(a) A summary of the article
Article title: Drug Abuse and Addiction: Symptoms, Signs, and Help for Different Drug Problems
Today, many people are facing addiction problems. There is hope since these people can come out of their addictions regardless of how powerless they may be feeling. In order to get a better understanding of the problem and to deal with it, one needs to learn about the nature of addiction, its development processes, its characteristics, and why it is a powerful hold.
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Addiction is a very complex disorder that is characterized by compulsive use of drugs. The sufferers experience an overwhelming desire for alcohol or drugs even when faced with many negative consequences. It is a self-destructive behavior that is sometimes difficult to understand. However, the answer to understanding addiction lies in the analysis of how the brain functions. When used repeatedly, drugs alter the functioning of the brain. This causes long-term changes in both appearance and function of the brain. The changes in the brain interfere with one's ability to make clear decisions, control behavior and exercise good judgment. These changes bring about cravings for drugs as well as compulsive drug usage.
Addiction starts with a simple act of experimentation. Many people try out on drugs out of sheer curiosity, just because someone they know is using the same drugs, with the hope that they will erase a problem. The substances seem to bring about a good feeling, leading to continued use.
After some time, the drug starts to become an integral part of one's life. At this point, the ability to stop the habit is compromised. Something that starts as a voluntary choice develops into a physical as well as a psychological need. Fortunately, drug addiction is a treatable problem. All that is treatment and support and the disruptive impact of addiction will be counteracted so that you can regain complete control of your life.
(b) Critique on the article
The above article appears on www.helpguide.org, a website dedicated to offering information and support to people who suffer from addiction or those who would like to make a positive impact on this social problem. The main strength of the article is that the author refrains from making statements whose accuracy he cannot vouch for. The main reasons for doing this could be twofold: first, perhaps there was no enough space for the topic to be explored in great depth, considered that this is an article and not an academic form of writing. Secondly, the targeted readership may have been interested in only an overview of the topic rather a critical outlook and an in-depth analysis of facts, figures and scientific experiments. By maintaining a simplistic approach, the article ends up being a very interesting read.
The main weakness of this article is that no research was done. No experiments were carried out in order for the scale of the addiction problem to be properly analyzed from an objective point of view. For this reason, there is no representative. Additionally, there is no population, sample or research method such as replication, or double blind procedures as defined by Schafer, 2001. For this reasons, some of the claims made are not believable.
Whereas it is stated that the functioning of the brain is largely responsible for addiction, the source of this information is not indicated. This shows a poor research practice, contrary to suggestions made by Miller et al (2009) on proper research approaches. It may be hard for one to believe in this claim. Another claim made is that long-term usage of drugs brings about changes in not only the functioning of the brain but also its appearance. Since this is information is not general knowledge, one would expect that some form of attribution would be in order. Since no attribution is made, the reader may not believe in such claims until he conducts his own independent research for verification purposes.
In the article, it is indicated that the drug problem can easily be treated, yet no information is given on what treatments are needed or, at least, which approaches should be used in the treatments. Additionally, the information given in the article does not live up to the promise of the title. Based on the given title, the reader would expect to find information on symptoms of addictions, treatment methods for addiction patients, an overview of what substance abuse is and ways of helping people who are addicted to drugs. No such information has been given.
The article could have been appeared more credible if it provided basic statistics of the drug addiction problem without appearing to be too boringly analytical. Simple introductory facts similar to the ones that are often used by American Psychological Association on an issue such as the number of people who die of drug addiction in the country would have anchored the reader into reading on in order to understand the drug problem better.
c) Critique on the website
The author of the article is indicated. Additionally, the website gives the notification that its main goal is to offer information and support and not to supplement or take the place of professional advice. The article was reviewed for the last time in February, 2010. Information is also given on related links where one can get additional support advice relating to addiction problems.
The article appears authoritative for various reasons. First, the preferred domain name is .org. secondly; the credentials of the authors have been given. Melinda Smith, one of the contributors, holds an M.A. Another contributor is Joanna Saisan, MSW. Thirdly, different articles relating to the same issue seem to have been researched on more accurately prior to writing since the sources of the most relevant information have been given. Some of these sources include National Institute on Drug Abuse, Nemours Foundation, The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, Narconon International, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence of the San Fernando Valley, American Council for Drug Education, National Institute on Drug Abuse and The Partnership for a Drug-Free America. In other words, the website seems to be more oriented towards offering sources of information rather seeking this information and analyzing it on behalf of the reader. Towards this end, its authority becomes a bit dissipated.
Information has been presented with a satisfactory measure of objectivity for people who need nothing more than support on the issue of addiction. The website contains only one advertisement. The advertisement is on a training course that is aimed at teaching people on how to strengthen relationships, build self confidence, succeed at the workplace and overcome stress, depression and anxiety.
Generally, the information contained in the website is presented very objectively. There is not even a single attempt to use critical information on addiction in order to anchor the reader to a marketing arrangement that requires subscription or payments. Meanwhile, one can choose to sign up for the website's newsletter. On a positive note, failure to sign up for this newsletter does not deny the reader access to any information.
The ability to access any of the articles in this website is not limited to any unique browser technology, fees, or software requirements. All articles are in HTML format, which does not require such tools as PDF, Powerpoint presentations, Flashplayer, or any unique additional plug-ins.
The website contains no video-based information. Photos are used selectively but to maximum effect. Only major stories are accompanied with photos. For this reason, the website makes the best use of available space to maintain richness of relevant information to the readers while at the same time making the best use of multimedia tools to make the articles interesting to read.
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