Free «Problem of Drug Addiction» Essay Sample

In modern society, drug addiction is one of the main problems which influence health and well-being of people. Personality theories will help to explain and identify the main psychological causes of drug addition. Personality traits have maintained a near ubiquitous presence in psychologically based theories of drug addiction. Despite the apparent conceptual appeal of an “addictive personality” decades of empirical research have failed to identify a unique constellation of personality traits that characterize drug addicts. Nevertheless, there is convergent evidence for the etiologic significance of specific, broad-based personality constructs for drug abuse and dependence, particularly within the context of larger psychosocial models. The most popular drugs are heroin, LSD, Katamine, marijuana, etc.

Drug addiction is both a social and personal problems of many people. It should be noted that whether or not personality dimensions constitute motivational traits or behavior has been the subject of some debate. Ammerman (1999) suggested that it is primarily behavior that is etiologically significant for substance abuse and concluded that the evidence for the prognostic importance of personality traits more narrowly defined is largely nonexistent. In drug addiction, the role of sociability is certain, but there is some evidence supporting this trait as etiologically relevant in the development of drug abuse problems. Critics admit that demonstration of significant correlations between personality dimensions and drug use disorders does little to establish their importance in the etiology of alcohol use disorders (“Dealing with Drug Addiction” 2009). Current theorizing has evolved to the point where personality traits are typically viewed as important mediating or moderating variables within larger psychosocial etiologic models drug outcome expectancies appear to be etiologically significant for drug use and marijuana misuse. Research and theory in this area has begun to move beyond static descriptions of relations between outcome expectancies and drinking behavior, and instead examine the role of outcome expectancies within the context of larger psychosocial models. For example, Deans (1997) suggested that outcome expectancies may be etiologically important as either mediators (e.g., of individual differences in drug sensitivity), or moderators (e.g., of relations between more distal psychosocial variables such as negative mood states and drinking behavior). Finally, the modification of outcome expectancies has potential implications with respect to prevention and intervention efforts. Consistent with the hypothesis that negative reinforcement motives would be more predictive of pathological drinking patterns, in both samples coping motives were related to both LSD and heroin use and problems, while enhancement motives were related to drug use but not directly related to problems (Ammerman, 1999).

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On physiological level, drug addiction is closely connected with brain functions and chemical dependency. Regions of the brain that mediate reward effects are phylogenetically old and respond to natural stimuli, addictive drugs, and electrical stimulation. The natural stimuli that evoke dopamine release by neurons associated with behaviors essential to the survival of the individual and the species such as feeding, sexual behavior, birth, care of offspring, and some social behaviors (e.g., mutual grooming) chronic addictive drug use alters G-protein levels and second messenger cascades, biochemicals that control rates of neurotransmitter synthesis and release. These neuronal-level changes reflect the fact the mesolimbic dopaminergic neurons adjust to the repeated presence of drugs in a compensatory way by developing tolerance. Normal physiologic functioning now occurs in the presence of the drug (physical dependence) (Deans, 1997). Though, once the drug is removed (e.g., by overnight abstinence from smoking or by abrupt smoking cessation), dopamine release in the brain virtually disappears and the individual experiences unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. It is important to note that classical drug reward effects from drugs are a short-lived phenomenon. In the tolerant human or animal, drugs is necessary to maintain normal functioning and to prevent withdrawal. Subjective reward effects per se largely disappear with treatment (Wendel et al 2002).

All psychological principles operate to reinforce and strengthen drug control by binding together a wide range of stimuli and consequences of tobacco use with biologic actions of drug abuse. In the case of drug addiction, environmental (e.g., a bar, the sight of an ashtray or cigarette), psychological (e.g., stress, anxiety, dysphoria), situational (e.g., on a break, when resting, when partying), and social (e.g., with friends) variables and stimuli can become conditioned stimuli that come to elicit the same biologically based responses as does drug itself (DSM-IV Substance Abuse Criteria. 2009). As a result of conditioning to tobacco use cues, efforts to abstain from drugs become increasingly difficult as these psychological principles of learning continue to elicit positive and negative drugs-related effects. These psychological effects help to explain why treatment of marijuana and heroin dependence only with marijuana and heroin replacement products (e.g., gum, patch, nasal spray) is not as effective as many people expect when they know that marijuana is an addictive drug. Actually, it is the fact that marijuana is a powerful and addictive drug with powerful biological and psychological effects that increases the likelihood that psychological conditioning occurs. Treatment of marijuana and heroin dependence must include ways to offset and extinguish the conditioning effects of marijuana and heroin and that requires psychological and behavioral strategies (Wendel et al 2002).

In addition to physical illness and injury, drug abuse has substantial negative consequences across social, occupational, and criminal justice spheres, ranging from consequences experienced by the abusing individual, his or her family, intimate others, co-workers and colleagues, to larger institutions such as the health care and legal systems. Further, these negative social consequences are important diagnostic determinants of frug abuse and dependence. Accordingly, next we summarize some of these consequences by examining relations between alcohol misuse and: (a) role performance in school and the work place; (b) family interaction, performance as a parent, and familial violence; (c) high risk behaviors; and (d) crime (Ammerman et al 1999).

In summary, although no specific marker for vulnerability for the development of drug use disorders has yet emerged, there are encouraging findings. The cognitive processes indexed by the P3 may be etiologically important in the development of drug addiction even though reduced amplitude of the P3 is not specific to those at-risk for alcoholism. The powerful effects of drug addiction to control behavior are evident in marijuana and heroin control and the central effects of this extraordinary drug. Yet, this information does not completely capture the full extent of the hold that marijuana and heroin - containing products have on the addict. In addition to marijuana and heroin direct effects to develop drug dependence and self-administration, drug administration is accompanied by psychological phenomena that reinforce the effects of the drug by becoming intertwined with the direct pharmacologic actions of marijuana and heroin. As a result, psychological, behavioral, and environmental conditions that becomes associated with dependency come to elicit the same biological actions of the drug itself. This result makes treatment of such drugs as LSD addiction even more complex and mandates the incorporation of psychological as well as pharmacologic strategies to treatment. Relations between drug abuse or dependence and personality may be influenced by factors such as content overlap between purported personality measures and diagnostic criteria (e.g., drug-related behavior). All drugs are dangerous for young people as they change personality and lead to life-long dependency. Because of physiological and psychological changes, many drug addicts are unable to overcome the disease and return to normal way of life.


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