i.e. Self-Medicating Dis-ease

Addiction is a biological, long-lasting and complex dis-ease.

Substances may include alcohol and/or drugs, and behaviour such as gambling, sex and lust, food, and sugar.

We can be hooked to anything that has the power to change our state of mind and our moods. Addiction is not just simply a matter of bad choice or moral misconduct. Our brain changes when the reward pathway gets activated repeatedly by ingesting a pleasurable substance or behavior.

National Institute of Drug Abuse under the National Institute of Health in US have conducted animal rodent studies to destigmatize how we view addictions today. The glutamatergic pathway and the dopamine system have been identified to be the circuitry responsible for the baffling addiction disease.

Long-term abstinence remains a challenge in most treatment facilities.

Recovery from repetitive long-term self-medicating behaviour need a lot of support on abstinence to allow the brain to function less disruptively and destructively.

What is promising today for treatment is understanding of the limbic region which consists of the amygdala, hypothalamus, and the hippocampus. The hippocampus involves the memory, mood, and spatial learning, and that has been found to mediate and influence the reward pathway.

The hippocampal circuitry is central in the process and memory of addiction and its treatment. Novel approaches, therapy techniques and treatment modalities that encompass mood regulation and memory processing can lead to new strategies for addiction treatment and management.

Have you or your loved one been experiencing some of these following signs?


  • Problems with sleep and/or insomniaMemory issues especially short-term memory
  • Mood swings (emotional flare-ups, irritability, defensiveness)
  • Rapid increases or changes in the amount of medication used
  • Erratic, odd, or unusual behaviour such as extreme anhedonia (disinterested in things they use to enjoy) or over-excitability, unexplainable elevation of moods, and hiding behaviour.
  • “Doctor shopping” (moving from clinic to clinic to get several prescriptions for the same medication)
    Forging prescriptions
  • Constant or increasing cravings for a certain substance and behaviour
  • Substance withdrawals – delirium tremens, shaking, unexplained major bodily discomforts such as vomiting, appetite loss, and anxiety.

Speak to a health care provider or therapist today. Say yes to Recovery.


Biological Research on AddictionComprehensive Addictive Behaviours and Disorders, Volume 2. Book • 2013. Edited by: Peter M. Miller

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