Addiction-Individual Differences

Individual Differences
In Addiction

Dawn Norman
California Southern University
April 26, 2011


Drug addiction is a complex disease of the brain.   There are many neurological
factors that are involved in this disease.   In order to understand the individual
differences that can influence one’s propensity for this disease, I will first define
the disease and will provide physiological factors that come into play.   Then I will
analyze information from recent scientific experiments and data to determine
how individual differences affect one’s predisposition for addiction.

What exactly is addiction?   It is certainly not a new disease, but there has
been much research done recently, which has changed the way this disease is
viewed and has greatly improved treatment and recovery for those who suffer
from it.   How do individual differences affect the incidence of addiction?   I plan to
present the most current information available to satisfy the answer to this
The best definition I have found for addiction is, “the uncontrollable
compulsive drug craving, seeking, and use, even in the face of negative health
and social consequences” (Murray, n.d., para. 1).   Another definition is “a
progressive debilitating and potentially fatal brain disease” (Stone, 2010, para.1).  
Addiction should be viewed as a recognized brain disease, which is expressed
in the form of compulsive behavior (Murray, n.d.).   It is chronic,
recurring, and fatal.   Many people believe addiction is a character
weakness.   Research contradicts this erroneous belief. There is no cure
for addiction, but recovery is certainly possible.
What happens in the brain of an addict?   Long term use of drugs changes
the structure and the function of the brain in basic and also long acting
ways that often persist after the individual stops using them. When a drug , such
as cocaine, enters the...