Sample Research Paper on Brain Chemistry in Addiction

Background information
No one takes a stick of cigarette or a streak of cocaine or heroin, or even a shot of alcohol
with the intention of becoming a constant consumer. There are alarming statistics of the number
of people who have been addicted to the various drugs in the U.S. for instance, both cocaine and
heroin accounts for about 2 million addicts; with an additional whopping 15 million addicts of

alcohol and quite some millions of cigarette addicts (Kuhar, 2012). The habitual consumption of
a drug with the intention of obtaining pleasure from it is commonly referred to as addiction. It
disobeys the associated consequences. It is a lasting problem, and in particular has an effect on
the population of a nation. Addicts have confessed that it is not an easy thing to stop consuming
those drugs at the blink of an eye.
Molecular Pharmacology studies have shown that drug abuse not only affects the various
parts of the brain, but also alters the behaviors of an individual addict. The behavioral changes
can be explained through the study of the reward system of the brain. Acute addiction leads to no
additional pleasure, but it is associated with sealing the gap of reduced dopamine production
(Tannenbaum, 2008). This explains the fact that an individual will continue using a drug even
when they do not obtain any pleasure. It is, therefore, essential to discuss the brain chemistry
involved in addiction in an in-depth way, and also expound on the effects of addiction to the
functioning of the brain and its anatomy.
The brain is a sensitive component of the human body. It may suffer from various
ailments ranging from mild to acute. However, with the help of both dopamine and serotonin, the
brain component is able to remain calm and desist from depression and disorders of the mood.
Additionally, the functioning of the human body is centrally coordinated at the centre of the
brain. Neuro-transmitters dopamine is in charge of the normal movements of a person
(Tannenbaum, 2008). It is also responsible for the body balance in such functioning as walking.
On the other hand, serotonin is responsible for the coordination of movement through the
management of other neuro-transmitters.

Literature Review

Theoretical framework
Proponents of personality theory are the behavioral psychologists. These theorists argue
from an environmental point of view. B F Skinner developed the theory and argued that an
individual is more likely to be productive in the event of rewards. His work was recorded in the
experimental explanation of the relationship between stimulus and response. He also argued that
an individual is compliant to the form of reinforcement they receive, and this affects their
personality. Skinner also proposed the concept of environmental change to change the
personality of an individual.
The last category and is the key to our study is the psychodynamic theory propagated by
Sigmund Freud. The theory proposes that any action by an individual person is not as a mistake
but rather a deliberate action from within that person. Freud discussed the influences of the
childhood setup to the personality of a person. He also suggested that every form action is
supported by an internal factor operating in the nervous system of an individual person. He gave
the theory the name unconscious theory of personality. It has three components among them
being ID, Ego and Superego.
Freud developed this theory of personality after observing people for several years. He
collected data from the patients he was handling as he was a neurologist. He propagates the
theorem using simple illustrations from the actions portrayed by different people at different
stages of their lives. He further described the human personality from a systematic point of view,
where he said that the different behaviors portrayed by people are; as a result, of the forces
compelling them. Another notable area of emphasis by Sigmund was the place of instincts in the
life of a person. It is from the illustrations and various observations that Freud developed the
three concepts of his theory; the ID, EGO and SUPEREGO.

The Id is the place where the biological urges of an individual person are held. It is also a
place where instincts that make a person crave for a specific thing are found. According Freud,
when a child is born he relies on this concept for survival and adaptability. It is the id that makes
a person feel hungry and look for food to satisfy the hunger. Freud argued that the concept is
based on short-term satisfaction to a person’s desires. He goes further and uses an illustration of
a student lying a colleague so as to win confidence. This concept is paramount in the life of
students as it will nurture their socialization skills. However, teachers should guide the students
to avoid the misuse of the concept.
The second concept that Freud described in his theory is ego. This is an advancement of
the id concept which is based on the basic principle of reality. Freud argued that the infant will
not be in a position to reason about the future. However, due to the concept of ego, a person is
able to plan for the unforeseen future. This concept is relevant in the life of students as it will
help them to apply effort in their studies for a better future. It is also this concept that makes life
of students to be real in the sense that they are able to detect the urgency of things. Students also
benefit from this concept in their relationships with each other.
Both the id and ego lack some aspect of pure reality in them. It is from this limitation that
Freud advanced his theory to cover the superego concept. He argued that this concept is the
foundation of principles in the life of a person. For instance, the life of a student will only have
meaning when they are able to plan and actualize those plans. This concept also promotes ethics
as it defines morality. The feelings of guilt are influenced by superego concept. In a nutshell,
therefore, a person must apply all the three concepts in their adaptability to the environment and
in the process of personality development.

