Drug addiction as drive satisfaction (?antidrive?) dysfunction
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Drug addiction is a complex brain disorder, characterized by the loss of control over drug seeking and drug taking behavior, and by the risk of relapse, even after a prolonged period of abstinence. This disorder may have its source in a disturbed balance of drive-related behaviors, which control appetitive reactions aimed at seeking contact with an addictive substance. The act of consumption becomes more and more attractive, and the behavior takes on compulsive character. We suppose that drug addiction may involve a change in the mechanism of satisfaction of drives and states of satiation as well. To understand how the motivational processes are changed with the development of dependence, one must consider the mechanism of drive satisfaction and satiation states that occur in relation to the consumatory reflex. When a given drive is satisfied a state of fulfilment occurs. This state may be a result of a so-called ?antidrive? mechanism (Konorski 1967). While a drive activity is characterized by general activation and tension, the drive satisfaction state (?antidrive?) is characterized by relaxation and relief. When a particular drive is satisfied, the operation of other drives become possible. Therefore, we postulate that dysfunction of drive satisfaction leads to the sustained activation related to the current drug-related drive, which blocks the operation of other drives. In effect, uncontrolled compulsive appetitive behavior is released, and the operation of other drives is restrained, thus forcing the organism to focus on drug-related drive. The reason for an ?antidrive? dysfunction may be related to adaptive changes which develop during a contact with an addictive substance.
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W. Kostkowski, Department of Pharmacology and Physiology of the Nervous System, Institute of Psychiatry and Neurology, 9 Sobieskiego St., 02-957 Warszawa, Poland