Alcohol, Caffeine, & Opioids: What Happens When You're Hooked?

Withdrawal is a painful experience when someone stops taking a drug. What makes its symptoms so awful?

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Key Trigger Of Opioid Withdrawal Symptoms Found (Science Daily)
"Researchers have discovered an important chemical in the brain's neuronal machinery that triggers some of the withdrawal symptoms of opioid drugs like morphine and heroin. They believe that drugs to inhibit the chemical--called a transporter--could relieve some of the early physical symptoms of withdrawal, such as teeth-chattering, uncontrolled shaking, and jumpiness."

Brain Changes in an Addict Make It Hard to Resist Heroin and Similar Drugs (The Washington Post)
"There is a wad of nerve cells in the central part of your brain, measuring about half an inch across, called the nucleus accumbens. When you eat a doughnut, have sex or do something else that your brain associates with survival and breeding, this region is inundated with dopamine, a neurotransmitter."

The Neurobiology of Opioid Dependence: Implications for Treatment (US National Library Of Medicine)
"While the individual patient, rather than his or her disease, is the appropriate focus of treatment for opioid abuse, an understanding of the neurobiology of dependence and addiction can be invaluable to the clinician. It can provide insight about patient behaviors and problems, help define realistic expectations, and clarify the rationales for treatment methods and goals."