Conceptual Framework
Scientists and scholars have invested much of their time and resources in the study of this
scenario, and in particular Neuro-pharmacology. For instance, Professor Rochelle Schwartz, a
professor at Duke Institute for Brain Sciences, together with her colleagues came up with a study
of brain anatomy and addiction (Kuhar, 2012). The study was an exposition at a conference in
Canada, and it was directed towards journalists; as they are considered to be the mirror and voice
to the society.
Additionally, Steve Hyman an Ex-director of National Institute of Mental health,
expounded on the understanding of the concept of addiction. Steve expounds on the concept of
the brain anatomy, and specifically the nucleus accumbens (Tannenbaum, 2008). Nucleus
accumbens are a group of cells located in the pleasure centres of the brain. It heavily relies on
two essential neuro-transmitters: dopamine, which is responsible for the desire, and serotonin
involved in satiety and inhibition.
Consumption of alcohol or smoking of cigarette or even consumption of any other drug,
results to feelings of pleasure. When this desire arises, it triggers the release of dopamine; the
neuro-transmitter involved with the production of pleasure (Kuhar, 2012). Continued abuse of
drugs inhibits the natural production of dopamine in the reward system, and, as a result, the only
way to satisfy the lacking pleasure is through taking the drugs. This is because of the chemical
alteration that takes place in the brain cells. Presence of drugs causes the brain to lose its natural
functionality aspect, and for it to operate normally, it has to seek for external pleasure that is
present in drugs. Drugs have similar chemical combination as the natural neurotransmitters;
dopamine and serotonin. There is the production of less pleasure in the absence of drugs, and this
causes additional addiction.

Other studies by different scholars show that there is a relationship between the level of
addiction and the family setting. One of such study was conducted by Thomas Mc Lellan, PhD, a
professor in the department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. He
noted that there is a distinct characteristic emulated by drug addicts that come from families that
have a history of using drugs. In most cases, a child born by parents who are regular users of
drugs has a higher chance of abusing drugs in the later years in his life. This is explained by an
understanding of the human body anatomy, especially in the conceptualization of genetics. The
various genes making a human being have a mix of inheritance from both parents. Therefore, if
one parent or both have a history of being drug users, the children born will take those genes and
continue with the vice. The study was further expounded by Henri Begleiter, PhD, professor of
psychiatry and neuroscience at the state university of New York, Brooklyn, New York.

The Dopamine and Serotonin Pathways
Dopamine and serotonin are chemical components in the brain anatomy commonly
referred to as neuro-transmitters. They are responsible for the various desires and mood swings
on individual experiences. For instance, different individuals have different pleasures in life;
there are those who are addicted to travelling and adventure while others are addicted to sports.
The principal causes of these behaviors are the two neuro-transmitters (Tannenbaum, 2008).
The brain is a sensitive component of the human body. It may suffer from various
ailments ranging from mild to acute. However, with the help of both dopamine and serotonin, the
brain component is able to remain calm and desist from depression and disorders of the mood.
Additionally, the functioning of human body is centrally coordinated at the centre of the brain.
Neuro-transmitters dopamine is in charge of the normal movements of a person (Tannenbaum,
2008). It is also responsible for the body balance in such functioning as walking. On the other

