Substance Abuse Disorder and Mental Illness
The expression “chasing the dragon” refers to the positive reinforcement act of continual craving and seeking for the initial euphoric state especially among opiate or heroin users. The act of chasing begins after the user experiences the high for the first time and seeks to attain the same bliss and pleasure as the original feeling. However, an increased quantity of heroin is required by the user in the subsequent times in a conditioned effort to achieve it once more. Opiates strongly affect the brain’s reward system by stimulating the pleasure-sensing site in the nucleus accumbens CITATION Yan08 l 1033 (Yanes-Hoffman, 2008). The initial feeling becomes forever elusive as the user is building a tolerance after every use since the brain cells are now less receptive to opioid stimulus. The recurrent use of opiates prompts changes in neuropeptide and neurotransmitter systems that control stress-receptiveness and incentive, as a result, causes loss of control and encourages compulsive use CITATION Vri02 l 1033 (Vries & Shippenberg, 2002). Henceforth addiction develops as the body functions become extremely dependent on opiate use due to the recurrent pursuit of the elusive initial feeling.
The high prevalence of comorbidity between psychological and substance use disorders fosters multiple barriers in diagnosing and treating either of them. Establishing a prognosis of either…
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