Reward Deficiency Syndrome and Addiction

Reward Deficiency Syndrome and Addiction

Reward deficiency syndrome (RDS) includes the following disorders:

  • Addictive behaviors
  • Alcoholism
  • Compulsive disorders
  • Abusing multiple substances
  • Obesity
  • Impulsive disorders
  • ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
  • Personality disorders
  • Conduct disorders
  • Antisocial personality
  • Aggressive behavior
  • Pathological gambling

RDS is associated with the release and utilization of dopamine, which manages the ability to feel pleasure and handle stress. Without dopamine, people feel anxious, stressed, hypersensitive, irritable, nervous and mood swings.

Causes of RDS

Medical professionals do not know the exact causes of RDS, but they consider the following problems when diagnosing it:

  • A family history of alcoholism, other addictions or attention deficient disorder
  • Genetic alterations that cause the inability to produce dopamine
  • A defect in the D2A1 allele, a dopamine receptor gene
  • Insufficient number of dopamine receptors in the brains
  • Prolonged periods of stress
  • Excessive alcohol or substances use

Unfortunately, while the causes may be unclear, the outcome is often terrible.

Reactions to RDS

People with RDS often self-medicate their symptoms with substances to raise the level of dopamine and to feel good. While this is a temporary response to RDS, it does permit people to function better and suffer less agitation and emotional pain. People with this disorder often abuse alcohol, nicotine, other stimulants, illicit drugs, or thrill-seeking behaviors such as gambling and sex. These solutions provide only temporary relief and cause harmful consequences.

Treatment for RDS and Addiction

When people suffer with a mental health issue and addiction, they need Dual Diagnosis treatment. While detox is often the first step for an addict, a person with these issues needs medically supervised detox. Afterwards, she will need integrated treatment for a variety of therapies, like Cognitive Behavior Therapy and eye movement desensitization reprocessing. People with these problems must learn to manage their mental health issues without medication, because they may become addicted.

Recognizing that each person’s recovery is different, the psychiatric team and medical physicians work together to develop a customized plan to suit the addict. Another reason that someone with these problems should consider this integrated treatment approach is that it provides psychiatric treatment and aftercare to help prevent relapse.

Help for Reward Deficiency Syndrome and Addiction

There is a strong relationship between reward deficiency syndrome and substance abuse, so seek help to explore these questions and others concerning integrated treatment. You may have further questions about insurance coverage and treatment modalities, so call our toll-free helpline today for instant help. We are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have, so reach out now to begin your recovery.