hand, serotonin is responsible for the coordination of movement through the management of
other neuro-transmitters.
Dopamine has a role in the controlling of impulse. It is responsible for the addiction and
other behavioral changes in an individual. Low levels of dopamine production trigger an
individual to seek for pleasure elsewhere (Tannenbaum, 2008). This explains the concept of
addiction in an individual’s life. The addiction may range from that of mere shopping spree to
abuse of drugs and other products. The impulse function in the human anatomy has a linkage to
dopamine production (Kuhar, 2012). Scholars however, have not outlined a clear relationship
between the two components.
Dopamine is also responsible for the various desires in an individual. It is the chemical
element that explains the reason why people crave for different items. Motivation in the life of a
person is also related to dopamine (Kuhar, 2012). The behavioral change associated with
achievement has its source in the brain, and it is normally influenced by the release of dopamine
and coordinated by serotonin. The reward system explains why an individual will seek for more
performance so as to achieve the associated rewards. The two pathways; dopamine and
serotonin, have the role of connecting the various parts of the brain. Operant conditioning gives
guidance in the understanding of the reward system of human beings. Scholars have put it across
that; an individual will always seek for satisfaction through repeated actions.
Studies have shown that any imbalance between serotonin and dopamine may result to
depression and disorders associated with anxiety. On other hand, low levels of serotonin have an
association with increased cases of suicide. The study of the two chemical elements, therefore,
explains the concept of mood and disorder in a human being. The two chemicals also coordinate

the communication function of the brain (Kuhar, 2012). For instance, the brain coordinates the
signaling of the heart to function. Another instance is the coordination of appetite in a human
functioning. Serotonin is responsible for the levels of appetite in the body, normally triggered
through the production of the appetite signals.
A study by Helen Fisher, PhD, an anthropologist at Rutgers University, expounds on the
concept of love at first sight and the associated feelings. She connotes that; the feeling is a
combination of lust and dopamine (Kuhar, 2012). She further explains that dopamine is a factor
of infatuation, and it affects the feelings an individual have towards the topic of love. Other
scholars have expressed similarity in the relationship of dopamine with factors such as insomnia
and lost appetite. Fisher further expounds on the concept that dopamine is distributed in all the
four brain pathways (Tannenbaum, 2008). It is, therefore, easily picked by the signals meant for
connectivity and acts as the bridge. Dopamine is also responsible for the movement of the
George Koob, Ph.D., a neuro-pharmacology professor at Scripps Research Institute also
offers contributions to the concept of dopamine. George states that the neuro-transmitters act as
the spark plug responsible to trigger behavior (Kuhar, 2012). He further observes that the process
of sparks production must take place failure to which the body will remain stagnated as a result
of failed movements of the muscles. It is clear that dopamine has a link with attention and
concentration levels. It is, therefore, eminent that dopamine encourages addiction. This concept
is further emphasized by David Goldman, Ph.D., a neuro-scientist with the national Institute of
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. David notes that dopamine reinforces behavior which is
associated with the feelings of good or bad (Tannenbaum, 2008).

Scholars have had a consensus in the area of study of dopamine. It has resulted out that
dopamine is responsible for everyday’s individual behaviors. Having a focus on one single factor
in life is associated with increasing dopamine levels (Kuhar, 2012). Personality of an individual
is also associated with dopamine as observed by Richard Depue, Ph.D., a professor of human
development at Cornell University. This explains the reason behind any form of motivation; be it
to abuse drugs or to work hard at work or at school. Richard also observed that the level of
activeness of dopamine affects excitement associated with setting goals. In contrast, serotonin is
a neuro-transmitter associated with calmness and tranquility. It is responsible for fighting
depression disorders in the human brain (Tannenbaum, 2008).

The Brain
The brain of a person is the most-sophisticated organ in the human body. It is the steering
wheel for all the activities conducted by an individual. Additionally, it is responsible for the
alignment of thoughts and other activities (Kuhar, 2012). It is a component of several parts and
all of them work efficiently. Consumption of drugs affects several parts of the brain. These
include:- brain stem, cerebral cortex and the limbic system. Each of the affected areas has a
specific function in the life of a human being. The brain stem is in charge of controlling the basic
functionalities of life among them include power of sleeping, heartbeat, and also breathing. On
the other hand, the cerebral cortex, which is a composite of various subdivisions, has the
responsibility of senses and also thinking. Lastly, the limbic system is a component of the reward
system of the brain. Limbic system also has the role of boosting the habitual behaviors and is the
one mostly affected by addiction (Tannenbaum, 2008).
The human brain has the role of maintaining body balance. It is also a source of human
motivation in the life of a person. Studies have shown a relationship between human motivation

