Drug Addiction: Substance Use Disorder & Its Effects - Paper Example

Published: 2023-11-14
Drug Addiction: Substance Use Disorder & Its Effects - Paper Example
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Abuse Healthcare Drug abuse
Pages: 7
Wordcount: 1741 words
15 min read


Drug addiction can also be referred to as substance use disorder (Bardo et al., 2015). This is a disease that usually affects people's behaviors and brain functioning. In many cases, drug addiction leads to the inability to manage the use of both legal and illegal substances. In any discussion about drug addiction, substances like alcohol, marijuana, heroin, and nicotine are not left out because they are considered drugs. Addiction results in the continuous and regular use of the drugs despite the harm that they may cause to the normal functioning of the body and the brain of the user (Bardo et al., 2015). Drug addiction may be considered as a gradual issue. It can start with the experimental use of drugs in a social setting or a recreational situation. To some individuals, the experimental drug use grows to be more frequent and regular. Other cases that can result in drug use and addiction begin with the exposures that individuals receive to prescribed medications or medications that are received from friends or relatives.

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These medications resultantly lead to the continuous use of the particular drugs hence leading to addiction to the particular drug. However, addiction risks and how fast an individual becomes addicted to the drug are variant with the type of drug that is being used. Some drugs like pain killers pose a higher risk of addiction to individuals quickly than others. With time, the body systems become used to the frequent use of the drugs such that individuals have to take in large amounts of drugs to get high and to receive the satisfaction of the drugs. The more an individual uses large amounts of drugs he/she gets it difficult to go without the drug. Attempts to get rid of the drug are rendered unsuccessful once an individual reaches this stage of drug usage. This discussion focuses on drug addiction impact on physiological, cognitive, and physical development

Drug addictions impact on physiological

Reproductive consequences are one of the physiological impacts of drug addiction. Research into the impact of consuming alcohol on fertility is deep-rooted. While various studies have shown a consistent relationship between infertility and drinking, additional studies examine moderate use are more inconsistent (Schwabe et al., 2011). There are considerable implications in women concerning the capacity to consume and metabolize alcohol. Suggestions show that variation in the metabolism of alcohol in women is associated with different phases of the menstrual circle, but other reviews suggest that there are no effects reflected on menstrual circle subject to alcohol metabolism. Studies show that major hormonal changes in postmenopausal women are observed. Women taking replacement of hormone, and consume fourteen or more standard drinks in a week had a higher estradiol level. These high levels of estradiol cause a greater risk of coronary heart disease and breast cancer.

Drug addiction also impacts osteoporosis. Evidence suggests that decreased bone formation and vitamin D abnormality metabolism may cause osteoporosis to premenopausal women. Heavy alcohol consumption has led to an increased risk of osteoporosis by decreasing the density of bones. The effect strikes more at young women whose bones are still developing. Besides, animal studies show that early chronic alcohol exposure on damaging effects is not overcome even after alcohol users cease. Tobacco use may also increase the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

The use of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol can affect a pregnant woman in multiple ways. The use of drugs can cause obstetric complications and miscarriage. It is not easy to tease out the personal effects of illicit and licit substances on the development of fetal and infant because women who use drugs often abuse more than one, and the consequences of drug abuse can lead to victimization, psychological distress, and poverty. Maternal alcohol use during pregnancy can lead to various effects exposed to the offspring which are called fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, and the most dangerous impact is fetal alcohol syndrome. Women who breastfed while drinking pass alcohol to the infants. Although various studies of laboratory animals demonstrate different outcomes in breastfed offspring during alcohol taking by their mothers, human data are limited. A review on women who drink while breastfeeding shows that maternal alcohol consumption may affect the sleeping patterns of the infant and it does not promote lactation.

Addiction to alcohol and illicit drugs has an impact on HIV/AIDS status. Individuals who inject drugs have high chances of co-infection with hepatitis, tuberculosis, and HIV. Fifty-seven percent of HIV infections are attributed to the use of injection drugs or having sex with an individual who injects drugs (Everitt, & Robbins, 2016). Some drugs make women more vulnerable to sexually transmitted diseases because of physiological changes. For example, women who use heavy alcohol tend to have drier mucous membranes, which leads to small tears and abrasions that allow easier access of HIV into the bloodstream. As much as timely treatment of HIV can be eliminated to protect the pregnant woman from infecting the fetus, all women that have a history of substance abuse should undergo an HIV test at the first sign of possible pregnancy. Although highly active antiretroviral therapy suggest that gains are not equal on gender and status comparability of individuals who injects drugs, studies show that women who inject drugs suffer more as compared to men

