Chemical addictions result from a complex interaction among biological, psychological, and social variables. Recovery requires a broad spectrum of treatments applied to each of these levels. This complexity creates a unique challenge for researchers because no single branch of science is capable of describing all aspects of addiction. While the biological sciences are necessary to describe the complex neurological and neurochemical symptoms, the psychological sciences are needed to describe the patterns of cognition, affective responses, and behaviors that shape and maintain the addictive process. At the same time, the social sciences are necessary to understand the social dysfunction caused by the progressive biological and psychological symptoms.

The picture is complicated by the fact that people get addicted to many different kinds of drugs, ranging from stimulants to depressants, from pain killers to hallucinogens. Each type of drug creates different biological damage and different psychological effects. Yet there seems to be...

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