and the level of dopamine produced (Kuhar, 2012). The behavioral change associated with
achievement has its source in the brain, and it is normally influenced by the release of dopamine
and coordinated by serotonin. A further study on the reward circuit of the brain explains the
performance of the brain and coordination of the rewards expected. The two pathways; dopamine
and serotonin, have the role of connecting the various parts of the brain (Tannenbaum, 2008).

Brain Communication
The human brain is a communication hub or component functionality that consist several
neurons. Neurons are pathways of communication as they transmit messages/signals to several
parts of the brain and the body. Neurons send messages to other neurons in the form of electric
signals. The chemical component is comprised of neurotransmitters charged with the role of
carrying information between neurons. The receptors are chemical components on which the
neurotransmitters get attached in their function of sending and receiving messages/signals. Their
main function is to receive the electrical signals (Kuhar, 2012).

Functioning of Drugs in the Brain
The limbic system is the brain component charged with the development and
maintenance of feelings and pleasures. This explains why it is the one highly affected by drugs
abuse, as it is excited by those drugs causing habitual feelings (Kuhar, 2012). The chemical
components found in drugs normally affect the communication pathways of the brain. Drugs
have effects on neurons’ functionality of sending and receiving signals waiting for the
information to be processed. For instance, a drug like marijuana and those in its category has the
capacity of activating the neurons as they have a natural aspect similar to that of
neurotransmitters (Tannenbaum, 2008). They feed the brain with abnormal signals that lead to
processing of abnormal information. On the other hand, drugs in the category of cocaine have the

capacity of activating the neurons in the release of large components of neurotransmitters thus
distracting the communication pathways.
A notable observation in the usage of drugs is the destruction of brain cells. For instance,
those who excessively consume alcohol for long periods of time have a chance of experiencing
shrinks in their brains. Scientists have discovered this by carrying out autopsies, whereby they
observe the effects of drugs. Another scenario is through carrying out magnetic resonance
imaging and other CT scans to the alcoholics. Drugs have been associated with the destruction of
brain cells which may be a big problem in the future. Additionally, drugs damage the sources of
dopamine chemical, which is responsible for the emotional stability of a human being
(Tannenbaum, 2008).
Excessive abuse of drugs produces a number of changes to the brain cells. The human
brain operates as a combined effort of the various functionality cells (Tannenbaum, 2008). Each
cell has its function in the normal circumstance of the brain operation. However, usage of drugs
alters the functioning of these cells thereby causing effects to the brain. One of the notable
changes in the brain operation is the abnormal production of neurotransmitters. Drugs have a
similar effect as the natural neurotransmitters in the body. They produce artificial pleasure that
alters the normal functioning of the brain. The presence of drug element in the brain cells hinders
the release of dopamine and serotonin chemicals. This affects the processing of sending and
receiving information in the brain cells and to other parts of the body (Kuhar, 2012).
Additionally, the presence of drug components in the brain cells causes high release of
neurotransmitters. This normally happens because of the association of the pleasure of drugs and
the natural pleasure produced by the natural neurotransmitters. In a natural setting, the reward

system of the brain produces balanced pleasures. This is as a result of the normal release of both
the dopamine and the serotonin neurotransmitters (Tannenbaum, 2008). When a person fails to
take drugs, the remaining source of pleasure is through the normal release of dopamine chemical.
This helps an individual to differentiate between the motivating factors and those that do not
bring up motivation. However, the effect is different in the case of drug addiction. An addict
obtains pleasure from the drug through constant intake. This in the long run damages the brain
Moreover, drug elements attach themselves to the receptors to replace the
neurotransmitters. When a person takes drugs, the chemical in the drugs mix with the blood and
it attaches itself at the end of the receptors. This replaces the natural neurotransmitters that are
responsible for the sending and receiving messages. The chemical effect of drugs is similar to
that from the natural transmitters (Tannenbaum, 2008). When the drug chemicals attach
themselves to the neurons, they get transported to all parts of the brain. There is the production
of the high feelings brought about by the drug. This triggers the brain cells charged with
production of dopamine to either fasten the production process or slow it at all. Excessive release
of dopamine will produce mixed feelings to the drug user in the absence of drugs.
At advanced stages of drug addiction, the drug user experiences moments of lows and
highs brought about by the after effects of excessive use of drugs. At this stage the brain cells are
destroyed thus affecting the normal process of release of the neurotransmitters. This normally
happens because the chemical elements present in the drugs block the neuron pathways. This
also has the effect of releasing excessive receptors to a given number of neurotransmitters
(Tannenbaum, 2008). All this affects the normal functionality of the brain cell, and in the long

