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The Scope of Addictions

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD By January 15, 2019

A possibly-wise person once said, “Businesses know more about addiction than anyone else in any other field”. As time goes on and research becomes more revealing about the illness of addiction, it’s slowly turning out that, while this statement may be more accusatory than factual when it comes to most industries, there may be some truth into it.

For instance, gambling addiction was medically recognized as an addiction in 2013. Gambling addiction often conjures the same behaviors to protect and feed the addiction as someone addicted to cocaine or heroin; the person commits to actions which they know are detrimental to their financial and personal well-being that they consciously know are going to have those consequences and some even attempt suicide like those with substance abuse disorders to drugs such as cocaine, often times as a result of those consequences and addiction induced depression.

Henrietta Bowden-Jones, a consultant psychiatrist who’s spearheading a new internet and gaming addiction facility in cooperation with England’s National Health Services (NHS), says compulsions flit between different vices but addiction is “an illness we don’t yet know enough about.” Recently the World Health Organization (WHO) added gaming addiction to it’s gaming disorder in it’s official diagnosis guidelines.

While these are seen as ‘lesser’ than substance use disorders due to the seemingly exclusive behavioral elements of them along with the legality and history surrounding other addictions, neuroscience has now largely accepted that the root of all of these behaviors, whether involving substances or social media, is driven primarily by dopamine. When neuroscientists have been able to study the brain behaviors to make comparisons between such addictions that are largely dismissed as ‘non-addictions’ such as sex-addiction, they find the brain responses are nearly identical to those with drug addiction.

It’s true that no one can overdose on gaming or shopping, but the similarities to addictive drug behaviors opens up a path that can separate drug effects from the addiction itself, possibly providing a better understanding of the illness physically within an addict. This has the potential lead to more effect addiction treatment in New Jersey for people suffering from substance use disorders which have a myriad of other physical effects that complicate the study of addiction. When a person’s body becomes codependent on a drug like heroin or cocaine, withdrawal symptoms and addiction become cloudy as to what exactly is happening; is the drug itself causing the effects or is it the brain itself?

At the core of all addictions is dopamine, a neurochemical responsible for ‘craving’. Terry Robinson, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at the University of Michigan stated, “Whether it’s drugs, sex, gambling or whatever, you’re looking at impulse-control disorders where people have difficulty refraining from maladaptive use. There are certainly similarities in terms of the psychological and microbiological mechanisms involved.”

A key finding of Robinson’s research over the years identified that ‘wanting’ something is separated from ‘liking’ something when it comes to addiction, a key to unlocking more effective future New Jersey detox which are likely to include Medication Assisted Treatments (MAT) that can separate these two relationships in a person’s behavior impulses towards everything from cocaine and heroin to sodas and social-media.

Discovery InstituteThe field is relatively young compared to all other medical sciences but slowly, the secrets of the illness are being discovered.

If you suffer from addiction and want to return to sober living in New Jersey, call Discovery Institute at 844-478-6563.

Article Reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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