PSY 622 Substance Abuse Sample Paper
PSY622 Substance Abuse Example Essay Paper
According to the World Health Organization (2020), substance abuse is the hazardous use of psychoactive substances. However, within today’s generation, when people hear substance abuse their minds automatically think drugs and/or alcohol. Once this happens the simple word of “use” and turn it into the phrase substance abuse. Whenever an individual takes a sip of alcohol, whether an everyday drinker or a once a year drinker, that is considered using a substance. Even though, the use of substances can turn into an addiction, this is not always the case. For example, a group of friends can occasionally go out and have a few drinks. This does not make this fit the description of an abuser, but it does classify them as a user. It can easily be said that substance use is done by every person in the world at least one time in their life. As a world who easily finds their hurt healed by addiction, we need to find ways to stop an occasional substance use from turning into an everyday substance abuse. If this is done, America will have fewer tragedies and lower cases of mental illnesses brought on by drug usage.
The Desire for Illegal Narcotics
Within the U.S., individuals have always suffered with having problems when it comes to illegal narcotics. David Courtwright (1992) wrote in his book “Treating Drug Problems” that within the past 100 years the policy for American Narcotics has gone through four different stages. There used to be a time when Americans did not get in trouble for doing drugs, because it was considered a personal matter. With this policy, both the drug usage and treatment fell under this policy and the government had barely any involvement with substance use cases. There used to be a time when using drugs was a part of your social interaction, and it was looked upon as being cool. The negative stigma that comes with drug usage today, has not always been that way. What caused such a negative stigma towards drug is the social aspect revolved around drug usage. The government and federal law did not step in until medical issues started to arise (Courtwright, 1992). As society has grown and expanded, more treatment centers have appeared which had not always been the case. As treatment centers opened, the desire for individuals to use drugs steadily increased. According to research completed, the incline of drug usage has been heavily supported by how easy it is to access (Hadland et al., 2012). In today’s generation, doctors and pharmacist are more alarmed as to handing out narcotics, but that has not always been the case. Subsequently, it was easier to sell drugs, so finding an individual who had illegal narcotics was not hard to do. This, I believe, is what has caused the everlasting war within drugs: accessibility. However, you have to look at the price of the drugs now. Even though, a drug may be accessible to an individual that does not mean that they have the money to pay for it. This is where we see a decline in one drug and the increase in another. When a drug is easily accessible and affordable, more people are going to lean to that being the drug of their choice. Lastly, the curiosity of an individual can lead them to trying a drug. Put together accessibility, affordability, and curiosity it does not mix well when it comes to the use of drugs. For many years, the use of drugs has been a way of being social and having fun at parties. With narcotics and alcohol always appearing at popular parties, it allows for individuals to try both in a setting where they feel as if they will fit in. Abuse starts with one try, and before long that one try turns into another and another. This is when addiction starts to set in.
Substance Abuse Treatment
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2018), addiction is a chronic disease where individuals seek out drugs and use despite the harmful consequences or the difficulty to control the impulses. That initial decision to take a drug is voluntary, but the repetition of using a drug can lead to changes in an individual’s brain that allows them to not be able to resist a certain drug (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2018). This is why addiction is called a “relapsing” disease, because people in recovery from drug disorder can still find themselves returning to drugs after several years of being clean. However, in the eyes of the law enforcement and medical providers, addiction is considered a behavioral disorder due to their choice of using the drug (Branch, 2011). With addiction being called a behavior disorder instead of a disease, it has caused problems with individuals seeking proper treatment. With this debate, it has caused a negative stigma to be put on addiction. A lot of people feel if it was a disease, there would be a cure and a medical team producing medicines to treat the symptoms or side effects of addiction. If addiction was considered a disease, it could make individuals stay away from illegal narcotics. If substance abuse was diagnosed as a disease, there would be more support groups and outlets. It is important to note that with addiction, individuals also suffer from depression and anxiety (Branch, 2011). This shows a strong correlation between pre-existing mental illnesses and addiction. Whether people believe addiction is a disease, a behavioral change, or both, it is important to have comprehensive assessments and consistent plans of treatment to help individuals who suffer from addiction (Branch, 2011).
Theories of Psychopathology
When we discuss addiction, the psychopathological model and theories state that addiction occurs from mental disorders that were already existing in the individual. There are many mental illnesses that play a role in addiction, but the two that are most common are mood changes and cognitive disorders. With that being said the two play-off of each other and without one, the other may not exist. Individuals who seek treatment for addiction are more likely to also receive some treatment for a mental disorder alongside drug rehab. Psychopathology states that within addiction a person may also experience addictive personalities (Maremmani et al., 2017). This allows us to believe that there could be an underlying personality disorder within substance abuse and addiction. These personality disorders could include regulating emotions, properly handling impulses, and living in a state of denial from the problems the individual is facing (Maremmani et al., 2017). There is a lot of doubt about the presence of a specific psychopathology, because there had not been a lot of research to show evidence linking the two together. With little research, this is why people tend to lean more towards an addiction than a mental illness. Psychologist and therapist are known to use psychotherapy to help individuals within treatment and work towards figuring out the psychological issue that has caused the addiction.
PSY 622 Substance Abuse Sample Paper References:
Courtwright D. A century of American narcotic policy. In: Institute of Medicine. Treating Drug
Problems: Volume 2. Washington, DC: IOM, 1992, pp. 1-62. http://fermat.nap.edu/books/0309043964/html/index.html.
Hadland, S. E., Marshall, B. D., Kerr, T., Lai, C., Montaner, J. S., & Wood, E. (2012). Ready
access to illicit drugs among youth and adult users. The American journal on addictions, 21(5), 488–490. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1521-0391.2012.00257.x
Maremmani, A., Pani, P. P., Rovai, L., Bacciardi, S., & Maremmani, I. (2017). Toward the
Identification of a Specific Psychopathology of Substance Use Disorders. Frontiers in psychiatry, 8, 68. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2017.00068
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018, June). Understanding drug use and addiction. Retrieved
World Health Organization. (2020). Substance Abuse. Retrieved from