Understanding the Biological Model of Addiction: What You Need to Know

Understanding the Biological Model of Addiction What You Need to Know

Everyone is familiar with the idea of addiction, but the Biological Model of Addiction offers a unique and in-depth perspective on this complex phenomenon. It is a comprehensive and detailed explanation of how addiction develops and affects the individual, their brain, and the surrounding environment. It can be an invaluable tool in understanding addiction and the effects it can have on an individual’s life. This article will provide an overview of the biological model of addiction, looking at the key elements and how they interact to create an addictive cycle. It will also discuss the implications of this model for the treatment and prevention of addiction. By the end, you will have a better understanding of the science behind addiction and how you can use this knowledge to help yourself and others.

What is the Biological Model of Addiction?

The biological model of addiction is a theory that explains the biological changes that occur within the brain as a result of substance use. It explains how these changes create a compulsion to continue using substances, regardless of the consequences. And how they make it hard for people to quit. The biological model of addiction is used to explain why some people become addicted to certain substances, while others use the same substances but do not become addicted. This model demonstrates how addiction is seen as a disease that impacts each individual differently. It’s based on an understanding of how drugs work in the brain, along with an awareness of the genetic and environmental factors that affect each individual’s experience with addiction.

Key Elements of the Biological Model of Addiction

One of the core concepts within the biological model of addiction is the reinforcing effects of substance use. This is the idea that the biological effects of a substance cause a person to experience a positive sensation. And in turn, it makes them want to repeat the experience. There are two ways to experience the reinforcing properties of substance use. 

The first is when a person begins using a substance but does not yet have an addiction. At this stage, the substance is reinforcing because it gives the individual a pleasurable sensation. This makes it highly likely they will continue using the substance, and so it can lead to addiction. 

The second way this works is when an individual already has an addiction. Consequently, the use of the substance becomes the only way they feel normal in their everyday life. The substance then reinforces addiction because it helps the individual escape the symptoms of withdrawal.

Changes That Occur in the Brain During Addiction 

Another core concept of the biological model of addiction is the key changes that occur in the brain during addiction. These changes occur as a direct result of the substance use. They can remain long after the individual has stopped using the substance. The brain changes that occur as a result of substance use boil down into three categories: the reward pathway, the frontal cortex, and the hippocampus

  • The reward pathway refers to the changes that occur in the part of the brain that controls feelings of pleasure. For example, the release of dopamine when someone experiences joy or excitement. 
  • The frontal cortex is the part of the brain responsible for executive functioning, such as decision-making, self-awareness, and social behavior. 
  • The hippocampus is the area of the brain responsible for the formation and retention of memories.

Recovery With Nova

At Nova Recovery Center, Houston we provide our patients with a very comfortable detox process, where medical professionals provide monitoring and care around the clock. You will be provided with all the medications you need to combat the withdrawal symptoms. You will then be enrolled in the in-patient recovery program where you’ll learn to stay away from drugs, through counseling, group therapy, and so on.

Nova Recovery Center commits to helping you overcome your addiction so you can get back to what is most important to you. If you or someone you know are struggling with addiction, Nova Recovery Center can provide support. We have locations in Austin, Houston, and Wimberley Texas. Call today to begin your journey in recovery at (888) 428-1501.

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