As you discuss screening for unhealthy behaviors this week, I wanted to share with you.
I recently had a conversation with an MD who insists that any use of a substance is a “choice”. I hear this often and it is discouraging for me caring for so many people with addictions over the years, and having a son who was addicted and eventually passed due to an OD. As addiction progresses it no longer is pleasurable and becomes required for daily existence. Many do not understand the pleasure response and brain changes that do occur as a result of the repeated surges of pleasure chemicals from the drug (any substance, gambling, sex, etc) which disrupts normal pathways and creates brain chemistry changes.
Here is an excerpt from an interesting article that really explains what occurs. I encourage you to read the entire article when you have time.
Addiction as a Disease
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In recent decades, researchers began to label addiction as a disease rather than a behavioral choice. This decision stems primarily from how addiction affects the brain by changing it, progressively forcing an individual to crave the drug until use eventually becomes an unconscious act rather than a conscious choice.
When a person begins abusing a substance or regularly uses prescription drugs for too long, their body will begin to adapt itself to account for its presence in order to maintain homeostasis, or balance. Over time, this leads to what is known as tolerance
Links to an external site., which is when the body has adjusted itself enough that the individual will need to take more of their chosen drug in order to experience the same effects. This encourages them to further abuse the drug, and as this is happening, the individual’s brain will also be rewiring itself to desire more.
Eventually this leads to the development of dependence, which means that their body has been altered so much that it loses the ability to function normally without their chosen substance. If use stops, they will experience a series of painful side effects known as withdrawal until either their body returns to its normal state without drugs, or when they use again. The first option may take several days or weeks to accomplish, so many people opt for the latter as it is less painful. By choosing this option, the user becomes locked in a progressive cycle of addiction.
During this point, the part of the brain responsible for deciding to take the drug also shifts from the front of the brain to the back, which is the area in charge of regulating unconscious acts like breathing and blinking, as well as basic desires like hunger. As a result, drug abuse becomes fundamentally linked to their brain and is no longer a free choice.
When reviewing the goals of Healthy People 2020 (HP2020) on its website, it becomes apparent there are implications of the use of epidemiological data when designing policies and measuring success in achieving public health goals. Evaluate the following overarching HP2020 goals:
- Attain high-quality, longer lives free of preventable disease, disability, injury, and premature death.
- Achieve health equity, eliminate disparities, and improve the health of all groups.
- Create social and physical environments that promote good health for all.
- Promote quality of life, healthy development, and healthy behaviors across all life stages.
Discuss how epidemiological practices and methods have been used to explore and advance the progress toward achieving these goals. Justify your response with appropriate language from the HP2020 website. Use the keyword HP2020 to search the HP2020 website.
Justify your response using examples and reasoning. Comment on the postings of at least two classmates, explaining whether you agree or disagree with their views.
- Discussed how epidemiologic practices and methods have been used to explore and advance the progress toward achieving overarching HP2020 goals.
- Justified answers with appropriate research and reasoning by using examples and references from textbooks, the South University Online Library, and other acceptable ref
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