Drug Addiction- Physical vs. Psychological Essay

1349 Words Dec 23rd, 2011 6 Pages
From: | David Oakley (fouroaksatredwood@msn.com) | Sent: | Mon 5/23/11 3:50 AM | To: | Wendy Oakley (wmdk@msn.com) | Melissa Oakley
Professor Taylor
Drugs and Drug Policy
28 April 2011
Drug Addiction—Physical vs. Psychological Research shows that an individual progresses from using drugs/substances, to being addicted to a drug/substance. This relationship with drugs (either legal or illegal) is complex because specific patterns of progression vary greatly from person to person. The causes of drug/substance use seem to be mainly due to external/social influences, for example peer pressure and abuse/addiction—dependence is essentially the result of internal psychological and physiological needs and stresses
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Researchers have indicated that the avoidance of physical withdrawal symptoms explains the continued use of physically addicting drugs, but several drugs taken chronically and abusively by a great number of people are considered non-addicting drugs, at least from a physical standpoint. According to Lance Dodes, M.D., author of The Heart of Addiction, “The human body physically reacts to a few kinds of drugs, like alcohol or heroin, by adapting—changing itself for instance—neurotransmitter levels in the brain are altered to compensate for the drugs’ effects” (69-70). The body has found a way to tolerate the drug’s presence and, because of this, increased amounts of the drug must be consumed to obtain the “high” that one wishes to experience. Conversely, if the drug is suddenly discontinued, the physical symptoms of withdrawal are experienced. As defined by Dodes, “Physical addiction is a state in which both tolerance and withdrawal are present” (70). So, it would appear on the surface that physical addiction is the main crux of a drug problem. Unfortunately, it turns out that it’s not that simple. . I heard my parents talking about a relative of ours who was an alcoholic for many years. They mentioned that he was hospitalized several times to be detoxified from alcohol. This detoxification process took anywhere from three to seven days and, after that relatively short period of time, the physical addiction/ dependence

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