Behavioral HealthCOMMENTARY

Conceptualizing Addiction From an Osteopathic Perspective: Dopamine Homeostasis

Dave Baron, MSEd, DO; Kenneth Blum, PhD; Anthony Chen, BS; Mark Gold, MD; and Rajendra D. Badgaiyan, MD
Notes and Affiliations
Notes and Affiliations

Accepted: August 25, 2017

Published: February 1, 2018

J Osteopath Med; 118(2): 115-118

Addiction is a public health crisis in the United States. Understanding the cause and providing effective treatment for patients—in particular, those with substance use disorders—is challenging. Research has demonstrated that addiction is not a flaw in one’s moral fiber or a disease of choice; rather, it is driven by alterations in neuronal mechanisms, especially those that involve the neurotransmitter dopamine, which plays a critical role in the brain’s reward pathway. Much of osteopathic philosophy is based on the concept of total body homeostasis and allostasis. This article discusses the role of achieving dopamine homeostasis as part of a comprehensive biopsychosocial treatment strategy in the effective management of addiction. The authors aim to motivate osteopathic primary care physicians to incorporate osteopathic philosophy into the treatment of patients with substance use disorders.

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