Drugs cause addiction by binding with specific receptors in the brain. These receptors are sensitive to the body's native set of endorphins and neuro-transmitters.
Drugs that are addictive bind to these receptors because their binding domains resemble the native ones.
The biological process by which all herbs, drugs and foods produce their effects is through receptor binding.
Receptor binding is the attachment of a ligand to a binding domain on a nerve cell.
The stimulation may originate elsewhere but all sensations are felt, perceived or otherwise understood, by the neuron exchanges that take place in the brain.
Specific areas control specific functions. One area of interest is the reward and gratification center.
Despite many distinct actions in the brain, all types of addictions converge in producing a common action, activation of the brain's reward circuitry.
The most important part of this circuitry is the mesolimbic dopamine system.
Compounds that result in bindings in this system are addictive. All addictions that lead to dopamine bindings in the Ventral Tegmental area of the brain are based on reward-related motivation.
These dopamine receptors respond to both hedonic stimulants as well as negative ones.
Eating chocolate and living through an earthquake both involve increased amounts of dopamine.
Proper binding is indicative of health. Excessive binding results in addiction.
Improper receptor binding is responsible for most diseases throughout the body. This is especially true when carbohydrates or fats are involved.
Addictions take place in the brain. It is a chronic process by which steady-state levels of a substance becomes incorporated into normal being.
Addiction requires the need for greater doses to achieve the same result or experience. This is termed tolerance.
Un-satisfaction, due to the absence of the drug, is dependence.
Tolerance and dependence are the classical signs of drug addiction.
Alcohol, cocaine, opioids, nicotine, chocolate, fat and sugar, exert their effect by binding with neuronal receptors. Once a receptor binds to its ligand, a signal is transmitted to the nerve cell's DNA enabling the synthesis of more such receptors.
These neurons instantaneously transmit their instructions and after a multitude of transmissions, the signal culminates in the production of dopamine.
The signals funnel into the mesolimic dopamine system which is the heart of the reward-gratification center of the brain. All controlled substances as well all addictive behavior owe their addictions to the ability to stimulate an increase in dopamine within this center.
The more dopamine formed, the stronger the reaction and more addictive the substance or behavior.
Binding of dopamine neurons promotes the sensation of pleasure, the hardest emotion to resist. It also registers all terrifying events as well.
1. Alcohol, barbiturates and tranquilizers bind with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) receptors in the brain.
These receptors are also stimulated by GHB and MDMA, the recreational drug known as Ecstasy.
The GABA circuitry in the brain is very complex.
2. Cocaine and amphetamines act at the synapses of catecholamine nerves.
The effects of these drugs is to prolong nerve transmissions. This provides the feeling of alertness and control that users of these drugs depend on.
3. Opiates bind with for enkephalin, endorphin and dynorphin receptors.
Activation of opioid receptors produces a feeling of well-being.
Drugs that activate opioid receptors include morphine, meperidine (Percodan), oxycodone (Oxycontin), codeine as well as heroin and Methadone.
4. Cannabinoids bind with cannabinoid or anandamide receptors.
Natural or endo-cannabinoid compounds are believed to bind to these same receptors.
The existence of a natural ligand has only recently been confirmed.
The active ingredient in the marijuana plant is the compound tetra-hydro-cannabinol (THC). This molecule bind with a receptor in the brain known as the anandamide or bliss receptor.
Cannabinoids also bind with appetite receptors thereby triggering the binge eating effects of marijuana.
This also explains why pot addicts eat more and gain weight when they quit the drug.
Opiates, those drugs that bind to opioid receptors, are used to treat physical pain. Pain initiated by cytokines and prostanoids is repressed when pain receptors are blocked or occupied.On this type of pain, opiates are very effective and the feeling it generates are very pleasant.
The use of opioid-based therapies to treat psychological pain is an unacceptable use of these drugs.
Opiates have a unique efficacy in reducing mental distress. This makes them an easy substance to become addicted to. Their efficacy in minimizing pain and the good feeling it instills is lost once addiction, habituation and tolerance sets in. These drugs are no longer an ally of health, they are its enemy. They make life hell.
For opiate addicts, the default-state of consciousness, is one of unpleasantness. Once they have become addicted to the drug, their mind waits for relief. By inflicting an unpleasant state by its absence, opioids have made themselves needed. Addiction to opioids changes the unpleasantness of life and makes it more tolerable
The FDA approves the use of opioids because of their unrivaled efficacy in dulling physical pain.
Opiates are Schedule II drugs, meaning strong potential for abuse and very controlled.
Outside of prescriptions, the use of these drugs is a felony.
Millions of Americans receive prescriptions or are self-medicated with opiates. These are dangerous drugs.
But instead of educating people on their dangers, our government has decided to criminalize the victims of abuse.
The zeal used to enforce our drug laws should be re-directed to eliminating the addictive foods that cause illness.
Healthy foods should replace the unhealthy, addictive ones the FDA now permits.