That the endogenous opioid system is likely to be involved in the clinical syndrome of opiate addiction is self-evident. Yet research efforts over more than 15 years have failed to find a clear link between addiction and endogenous opioids. The complexity of the opioid system and the difficulty in measuring its level of activity have made studies in human subjects difficult to perform and to interpret. Another important barrier has been the variability of the clinical syndrome of addiction. This variability hinders the gathering of a group of homogeneous patients for the purpose of measuring biological correlates of addiction. Of course, addiction is not simply a biological phenomenon. It is a complex of bio-psycho-social factors influenced strongly by environmental variables and previous experiences.
KeywordsCortisol Morphine Cocaine Diazepam Constipation
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