinforcement, arousal, motivation, motor control, and the executive functions in the human brain and other parts of the body. Furthermore, the increase in the supply of the dopamine in the human brain has a huge significance since it is only located in the certain part of the brain and increase in the products limits individuals response to such changes. This affects the individuals’ nervous system and has the huge implication on the individual life.

The effect of the dopamine in the human reward system also creates a major challenge in altering the individuals’ behavior but this can only be avoided if the human brain has the capability to alter its excess production. This helps in maintaining the level of production and the activity of the brain which helps in regulating individuals’ behavior. Through different mechanism, the drug addiction triggers excess production of dopamine and at the same time inhibit its spread to other parts of the brain which results to overconcentration. This triggers activities such as the unable to deal with the reality or inability to identify what is real and what is not and at the same time increase the level of anxiety.

The effect of the reward system by the drug intakes affects the inability of the dopamine to communicate and use the reward system in the brain to motivate individuals to live a healthy lifestyle. However, the effect of the reward system triggers subsequent communication in case of addiction motivating individuals to continue with the drug intake and this negatively affects their inability to restrain themselves from taking more drugs. Other aspects ion the human body such as the use of the drinks and the food in triggering dopamine does not have the similar effect due to the excessive release of the dopamine as a result of the drug use.

According to Nutt, King, and Phillips, (2010) shows the effect that high drug intake has on the production of dopamine production and its subsequent effect on the reward system. The consumption of drugs almost causes a 10 times increase in the production of dopamine when compared to what is normally triggered by the food consumption.

Behavioral problem of the Drug Intake

The drug addiction often arises as a result of the individuals’ inability to control the intake of drugs. Even though individuals are aware of the consequences that the drug has on their body, they do not shy away from the subsequent intake which drastically affects their lifestyle. Drug addictions are associated with cases of low productivity, deaths, cases of cirrhosis, issues such as lung cancer and the spread of AIDS.

The main challenge relating to the drug addiction is the inability of the current method to help in treating the addiction. Even though a person may undergo a rehabilitation and reduce the drug intake, there is always a possibility that relapses may occur in the long run. As a result, the sustainability of the treatments, in the long run, is a challenge to many especially due to the exposure that a person has to other external conditions (Nutt, King, Saulsbury, and Blakemore, 2007). Even though people are aware of the consequences of taking drugs at times once they lose control, they are often unable to regulate the drug intakes. There has been a wide range of increase in the rehabilitation centers to help in regulating the drug intakes but still, they have been unable to sufficiently deal with the addiction.

Understanding the Addiction process

Drug-related use has the psychological along with the social implications and this fundamentally affects their lives and the manner in which they relate to others. Drug intakes trigger a biological process especially with the production of dopamine. The consumption of the rugs such as the nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and others have a biological effect on the brain. Being a biological process it is vital to provide the biological solutions to the addiction process. However, the existing research of the biological and the behavioral problems have been centered on the animals and this helps in replicating the similar behavioral problems in human beings.

Through this, there has been the major development in examining the methods that can be used to provide the understanding the biological process of the drug addiction process. Behavioral effects such as the activation, sedation and the euphoria are normally triggered by the effect that the drugs have on the various proteins of the brain. Therefore the biological effect of the drug intake causes the reactions of the cellular as well as the molecular changes which alter the behavioral process in the long run.

According to Tye et al (2012), almost half of the individuals with addiction problems are related to the genetic issues. Furthermore, family past history on the mental health has a major implication on the effect that the drug addiction is likely to have on the individuals in the long run. The synaptic diffusion of the human brain especially with the relations to the protein in the brain affects the individuals’ behaviors in the course of the drugs intake.

Cellular along with the molecular changes in the brain also has a subsequent effect on the individuals’ behaviors especially with the composition of the brain. Therefore, the biological process creates a platform where one is able to understand the level of brain alteration especially with the increased intake of drugs. Nerves have an important role to play in human body especially since they regulate the individual actions and the manner in which individuals behave when exposed to different conditions. Even though this is the case, the development and the understanding of the biological activities in terms of brain cells and the addiction process is limited.

The circuitry of the brain reward system

The intake of different drugs in the human body still has similar effect even though they have different chemical compositions. However, they have a tendency of triggering the dopamine which affects the circuitry reward system of the brain. The circuitry of the brain reward system is often triggered in the same manner even with the use of the different drugs since they often act on amplifying the production of the dopamine.

The actions of the drugs trigger similar reactions which are instrumental changes in the brain and this has an important part by altering the ventral tegmental area (VTA) and its functions in the brain. The reward system in the brain activity to protect the individuals from undertaking some of the actions that may in a way affect the effectiveness of the individuals especially by understanding the biological composition of the brain. Even though the brain has the mechanism in place to act against the actions of the drug intake, such responsiveness is often affected by overproduction of the dopamine which largely affects the brain activity.

However, this creates the urge to ensure that there is increased consumption of the drugs which in turn generates Drug overrode has become a major issue across the globe and has contributed to cases of addiction. This includes those drugs that are bought over the counters and others that individuals purchase for personal satisfaction. The brain plasticity is largely affected by the consistent use of the drugs which limits its effectiveness of the individual ability to ensure that they remember and at the same time learn which one of the functions of the human brain is (McKim, 2003).

