Home > All Posts > JAMA — A 50-Year-Old Woman Addicted to Heroin: Review of Treatment of Heroin Addiction, July 16, 2008, O’Brien 300 (3): 314

JAMA — A 50-Year-Old Woman Addicted to Heroin: Review of Treatment of Heroin Addiction, July 16, 2008, O’Brien 300 (3): 314

JAMA — A 50-Year-Old Woman Addicted to Heroin: Review of Treatment of Heroin Addiction, July 16, 2008, O’Brien 300 (3): 314.

Truly wonderful review of heroin addiction and methadone treatment.  ALSO, many great resources (look at bibliographical information at bottom of this report for links) and great opinions from the JOURNAL OF AMERICAN MEDICINE.  This article has great information for writing Letters to the Editor and when debating the use of medication in addiction with ANYONE.

My favorite quote, from the Author is:

When I was on the American Psychiatric Association DSM III-R [Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Third Edition Revised)] committee, the problem that we had when we were designing a diagnostic classification scheme was that we were trying to come up with a scheme that applied to all drugs of abuse. So that meant nicotine, alcohol, cocaine, heroin, and so forth. People who work primarily with alcoholics don’t like to use the word “addiction” regarding alcohol. But it absolutely fits. All of the drugs of abuse activate the reward system, but through different mechanisms. The reward activation produces learning, which results in long-term behavioral effects that increase the probability of relapse. The major problem with terminology is the tendency to stigmatize. However, as more public figures have admitted to addiction problems, we see that it can happen to anyone. I think it is better if addiction is dealt with as an illness instead of as something that implies bad character. Addiction is just another medical problem. I think the stigma is a holdover from the time when addiction was thought of as weakness of will or bad character or criminal activity. Addiction is a chronic disease of the brain with strong heredity components, and it ought to be approached as a medical illness.53

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