Addiction is the regular repetition of habitual deeds that a person is incapable or reluctant to discontinue despite their harmful consequences. In this case, it could be said that individuals consciously decide to hurt themselves since they are quite aware of the disastrous effects their addictions can cause. Individuals can be physically addicted to a drug, meaning they may be in poor health if they stop using the drug as in the case of prescription drugs.
They also can be psychologically addicted to drugs or other behaviors, meaning they feel overwhelmingly depressed if they try to stop. Neurotransmitters are chemical substances made by neurons or nerve cells. Neurons send out neurotransmitters as chemical signals to activate or inhibit the function of neighboring cells. Within the central nervous system, neurotransmitters pass from neuron to neuron. In the peripheral nervous system, the chemical signals pass between a neuron and an adjacent muscle or gland cell (Wurtman).
Addiction to several drugs increases the activities in particular neurotransmitter systems. These types of drugs are called Agonists. However, addiction to some other drugs reduces neurotransmitter activity and these types of drugs are called Antagonists. Agonists increase the synthesis of one or more neurotransmitters, consequently reducing its reuptake from the synapses. Antagonists interfere with synthesis, hence blocking postsynaptic receptors so that neurotransmitters cannot bind to them.
It is clear that addiction to drugs and similar addictive substances influence the behavior of neurotransmitters. Addiction to cigarettes for instance, destroys an important brain enzyme known as Monoamine Oxidase B (MAO B). This enzyme is essential for breaking down excess amounts of a neurotransmitter called Dopamine which triggers pleasure-seeking behavior (“Smoking”). Due to the destruction of the enzyme (MAO B), the function of breaking down the excess amount of the neurotransmitter (dopamine) can not be effectively carried out.
As a result, an abnormally high amount of dopamine is observed and more pleasure is derived from smoking cigarette. This explains people’s obsession with smoking as they tend to derive more pleasure from the habit each time they attempt to smoke and they always feel they have not gotten enough. Moreover, when the right amounts of neurotransmitters are in the system, people enjoy sound sleep and comfort. Basically, every drug makes use of the dopamine pathway in a different way and recruits other brain chemicals (including other neurotransmitters) to help.
What follows is a selective and much simplified account of some consequences of the nauseatingly complicated process of addiction (Powledge, 513-515). In general, various forms of addictions exist and some are regarded as rather unusual. Understanding what effect addiction has on the human anatomy will be indeed helpful in controlling and possibly putting an end to the addiction. Neurotransmitters are responsible for certain behaviors in human and may be increased or reduced by addiction to various substances or habits.
Thus, an imbalance in the level of neurotransmitters arises and an individual persists in his habit until the balance is attained. ? Works cited Powledge, Tabitha M. “Addiction and the Brain. ” American Institute of Biological Sciences 49. 7 (July 1999): 513-519. 15 February 2009. <http://www. jstor. org/stable/1313471> “Smoking. ” Microsoft Student 2008. DVD. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2007. Wurtman, Richard J. “Neurotransmitter. ” Microsoft Student 2008. DVD. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2007.