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Neuroscience of Addiction



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Neuroscience of Addiction Carlton Erickson Ph D Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies Distinguished Professor of Pharmacology Director Addiction Science Research and Education Center College of Pharmacy The University of Texas Austin Texas April 10 2009 Three Points 1 terminology is critical 2 neuroscience 101 3 neuroscience and treatment There is terrible misunderstanding if we don t use the correct terminology Myths addicts are bad crazy or stupid addiction is a will power problem addicts are criminals addicts should be punished not treated for using drugs A A is all alcoholics need to recover people addicted to one drug have addictive personalities www utexas edu research asrec What is addiction synonymous with abuse anytime something is taken done too much too often for too long a serious health problem heroin not so serious exercise preventable just say no scientifically includes compulsive behaviors The Facts DSM IV TWO drug problems drug abuse is a problem to solve caused by bad choices self anesthetization celebration or just wanting to get high chemical dependence is a brain disease caused by genetic vulnerability drug use and environmental influence Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders Fourth Edition How to reduce these abuse education coercion punishment environmental change maturation pressure to stop life events dependence treatment to positively affect abnormal brain function to reduce need for drug both are serious conditions Why is proper differentiation so important we know there are two diagnosable drug problems one is a disease one is not understanding the nature of the problem is critical for determining proper treatment people argue about addiction as a disease there is less disagreement about dependence as a disease How dare you call dependence a brain disease some people who don t know the complete neurobiological genetic addiction research literature argue against disease weight of the research evidence is that



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