The plasticity of the brain, however, comprises of the structure along with the chemical compositions that help in the communication process and altering the brain process. Therefore, the drug addiction triggers the mechanism where a person develops the tendency of learning the ability to take drugs which further makes it difficult for them to adopt another habit. Furthermore, the circuitry of the brain, therefore, is often unable to let individual brain adopt the mechanism of taking the drug.

The high intake of the drugs alters the individual mechanical and chemical reactions in the human brain make it difficult for the brain to alter the addiction process. Since the brain mechanism is highly altered it makes it difficult for the plasticity of the brain to learn other behaviors and it its place adopts the high consumption of drugs. This explains the reason as to why after the addiction, the patients often find it difficult to unlearn a new way of doing things in their brain. Furthermore, the addiction process also affects the individual ability to rely on the biological functioning especially on the manner in which the rewards are attained by the human body.

The brain normally has a learning process in place which teaches individuals new ways of doing things which often is a challenge when the addiction occurs. Since the functioning of the brain result from biological and the chemical process, the altering of the biological process makes it difficult for the brain to learn new things. This involves the consumptions of the drugs ranging from the cocaine, alcohol, as well as nicotine but they trigger similar actions from the alteration of the brain processes.

The research on the human brain has been derived from the functioning of the animal brain which is used to understand the mechanical and the biological process. as a result one of the learning processes of the brain are negatively influenced by blocking the pathway that facilitates the learning process given that individuals continue to take drugs even in cases where they are aware of the negative effects that this is likely to have on their lives. The use of the animals as a center of the research equips people with the capability on the ways of dealing with challenges and adopting new ways to ensure that cases of relapses are avoided by understanding the brain pathways by recalibrating the human brain.

Reward Vs Risk human brain

The brains form a system that helps in motivating individuals to engage in certain activities and at the same time the mechanism to help in eliminating the risks that individuals face when engaging in certain activities. Intake of products in terms of food, drinks or even drugs triggers a reward system where a person is able to identify or contemplate whether they are likely to engage in certain activities or not. As a result, when taking the drugs, the reward system is triggered and at the same time, the risk system within the brain helps in creating a situation where one develops the ability to avoid certain activities. However, the reward and the risk system are often compromised in case of the drug intake which normally results from the chemical processes.

Through the chemical processes in the brain, a person largely changes the normal approach due to the negative effect that the drugs have on the reward process. Furthermore, according to Bernstein, and Boyden, (2011) the relapses are normally affected by the changes especially relating to the effect that the process has the prefrontal cortex and the nerve cells in the brain. Furthermore, the brain should ensure that it develops the capability to develop the balance between the brain reward and the risks system.

The brain has a system in place to help in makings sure that individuals are able to identify the risk they face and in the process ensure that the prefrontal cortex persons in the right manner depending on the activities that one engages in. as a result, the increasing drug intake affects prefrontal cortex activities especially in the manner in which it responds to abdication or prevention of relapses.

The brain has a mechanism in place which helps in making sure that a person can decide whether to take the drugs or avoid it through the existing brain cells. However, the reward system that is generated by the brain overcomes the need to avoid taking the drugs (Gazzaniga, Ivry, & Mangun, 2002).

The production of dopamine normally emanates from the middle of the brain which structures the communication process. Different parts of the brain play different roles which are further affected by alteration and the production of dopamine. As a result, there are elements such as the working memory, and thinking process which is affected by the addiction process since their efficiency is affected. In addition, the limbic aspect of the brain is also affected by the changes in the dopamine especially in cases where this interferes with the emotional part of the brain. Therefore, the dopamine helps in facilitating the reward system in the brain, movement, and the thinking process.

Drug addiction often affects the normal functioning of the brain. The brain requires a Homeostasis process which is a biological system that helps in maintaining the equilibrium including the production of the dopamine which is the center of the communication process. The biological balance of the human brain there is altered in the case of the drug addiction which minimizes the individuals’ ability to respond to normal challenges that a person may face.

As a result of the changes of the patters in the communication process, a person is not able to respond to certain activities in a similar manner. Even though the drugs have the ability to mimic the dopamine instructions, they often transmit messages in a different manner since they relay irregular messages to the brain. Therefore, the brain reward system which plays a critical role in identifying the upright and the immoral behaviors is often inhibited by the addiction process.

The brain cells have the system in place that regulates the release of dopamine’s which facilitates the communication but with the ability to trigger its release, the drugs addiction helps increasing its supply thereby affecting the manner in which brain functions. Neurons in the brain have a significant role in the human brain given that they play a significant role in terms of working in relation to the control of the impulses of the human brain. Individuals’ decision making is influenced by the prefrontal cortex conditions and the flow of the dopamine in the human brain.

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As a result, the role played by the neurons in the human brain helps in making sure that they have the capability of performing to their best even in cases where they may be inhibited by the altering of the brain processes. In normal situations, the brain processes should have the ability to warn individuals against high intake of drugs due to its long-term implication but the brain inactivity makes it difficult to respond to the temptations activated by the drug intake.

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Biological Basis of Addiction. (2018, October 02). GradesFixer. Retrieved September 22, 2023, from
“Biological Basis of Addiction.” GradesFixer, 02 Oct. 2018,
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