Essay on Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs

1170 Words Feb 12th, 2013 5 Pages
Alcohol, Smoking and Drugs
Before anyone ever takes a hit, or a drink, or a smoke, there is a decision made in the mind - a healthy decision or an unhealthy one. Sometimes as ourselves making a healthy choice is hard because we are tired, stressed, angry, pressured, or influenced by another person - e.g why we end up eating chocolate instead of fruit as eating things like chocolate stimulates our minds. As nicotine is legal to take at the age of 16 by law it has become a well known behaviour for 16 year olds and sometimes younger individuals to do. It's also socially acceptable within a crowd at school and is almost promoted by older peers and even role models in the media.
Suggested reasons for the use of alcohol and tobacco fall into
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I have always been careful with alcohol as my grandpa died of excessive use of alcohol. Experts estimate alcohol is responsible for at least 33,000 deaths in the UK each year.
Moving on to smoking. Reinforcement refers to the physiological processes by which a behaviour such as consumption of a drug becomes habitual. Nicotine is the primary ingredient of tobacco that triggers reinforcement, ultimately, nicotine brings about the release of dopamine in the nucleus acumens. Alcohol consumption also leads to dopamine release, although the mechanism by which alcohol produces this effect is incompletely understood.
Tolerance is decreased sensitivity to a given effect of a drug such that increased doses are needed to achieve the same effect. Cross-tolerance can develop to the aversive effects of drugs. For example, smokers may reduce their tobacco intake when they begin to feel its aversive effects (e.g nervousness or an increased heart rate). Alcohol's sedating effects may reduce these effects on nicotine, making possible, continued tobacco use. Long-term administration of nicotine in animals can influence tolerance to some of alcohol's reinforcing effects, and chronic alcohol administration induces tolerance to some effects of

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