What causes drug addiction?

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What causes drug addiction?
« on: 18/07/2008 10:05:47 »
Christopher asked the Naked Scientists:

How is it that the body becomes physically addicted to certain substances?

I am on pain maintenance drugs and want to quit takinbg them but every time I do I feel as if I was hit by a train full of Naked Scientists! I sneeze and ache and get incredibly depressed after a day or so and this misery seems to last until I start back on the opioid.

What is happening here? How long will it last?

What do you think?


Offline RD

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What causes drug addiction?
« Reply #1 on: 19/07/2008 17:46:47 »
People are psychologically dependent when a drug is so central to their thoughts, emotions and activities that the need to continue its use becomes a craving or compulsion.

With physical dependence, the body has adapted to the presence of the drug, and withdrawal symptoms occur if use of the drug is reduced or stopped abruptly.

The person who is physically dependent will experience withdrawal symptoms about six to 12 hours after last taking a short-acting opioid, such as heroin, and about one to three days after last taking a long-acting opioid, such as methadone. With short-acting opioids, withdrawal comes on quickly and is intense; with longer-acting opioids, withdrawal comes on more gradually, and is less intense.

Symptoms of withdrawal include uneasiness, yawning, tears, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, goose bumps and runny nose.
 These symptoms are accompanied by a craving for the drug. Symptoms usually subside after a week, although some symptoms, such as anxiety, insomnia and drug craving, may continue for a long time.

« Last Edit: 19/07/2008 17:48:39 by RD »


Offline DoctorBeaver

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What causes drug addiction?
« Reply #2 on: 19/07/2008 17:51:56 »
OI... I was going to say that!  [:(!]

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