Drug addiction

The main components of pharmacology in substance use disorders include understanding how the methods of administration and routes of absorption affect the high in individuals. There is undeniably a chemical side to addiction. If a person consumes a substance, it can have an effect on the brain (Clinton, 2009). Pharmacology is simply the study of how the body reacts to medicines and how those medicines affect the body (National Institute of Health [NIH], 2011). Methods of Administration One component of pharmacology is to classify drugs through methods of administration.

Stimulants, depressants and hallucinogens can enter the body through three primary methods of administration, which are oral, inhalation or injection (NIH, 2011). Orally taken drugs mostly enter the body in the form of tablets, capsules or liquids. Thus, pills or alcohol have slower response time than non-enteral methods because of variables like absorption and distribution (Doweiko, 2015). Drugs such as nicotine and marijuana are administered through inhalation. Inhalation delivers the tobacco product to the brain within eight seconds and causes almost immediate changes in the brain and body (Clinton & Scalise, 2013).

Parenteral method of drug administration involves injecting a compound directly into the body through subcutaneous, intra- muscular, or intravenous methods (Doweiko, 2015). Injecting drugs like heroin into a vein increase its addictive potential because it enters the brain within seconds, producing a powerful rush of pleasure (Volkow, 2010). Each method of administration affects the absorption and high. Absorption The routes of absorption are another component of pharmacology that varies depending on method of administration.

A substance must first be absorbed into the body to obtain any effect (Doweiko, 2015). The goal is to reach the bloodstream, which is the circulatory system. All drug molecules must pass through cells walls into blood vessels to reach the circulatory system (Doweiko, 2015). Here, a drug faces its biggest hurdle through the process of absorption. For instance, drugs administered orally must be processed through the liver before they are 1 COMPONENTS OF PHARMACOLOGY absorbed into the bloodstream (NIH, 2011). This process slows absorption. Other forms of drug administration bypass the liver, entering the blood directly.

Therefore, drugs entering through inhalation and injection are quicker than oral absorption, thus giving a more intense and rapid high (Doweiko, 2015). Consequently, substances that give the user a powerful rush can be more addictive (Volkow, 2010). Affects on High The manner in which drugs are administered and absorbed can also affect the high through intensity, speed of effect and distribution (Doweiko, 2015).

Each person may respond differently to a drug depending on foods they eat, genetic makeup and medicine combinations (NIH, 2011). For instance, some drug molecules are absorbed faster on an empty stomach while others absorb better after a meal (Doweiko, 2015).

So, food can even factor into the affect a chemical has on a high. One reason is food has a direct affect on brain functioning. Moreover, chemicals in the body like medications can block good effects from a substance and bad effects from withdrawal symptoms (Clinton, 2009). Additionally, an individual’s genes can affect the response the body has to certain medicines. Each human genetic code is made up of proteins that respond when metabolizing, causing different chemical reactions in the body (NIH, 2011). Therefore the body has its own chemical makeup that can affect the high through these variables.


Some of the basic pharmacology concepts are the different methods by which substances are administered, absorbed, and affect the body. Therefore, the components of pharmacology are important in understanding addiction. Despite the altering affects of drugs, the brain is elastic, and with that there is a great message of hope that anyone can overcome any addiction (Clinton, 2009). 2 COMPONENTS OF PHARMACOLOGY References Clinton, T. (Producer). (2009). Presentation: Models of addiction [Video file].

Available from www. AACC. net Clinton, T. , & Scalise, E. (2013). The Quick-reference guide to addictions and recovery counseling: 40 topics, spiritual insights, and easy-to-use action steps. Grand Rapids. MI: Baker Books. 3 COMPONENTS OF PHARMACOLOGY Doweiko, H. E. (2015). Concepts of chemical dependency. Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning. National Institute of Health. (2011). Chapter 1: ABCs of pharmacology.

NIH, National Institute of General Medical Science. Retrieved from http://publications. nigms. nih. gov/medbydesign/chapter1. html Volkow, N. D. (2010). Drugs, brains, and behavior—the science of addiction. National Institute on Drug Addiction. Retrieved from http://www. drugabuse. gov/sites/default/files/sciofaddiction. pdf 4.

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