Drug addictions impact on cognitive

The regions of the brain and the processes of neural that underlie addiction extensively overlap those that support functions of cognitive which include; reasoning and memory. The activity of the drug in these processes and region foster a strong maladaptive association during the early stages of drug use between the environmental stimuli and drug use that underlie behaviors of drug-seeking in future cravings (Pascual et al., 2011). Continued use of the drug, deficits of cognitive makes it difficult to establish sustainable abstinence. Brains that is still developing is susceptible to the impact of drug abuse. Patients with illnesses relating to mental have a high risk of substance abuse, and a severe impact on cognitive could result in mental disorders.

Individuals who take drugs become uncontrolled and increasingly chronic in the first stage. Normally, there is an increase in dopamine signaling in the system especially in the nucleus accumbens that produce a pleasurable feeling which oriented organisms to find and perform conditions of life sustainment and activities like eating and having sex (Panlilio et al., 2013). Abuse of drugs hyperactivates the brain system, triggering abrupt, and increase dopamine signaling that produces an intense sensation which in turn motivates additional drug-taking. The second stage presents additional features of clinical which include; alterations in making decisions and vulnerability to relapse. Although dopamine modification at this stage may have a positive impact, it is not enough to sustain the complexity and long-lasting changes. The changes in brain stress circulation and negative influence such as the effect of drug-taking motivation that cause discomfort during drug abstinence fosters maladaptive drug-stimulus which contributes to drug-seeking and later disruption of cognitive development.

Clinical experts who observe individuals undergoing addiction treatment often become vulnerable to relapse when they eventually return to their environments where they developed addictions (Vassoler et al., 2014). The research of clinical experts confirms that cravings for drugs and elicit physiological responses are as a result of associated cues of drug abuse. The animal laboratory also develops cue-response behaviors and powerful associations in the environment of drug-related stimuli. Using an example of giving an animal a drug in a single compartment of two cages continuously will result in a more compartment as compared to the alternative compartment.

The model of multistage of addiction contributes to addicted individuals' way of response to cues of drugs in the learning process which inculcates a strong association of drug stimulus (DomĂ­nguez-Salas et al., 2016). Under this view, people who take drugs perceive their present environmental surroundings as highly significant and make it an exception in a strong mental connection between features of the surrounding environment and the drug's intense pleasure. Besides, drug-taking individuals when they encounter those features once more, the strong association reasserts themselves. Consistent under this account, expose the addicted individuals to the association cues with substance abuse elicits together with drug cravings and physiological responses, and changes in the level of brain activity regions involve both memory and learning.

The effect of nicotine, amphetamine, and cocaine strongly fit in the multistage model of addiction. Each of these drugs has an acute effect on the learning and attention of individuals who take drugs. For example, the response that smoking enhances cognitive is generally accepted by researchers but numerous studies have confirmed animal laboratory improve the processes of cognitive immediately after administering nicotine. Similar studies with human smokers did not arise to a conclusion because the participants in the study were smokers who received nicotine after a period of abstinence. The observed results might have revealed the withdrawal reversal effects as opposed to improvements in normal cognitive strength. Another study suggests that nicotine influences reaction time and attention in naĂŻve people.

Although drug abuse fosters the learning of cue-induced drug-seeking and strong stimulus association, some appear to have effects that are mixed with other cognition and types of learning. For example, a clinical study on morphine and oxycodone effects concluded that the two drugs give variable effects on cognition. Both improved the recall of men prose slightly, but morphine impaired the performance of both sexes slightly on a working memory test in which they were required to come again a set of digits using the reverse order. In another study, mice have given morphine and trained to escape at a light signal of a shocking foot, although morphine-treated mice had a high score on quickness and frequency, the study attributed to the increased activity of motor as opposed to learning enhancement (Castilla-Ortega et al 2017).

Recent studies have concluded on the long-lasting ability of associations of drug-stimulus to provoke relapse and influence behavior (Waters, & Leventhal, 2015). Studies have proved that multiple abused substances may cause communication to reshape pathways between the synaptic plasticity, which could result in both persistence and formation of drug-stimulus association maladaptive. Nicotine and cocaine can directly induce one form of neurons, the strengthening of synaptic plasticity connections by using the process of called long term potentiation. Marijuana stimulates the endocannabinoid system, which leads to inhibition in some instances together with facilitation in other instances. Morphine results in long term potentiation of neurons that exhibit inhibitory control of the synaptic plasticity activity through neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid.

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