Drug Use Disorders: Lifespan Perspectives

Drug dependence can manifest any time between fetal development and old age, illustrating the importance of conceptualizing etiology and natural history of drug use disorder (DUD) within a lifespan framework. Repetitive exposure to illicit drugs and certain pharmaceuticals, as well as to other substances such as alcohol and tobacco, often leads to neuroadaptation (tolerance). Cessation of consumption disrupts substance-induced neuroadaptation, triggering the withdrawal syndrome. For example, infants whose mothers regularly consume opioids during pregnancy, whether prescribed or illicitly, evince the neonatal abstinence syndrome soon after birth. This neuropsychiatric disorder interferes with the infant-mother relationship, thereby placing the child at high risk for future psychological disturbance, predisposing the child to drug use and subsequently DUD. It is also noteworthy that children whose mothers smoke cigarettes during ...

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