About the profession
Narcology (from Ancient Greek, νάρκη /narkē/ – “numbness, sleep” and λόγος – “study”) is a field of medicine that studies manifestations of chronic alcoholism, drug addiction and substance abuse and develops methods for their prevention and treatment.
The problem of drug addiction, alcoholism and substance abuse is acute among the population. It is considered even an illness and, therefore, a separate science, which is called narcology, should know how to treat this illness and its consequences.
These illnesses are generally called an addiction syndrome, when a person cannot give up using psychotropic substances at the psychological and physical level. Under their action, an addicted person feels better than usual, but does not suspect what is happening inside the organism at this moment. All drugs and alcoholic beverages, regardless of their natural or artificial origin, adversely affect the body. They have a destructive effect on the nervous system and the psychoemotional state. Hazardous ingredients that make up the consumed substances are absorbed into the blood, spread through all systems of organs, in particular to the brain, and poison them.
Narcology uses different methods of influencing an addicted patient, but all of them are based on psychiatry, since the described science originated from this field of medicine.
The field of medicine – narcology – is very young. Naturally, people knew about psychoactive substances earlier, but in ancient Russia they deal only with alcohol. In the middle of the 17th century, when the number of drunkards increased, a decree was issued on the sale of the permitted dose of alcohol per person, which amounted to only four small glasses a week. The ban was lifted to fill up the emptied public treasury and alcohol could be consumed in unlimited quantities. Peter the First fought with alcoholism, but it did not look like a cure, but as a punishment, during which alcohol addicts were beaten.
At the beginning of the 18th century, opium began to spread, that is why in China an edict banning this substance was adopted.
Since that time and for another couple of centuries, scientists actively accumulated, systematized and generalized knowledge of the effect of psychotropic substances on a person and the further addiction they caused. Later psychiatry focused on these issues and found that this problem was psychologically conditioned. This continued until the 1970-ies, after which narcology separated and began to form independently.
This is due to the fact that until that time strong medicines were used as drugs, but when the Soviet Union began to dissolve, its borders were opened and the drug business began to rapidly flourish.
Despite this "youth" of the science, specialists of this field managed to select and activate different methods, psychological approaches and some medicines that prove effective against various addictions.
The range of knowledge of narcology includes the study of the conditions under which a person develops an addiction, the understanding of the mechanisms of its formation, as well as toxic effects caused by psychoactive substances. On this basis, narcologists managed to develop diagnostic methods, adequate methods of therapy and prevention.
The main subject matter of narcology is illnesses caused by the use of alcohol or drugs, which, in turn, causes the loss of self-control. Narcologists deals with the treatment of their consequences, often expressed in the toxic damage of internal organs (in most cases – heart, liver and brain), as well as the elimination of the physical need of a patient in the subject of his/her addiction. No psychiatrist can guarantee the elimination of psychological cravings for drugs. However, the use of some psychological techniques can be useful for a small percentage of addicts.
Another important area of research in narcology is the manifestation, etiology and pathogenesis of such illnesses.
- Psychiatry in narcology
- General psychopathology
- Neurological disorders in narcology
Students of the field of study 31.06.01 “Clinical medicine”, specialization “Narcology” (higher education – training of highly qualified personnel) undertake a scientific research internship in 1-6 semesters.
Forms of holding the scientific research internship
The scientific research internship undertaken by students of the field of study 31.06.01 “Clinical medicine”, specialization “Narcology” (higher education – training of highly qualified personnel) is held in the Institute of Medicine of the Peoples' Friendship University of Russia, in Mental Hospital No.14 in Moscow.
Students of the field of study 31.06.01 “Clinical medicine”, specialization “Narcology” (higher education – training of highly qualified personnel) undertake a teaching internship in 3rd – 4th semesters. The teaching internship is most closely interrelated with the study of the disciplines – narcology (knowledge, skills and abilities gained in the study of this subject are necessary for the competent development of the content of training sessions) and teaching methods (consolidation of knowledge, skills and abilities of methodical development and analysis of the basic forms of training sessions and extracurricular activities, explaining, testing and control of knowledge, organizing the educational work with students, developing and improving the curriculum of training courses on narcology).
The teaching internship undertaken by the students of the field of study 31.06.01 “Clinical medicine”, specialization “Narcology” (higher education – training of highly qualified personnel) is held in the Institute of Medicine of RUDN University.
The internship curriculum includes the preparation and conduct of laboratory classes on the discipline “Narcology” for the students of the fields of study “Medical care” and “Dentistry” during the 4th-5th years of study, mutual attendance of classes and participation in their discussion, as well as the organization of the educational work with students.
In addition to the obvious advantages of obtaining a scientific degree, postgraduate studies in this specialty solve the following tasks:
- Based on all available knowledge of drug addiction and alcoholism, as well as other addictions, to be competent in choosing the most rational methods for their treatment and prevention;
- to assess the chance of remission;
- to predict recovery;
- to analyze the dynamics of the spread of narcotic diseases;
- to develop and organize drug treatment among the affected population.