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Drug and alcohol addiction and its complex components

Clark, Cheyla (2014) Drug and alcohol addiction and its complex components. Master Essay, University of Pittsburgh.

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Addiction is a chronic and progressive disease. It is incurable and has many cycles of relapse and recovery. Addiction disrupts the complex interactions of reward, memory, and motivation within the brain. Some of the consequences of addiction are the loss of years of life due to death or disability. The disease of addiction places a great burden on public health systems. Domestic violence and child abuse may also increase in families or relationships in which one or more individuals are struggling with substance abuse and/or addiction. Substance abuse may also lead to the development of many chronic diseases and mental illnesses, as well as increased risk of contracting incurable viruses such as Hepatitis C and HIV/AIDS. These consequences increase the financial burden on families and the healthcare system. Similar to the impact in the U.S., substance abuse world-wide also results in productivity loss and life-years, and an increased burden on healthcare. There are many risk factors for the development of addiction. These include gender, ethnicity, age, mental health disorders, environmental factors, stress, and abuse. Specifically, women progress through the stages of addiction more rapidly than men, most likely due to biological and social components that increase their susceptibility for the development of addiction. Furthermore, many individuals presenting with a drug addiction are also diagnosed with mental illnesses. These diagnoses may co-occur because of (1) the substance abuse induced mental illness or (2) prior mental illness prompted the substance abuse. Therefore, integrated treatment that addresses both substance abuse and mental health conditions may have better recovery outcomes for the individual. As an example, Sojourner House (a Pittsburgh based residential program for women in recovery) uses a combination of treatment levels to provide help to mothers and their children suffering through addiction. In addition to environmental risk factors, genetic factors may also increase an individual’s susceptibility to developing a drug or alcohol addiction. Personalized medicine could be added to these treatment plans to provide even more specialized care for individuals with substance abuse issues.


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Item Type: Other Thesis, Dissertation, or Long Paper (Master Essay)
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Clark, Cheyla
ContributionContributors NameEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairKammerer, Candacecmk3@pitt.eduCMK3UNSPECIFIED
Committee MemberElias, Thistleelias@pitt.eduELIASUNSPECIFIED
Date: 2014
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Publisher: University of Pittsburgh
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Graduate School of Public Health > Human Genetics
Degree: MPH - Master of Public Health
Thesis Type: Master Essay
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 14 Aug 2015 21:35
Last Modified: 30 Mar 2022 12:00


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