run may lead to acute destruction of the entire brain. It is, therefore, clear that drugs have adverse
effects to the brain cells and the components of neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmission and Drug Disruption
Neurotransmission functionality of the brains has two components; dopamine and
serotonin. Abuse of drugs produces pleasure in the brains which are normally targeted to the
reward system of the brain (Kuhar, 2012). When the reward system of the brain is affected by
drugs, it inhibits the neurotransmission process by neurons. Another component of the brain
affected by drugs is the synapse. It is a sophisticated element of the brain and it is affected by
drugs and produces mixed reactions. The synaptic transmission may be triggered to release more
transmitters into the synaptic space (Kuhar, 2012). This unusual release of the dopamine causes
potential health hazards to an individual.
Drugs function in a similar manner like the natural body neurotransmitters. An intake of
the drug results to its absorption into the blood where it gets attached to the neurons. When this
happens, there is the production of chemical signals from the drug elements. These messages all
distributed to the entire brain cells thus affecting its functionality. The natural neurotransmitters
are blocked by the chemical elements in the drugs. This alters the stability of the brain and may
result to unconscious moments or even moments of hallucinations (Tannenbaum, 2008).

Drug Pleasure in the Brain
Drugs oftenly affect the reward system. This mostly happens through the flooding of the
brain circuit with dopamine. This takes place because dopamine is the component in charge of
emotions, pleasure and motivation. When the reward system is activated normally it has the
effect of producing normal behaviors (Tannenbaum, 2008). However, when the same system is

stimulated through the use of drugs, it results to ecstatic effects, and have the effect on the drug
user. Constant/habitual use of drugs results to high levels of ecstasy thus resulting to addiction.

Brains have the prioritizing factor in the life of a human being. This normally happens
because the circuit associated with the reward system helps in raising the levels of motivation
and also pleasure. When an important event happens, the brain records it and the willpower to do
it habitually (Tannenbaum, 2008). A similar procedure is followed in the process of drug
addiction. Drugs have the capacity of activating the brain reward circuit thus encouraging easy
Research has shown that drugs are able to produce more pleasure than the natural
rewards. As a result of this factor drugs results to high levels of production of dopamine
chemical. However, that is not the case with other natural rewards such as having sex, sleeping
or even eating. The effects produced by consumption of drugs are adverse and lasts for longer
periods as compared to natural rewards (Kuhar, 2012). Studies have shown that the art of drug
abuse is procedural and takes a lot of mastery. The scenario explains why it is hard for an addict
to stop consuming drugs.

Continuous usage of drugs produces several effects towards the functioning of the brain.
Huge consumption of drugs affects dopamine and other neurotransmitters. This leads to the
production of smaller amounts of dopamine, and also results to low number of receptors;
elements charged with the role of receiving signals (Tannenbaum, 2008). To counter the low
production of dopamine, a drug addict will have to consume lots of the drug amounts to seek for
pleasure. This is a result of reduced pleasure associated with low levels of dopamine production.
A continuous process results to depression and a person lacks pleasure of life, and this finally
results to total addiction.
A long period of consuming drugs will affect the brain circuits. The development of
tolerance to drugs makes the abuser feel helpless without the drug. In the long run, the effects
result to the damaging of the brain circuits. The neurons and other neurotransmitters are affected
and altered in the way of functionality (Tannenbaum, 2008). A neurotransmitter known as
glutamate has the capacity to affect the reward circuit of the brain and also the ability of an
individual to learn. Huge consumption of drugs leads to an alteration in their functioning and
results to impairment in the cognition functionality of the brain.

