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Flashcards in Drug Abuse Deck (11)
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using a drug in a fashion inconsistent with medical or social norms

drug abuse


a chronic brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.



a state in which a particular dose elicits a smaller response that it did with initial use



a state in which an abstinence syndrome will occur if drug use is discontinued

Physical Dependence


intense subjective need for a particular psychoactive drug

Psychological dependence


constellation of signs and symptoms that occurs in physically dependent individuals when they discontinue use

withdrawal syndrome


Often the symptoms are opposite to the effects the drug produced before it was withdrawn with what?

withdrawal syndrome


5 factors that contribute to addiction

1.Properties of drugs: some drugs are more addictive than others
2.Physical Dependence: taking the drug to feel normal, to function, etc.
3.Psychological Dependence: use as a coping mechanism (Feel very strongly that there sense of well-being is dependent upon continued drug use).
4.Peer Pressure
5.Drug Availability: abuse can flourish in environments where drugs can be easily attained.


Explain how addiction works

-The Endogenous Reward System (one of the nuclei of the Limbic System) releasing Dopamine (DA) when something is sensed as pleasurable.

-Drugs produce an abnormally large amount of DA.

-The body seeks homeostasis, which means that it will down-regulate when too much DA is released


Anything with pleasurable effects, like hard drugs, fires the VTA. What is the VTA and why is this important?

The VTA is the ventral tegmental area; when someone takes a drug that has pleasurable effects, the VTA is fired causing the release of dopamine.

EX: Mr. Knappier likes coke. When he drinks a coke, a "spray" of dopamine leaves the VTA. When people who are on drugs take a hard drug, the VTA releases a "fire hose" worth of dopamine.


Explain down regulation.

The body seeks homeostasis--so it will begin to down-regulate when too much DA is release.

Decrease in dopamine + decrease in dopamine receptors= decrease effect of natural stimuli