Is Addiction a Brain Disease?
The “disease model”, which emerged from the discovery of germs over a century ago, is the basis for our modern concept of disease as – a physical, cellular defect or lesion in a bodily organ or organ system that leads to the expression of signs and symptoms in the patient.
The organ involved in addiction is the limbic brain, the center of emotions. The defect is a stress-induced/genetically predisposed dysfunction of the dopamine system (specifically a hedonic dysfunction – a broken “pleasure sense”). The symptoms of greatest importance are 1) loss of control, 2) craving, and 3) persistent drug use despite negative consequences. For this reason, addiction meets the standard definition of disease as well as does heart disease and diabetes.
What is Recovery?
Recovery from alcohol and drug problems is a process of change through which an individual achieves abstinence and improved health, wellness and quality of life.
What is Buprenorphine?
Buprenorphine hydrochloride is a semi-synthetic opioid that was first marketed in the 1980s by Reckitt & Colman (now Reckitt Benckiser) as an analgesic called Temgesic (0.2 mg sublingual tablet), and as Buprenex (0.3 mg/ml injectable formulation). In October 2002, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a sublingual pill preparation of buprenorphine under the names of Suboxone and Subutex. These preparations were specifically indicated for detoxification and long-term replacement therapy in opioid dependency.
Buprenorphine is a long-acting partial mu opiate agonist that acts on the receptor targets of heroin and morphine, but does not produce the same intense “high” or dangerous side effects. These properties also make it a good potential treatment for addiction to opiate analgesics.