Drugs Effects on behaviors
Another notable change occurring in to the brain of a drug abuser is the behavioral
changes. Prolonged use of drugs can result to the disruption of the essential brain interaction
structures. This affects the way an individual relates to matters concerning self control. The
effects of tolerance are also exhibited at this stage of drug usage (Kuhar, 2012). A specific drug
abuser seeks solace from consumption of more amounts of the drug which result to addiction.
The resultant effect is low self esteem and also affects an individual’s decision making process.

Scientific research on the topic of addiction and the operation of the brain indicate that
drug addiction is a real problem to the brains (Tannenbaum, 2008). It is shown that the effects of
drugs significantly affect the way the brain react towards nature and life issues. The process of
addiction takes time gradually from the simple leisure behavior to drug addiction. A person starts
taking drugs in a voluntary manner as a form of lifestyle, later the drug develops dependence to
the brain thus making the person to constantly seek for more pleasure from the drug. The
constant process of seeking for external pleasure produced by consuming a drug leads to intake
of larger amounts of the drug. The resulting effect is addiction to the drug user. This theorem is
supported by the concept of pleasure the brain obtains from the release of dopamine (Kuhar,
Additionally, the drug user develops behavioral changes that are eminent from the effects
of taking drugs. An individual alters their functionality in the presence of family members and
also the society. The behavioral changes are brought about by the craving pleasures produced by
failure to use the drug (Tannenbaum, 2008). To satisfy the pleasures, the individual person has to
seek for larger quantities of the drugs. The brain cells, and in particular the reward system
develops anxiety in the event of absence of the drug. The mood patterns of the person are
affected by the lows and highs experienced during the process of taking drugs. In the long run, a
person may turn hostile to people or even suffer from acute moments of loneliness and
Another notable finding in the study of drug addiction in brain chemistry is the effects on
perception and emotional status of a person. Perception is the way or manner in which a person
views specific events or happenings as compared to others. The process of perception is
normally coordinated in the brain mechanisms. When a person takes drugs, they alter the normal

functioning of the brain through the production of abnormal pleasures and neurotransmitters
which affect the way a person respond to an event. For instance, the consumption of marijuana
produces moment of high to the consumer (Kuhar, 2012). A person starts to reside in the world
of illusion and imaginations. This highly affects the way that person will perceive important
things in life. Also, during the low moments of the drug taker, abnormal surges happen in the
brain. There is moments of happiness followed by moments of solitude. To fight these two
moments, drug addicts seek for more pleasures in the taking of drugs. This further continues to
destroy the brain cells, and if not well checked may result to total damage.
A similar chemistry happens to the emotional status of a person. The emotions of a
person develop from the brains. They are perceived by the brain cells and distributed to other
parts of the body. In a normal circumstance, the brains produce a mix of stable emotions which
are necessary for human existence. In the event of drug addiction, the human brain is conditioned
to operate from external forces. According to B. F Skinner’s theorem of operant conditioning, a
given behavior is a result of the reward or punishment received (Tannenbaum, 2008). He proved
this factor through the use of rat and meat experiment. Similarly, the brain of a drug addict is
conditioned to work only in the presence of the drug. The absence of that condition will affect
the emotional stability of the addict which may even turn to suicidal cases.
Skinner’s experiment has an elaborated outlay of the effects of both positive and negative
reinforcements. In the event of a positive reinforcement, the behavior is reinforced. Similarly, in
the event of negative reinforcement, the behavior is changed. These two concepts explain the
reason why a reformed drug may continue suffering from moments of compulsion. In the event a
person reforms from taking drugs, necessary steps should be taken to ensure that the person do
not fall back into the trap of using drugs again (Kuhar, 2012). This can be done through issuance

