Sunday, February 10, 2013

Reader: Chapter 15 Addiction

After reading Chapter 15 I realized that the brain can be a very powerful organ, it can reward you in many ways and it can be very dangerous in many ways. If you combine drugs and alcohol to the mix it can cause an individual to become a shell (what you use to be). According the reading a drug addict will spend 24 hours a day trying to find that drug of choice, in which they will forego eating, drinking, and bathing. In addition, according to (Everitt & Robbins, 2005), individuals will neglect family, friends, and work without any cognitive effort as to shelter, social groups, or how will they get their bills paid. Opiates (cocaine, heroin, and potent pain kills) can produce sensations of pleasure in the brain. One of the side effects of Cocaine is that it generates a strong sensation of pleasure during sex (from what I here), and that Heroin and Cocaine are very hard drug habits to break, most relapse in less than a year (this information is from the court channel). There are 2 core behavioral patterns that define addiction; intensification and reinstatement, in which are defined as chronic, relapsing disorder (Leshner, 1997; McLellan, 2000).

Many women who have a substance abuse will even neglect their children (seen with my own eyes), and some have even sold their daughters to the dope man as collateral or payment for drugs. I have many family members who have let drugs take control of their lives, such as, individuals who have gone in and out of prisons for years, because their drug use costs hundreds of dollars a day, and with no job they had to support their habit by committing crimes. Also, many family members of mine are alcoholics, they will drink until they no longer have the muscle control to hold a glass of alcohol. Consequently, many of my family members will neglect eating and drinking (water), as a result, they are hospitalized numerous times for dehydration and symptoms from cirrhosis of the liver.

I enjoyed chapter 15 because it hit home for me.


  1. Hi Stacie-
    I agree with what you have said about the brain. This organ can seemingly take over a person’s body when they are battling an addiction. Having a drug in their system or craving more of the drug while going through withdrawal symptoms can cause individuals to do dangerous things. Even being in a room that has become associated with using drugs can cause someone to want to use again. Last semester, I took a course on Drug Use & Abuse (CHLH 243) and some of the consequences of drug use were alarming to me. A person can lose complete control of their body and forget to do simple things in order to take care of their bodies. They may not eat or sleep for days at a time. Addiction is a dangerous state.
    Seeing the affects of drug abuse can be scary. It is unsettling to see that a person would put their own family members in harm’s way for the sake of filling their craving for a drug. This is a real life problem, not just something that is on countless episodes of Cops. Unfortunately, there is not an immediate solution. Many factors contribute to addiction, so a lot should be taken into account when evaluating the situation. Research is being done on the topic yet a lot still remains uncertain.

  2. Alcoholism is a topic that also hits close to home for me. Both of my parents struggled with alcohol when they were younger, and while they have helped each other stay clean for their entire marriage, I now have a rather hefty genetic predisposition to worry about. Living on a college campus most certainly doesn't help the odds either, what with the drinking culture and unofficial Saint Patrick's Day.

    After our brief discussion regarding the DSM-V in class, I thought I'd take a look to see if there had been any changes to the definitions of alcoholism in the new edition. I found out that the new qualifications are lower, which would mean that far more people would be classified as alcoholics. While the implications of this are discussed further in the article, I did find one line that I feel needs to be mentioned. The article stated at one point that "most college binge drinkers and drug users don’t develop lifelong problems." This kind of statement seems troublesome to me, and might cause people with actual problems to view themselves as being healthy.

  3. Andrew, thanks so much for mentioning this article by Maia -- she's a great journalist and covers the substance abuse beat really well. I'll try and incorporate this into lecture today.