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Drug Addiction: Why Does It Occur and What Can We Do About It?

Written by
Dr. Alok Vinod Kulkarni
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.

Published on Nov 27, 2014 and last reviewed on Sep 20, 2018   -  1 min read



This article discusses the pathological basis of addiction and evidence-based treatment approaches.

Drug Addiction: Why Does It Occur and What Can We Do About It?

Drug dependence is on the rise and is viewed as the new age epidemic.

Drug Dependence, a Disorder of the Brain Circuitry:

A host of brain areas (multiple brain circuits) are involved in the genesis of addiction. But, the nucleus accumbens is the most often studied target. This brain structure is involved in the reward and motivation pathway.

Drug dependence is not a moral weakness, but a disorder of the brain circuitry. Drug addiction is a complex illness.

It is characterized by an uncontrollable desire to take the drug (craving), along with compulsive drug seeking that persists despite devastating consequences.

Addiction has far-reaching health and socioeconomic consequences. Drug abuse and addiction increase a person's risk for a variety of other psychiatric and physical illnesses.

Some individuals are more vulnerable than others to develop drug dependence, and this depends on the interplay between genetic makeup, the age of exposure to drugs and other environmental influences.

Treatment for Drug Addiction:

  • Effective treatment programs typically incorporate many components, each directed to a particular aspect of the illness and its consequences.
  • Individualized treatments focus on maintaining a drug-free lifestyle, and achieving productive functioning. Clients require long-term continued care to achieve abstinence from the drug usage.
  • A few evidence-based interventions: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy (MET) remain the cornerstones of addiction treatment.
  • In addition to these interventions, some approved pharmacological interventions include Methadone maintenance therapy and Buprenorphine maintenance treatment for opioid dependence, Naltrexone drug therapy after medical detoxification and nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) for tobacco cessation.
  • Bupropion and Varenicline are the FDA-approved agents for smoking cessation.
  • The agents that have been approved for alcohol dependence include Naltrexone, Acamprosate, and Disulfiram. All these agents should be administered under the guidance of a psychiatrist.
  • The behavioral interventions include CBT, contingency management interventions, community reinforcement approaches, the matrix model and the 12 step facilitation therapy.
  • A holistic approach would also entail family-based interventions. multidimensional family therapy involves working on decision-making, negotiation, and problem-solving skills.

To know more about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy and Motivational Enhancement Therapy, consult a psychiatrist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/psychiatrist


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Last reviewed at:
20 Sep 2018  -  1 min read


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