of positive rewards after reformation, and negative reinforcement to those taking drugs to
discourage them from the usage of those elements.
The origin of memory is in the brain nerves. The human brain carries various tasks in the
human development cycle. Generally, there are two basic forms of memory; the short-term
memory, and the long-term memory (Tannenbaum, 2008). Human brain has various components
with different memory types. Drugs usage affects the cortex part of the brain. This part of the
brain holds both the short and long term memories. An addict will normally suffer from memory
lapses resulting from the damage to the cortex part of the brain. An acute addict will probably
suffer from distortion of speech because of the damage caused to the memory storage bank for
remembering information. Another effect is the impaired decision making process accompanied
by slow response to events (Kuhar, 2012).
A biological change occurs to the fundamental functionality of the brain in the event of
prolonged drug consumption. Drug addiction alters the structural functionality of the brain cells
thus affecting the whole concept of human operation. Studies have shown that drugs disrupt the
neuro-transmitters in the brain (Tannenbaum, 2008). It is these transmission elements that ensure
proper flow of information through electric signals throughout the brain cells and to other parts
of the body. An alteration will lead to changes in the process of sending and receiving of
information, and in the end the delayed motion in the body of a drug addict. Any damage to a
brain cell structure by drugs may end up being irreversible. Therefore, even in the event of a
reformed drug addict, similar problems might be experienced in the future. Amygdala
component of the brain structure is responsible for emotions and memory (Kuhar, 2012). An
alteration through the usage of drugs will cause it destruction and further effects to the entire
human body.

Brain circuit is a connection of various components all which function in a coordinated
manner. A drug addict will experience moments of neuron changes that cause an adaptive nature
in respect to the abused drug. A long period of drug abuse cause changes in the distortion of the
cognitive process (Tannenbaum, 2008). The brain operates in a manner of seeking for a
motivation through the consumption of drugs. This is well-explained by borrowing facts from the
law of motivation developed by Abraham Maslow. In this theorem, a person seeks for attainment
of basic human needs before proceeding to the next level of needs in the hierarchy. A similar
effect is experienced in the brain anatomy of a drug addict. A drug addict will keep constantly
looking for the additional pleasure from the usage of the drug (Kuhar, 2012). However,
prolonged use will result to low moment of pleasure or no additional pleasure at all. To adapt to
the new changes, the drug addict will consume huge amounts of a drug thus worsening the
addiction case.
Further, the use of drugs cause instances of jammed brain circuits. The external pleasure
found in drugs blocks the brain pathways responsible for the transmission of dopamine and
serotonin. As a result of this, the brain is left with no option other than to embrace the new
chemical alterations. This explains the reason why addiction is a gradual process and not just an
event of a single day (Tannenbaum, 2008). The drug addict normally seeks for unnatural ways of
pleasure contained in the drugs. In advanced stages of addiction, the specific user is affected in
the way they respond to the outside world components. The brain solely gains satisfaction from
the drugs, and this result to decreased attention to real world.
A sophisticated way of understanding the operation of addiction and the brain chemistry
is through the study of the concept of homeostasis. It is scholarly noted that homeostasis is a
biological status of the body remaining at a similar level or at constant (Tannenbaum, 2008). It is

the self-balancing of the body that occurs through the interaction of the various activities of the
brain. In the event of a drug addiction, there are two effects that normally take place: one there is
a short term positive effect of increased release of the dopamine chemical, and secondly there is
the negative long term of addiction which may cause destruction of brain cells. High levels of
dopamine chemical enable a person to maintain a normal body balance in terms of natural
pleasure produced (Kuhar, 2012). This can be explained by the effect produced by normal
activities such as eating or having sex. It is the normal production of dopamine that enables an
individual to have a balance in the above-stated activities.
The long run negative effect of drug intake is the alteration of the homeostasis process.
Brain cells have the capacity to seek for the self balancing effect through the controlled
production level of both dopamine and serotonin. However, in the presence of drugs, the brain is
conditioned to operate only through continued usage of drugs. The effects are adverse in the case
of acute addiction (Tannenbaum, 2008). The destroyed brain cells have no capacity to produce
the necessary neurons, and this affects the natural process of production of neurotransmitters. To
compensate on the gap built when the brain cells are destroyed, the drug addict will continue to
take huge amounts of the drug with the aim of getting pleasure. In some circumstances, the
additional intake of drugs does not produce the pleasure experienced at early stages of drug use
(Kuhar, 2012). This can be explained through studying the theory of marginal utility in
Economics. Application of similar concepts can be used in analyzing the concept of addiction.
Lastly but not the least, drugs affect the synaptic transmission. For instance, some
chemicals present in marijuana causes activation of some brain cells. Similarly other effects may
happen in the usage of other drugs that cause the blockage of specific receptors. A given
scenario to explain this happening is found in the study of the effects of caffeine and other mild

