Substance Misuse Essay

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The contemporary issue of substance misuse will be explored through modern literature with conclusions drawn on the role of Psychology as a body of knowledge in understanding the topic. It is generally agreed that substance misuse is the overindulgence of substances, beside food, that has the potential to disrupt the functioning of the mind and body. (Al-Kandari, Yacoub,& Omu 2001). Attention will be made towards substance availability and social acceptability, while discussing social scientific perspectives and the implications upon individuals and society.

The availability of licit substances in retail outlets are an implication to individuals, particularly if it leads to more harmful substance abuse through the gateway effect. The sociocultural
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Dextromethorphan, a cough based syrup, became an attractive alternate substance to counter restrictions imposed by retail outlets in 1996 (Darboe 1996). A further study in Hong Kong by Lam and Shek (2006) highlighted the continued abuse of substances similar to Dextromethorphan, still being an attractive alternative against imposed restrictions. Substitute substances are cheap, legal and do not require prescriptions, highlighting its convenience and abusive potential. Licit and illicit substances have recognised consequences, however it is clear that awareness of the addictive properties of less recognised substances should be governed closely. Therefore, Individual motivations of abusers should be recognised. Miller and Gold (1991) claim substance abusers typically seek states of euphoria, excitement and sedation. To summarize, availability is not the only factor in regards to substance abuse, as individuals will pursue substitute substances in pursuit of its euphoric effects and limited …show more content…
Personality and substance abuse have been extensively researched, yet the effect of a specific personality trait is under debate (Gerkin, Sher & Wood, 2006). Dawe et al (2004) cite a number of studies that identify the trait of impulsivity to the development of drug abuse (Dawe et al, pg 1390, 2004). Impulsivity is associated with immediate gratification, and supports the earlier motivations of abusers pursuing substitute substances. Further research suggests a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD) include the trait of impulsivity. A study by Dunne et al (2014) found an association between ADHD and gateway theory, highlighting the earlier argued consequences of the gateway effect. An opposing study by Roberts et al (2014) found a link between impulsivity and developing substance abuse, but that those with ADHD would abuse substances through influence of their deviant peers. Research does suggest that individuals with impulsivity are predisposed to substance related behaviour. However, considering both articles were published in the same year and came to different conclusions shows that personality is a factor of abuse, but highlights social factors

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