stimulants to the brain cells (Tannenbaum, 2008). An uptake of caffeine causes blockage of a
neurotransmitter known as adenosine. Adenosine is a neuromodulator that induces sleep.
Therefore, high intakes of caffeine will cause the blocking of adenosine thus resulting to
increased levels of physical activities.

Drug addiction is a community problem. The burden caused by the drug addict to the
members of the society is the supporting factor. Drug addiction is associated with the rise in the
level of crime rates (Kuhar, 2012). Community based programs should be introduced to help
reforming members of the society. When an addict who wants to reform is identified in the
society, the action should be taken to incorporate the family members in the recovery process. It
is also paramount to educate the reformed addicts on the importance of avoiding peer pressure
(Tannenbaum, 2008). This will help the process of reformation and lower the chances of
repeating the abuse of drugs. Those in the early stages of abusing drugs should be enlightened on
the dangers of drug addiction to their brains.

To boost the production of enough dopamine chemical it necessary to eat the correct diet
mainly plant sources of diet. Although scientists have not shown any clear relationship between
the diet and the condition of the Parkinson disease, it is important to eat healthy. Diet with lots of
vitamins B, C, and E should be encouraged to the addicts (Tannenbaum, 2008). To avoid cases
of dementia, one is supposed to avoid alcohol as it erodes the brain cells charged with
manufacturing of dopamine. Alcohol is a known source of brain jam sessions; it blocks the
neurons pathways and releases artificial illusions and pleasures. This causes the drug addict to
experience moments of self-satisfaction.
The starting point of drug treatment is the acceptance by the drug addict. After an
individual person accepts his problem, the next process involves joining a reformation program.
The drug addict should be conditioned to a therapy meant to reform him (Kuhar, 2012).
A study by Patricia Owen, PhD, director of Butler center for research at Hazelden, show
that there is no biological inclination in an addict. It is, therefore crucial to encourage a
reinforced treatment program to an addict. An explanation to the concept is shown by the new
behaviors depicted by a reforming drug addict (Tannenbaum, 2008). The brain normally registers
the new ways of life especially the changing source of pleasure after discontinuation from drug
usage. For a proper treatment program to be achieved, it is paramount to understand the
biological and behavioral linkage with addiction.
It is, therefore, essential to discuss the brain chemistry involved in addiction in an in-
depth way, and also expound on the effects of addiction to the functioning of the brain and its
anatomy. Brain anatomy is comprised of two chemical components; the dopamine and serotonin.
These two components are responsible for the various pleasures in the life of a person. The two

elements are commonly known as neurotransmitters. They have the function of receiving the sent
signals and completing the communication circuit in the brain cells. In a natural setting, the two
elements affect the basics of life such as craving for adventure and involvement in various sports.
In the study of molecular pharmacology, it is evident that drugs affect several components of the
brain. Drugs also alter the normal functionality of the brain cells through production of artificial
pleasure (Kuhar, 2012). Behavioral changes in the life of an addict can better be explained
through the study of the reward system of the brain circuit. Studies have shown that acute
addiction leads to no additional pleasure, but it is associated with sealing the gap of reduced
dopamine production. It is, therefore, clear as to why an individual will continue to abuse drugs
for long a period to obtain the pleasure produced by the drug elements.


Kuhar, M. J. (2012). The addicted brain: Why we abuse drugs, alcohol, and nicotine.
Upper Saddle River, N.J: FT Press.
Tannenbaum, L. (2008). The addiction conspiracy: Unlocking brain chemistry and
addiction so you don't have to struggle. Bloomington: Author House.