Sunday, May 29, 2011

Post 1- Addictions

The slides on chapter four and the book contain information about additions and addictive behaviors. People are addicted to a lot of things but they are mostly addicted to psychoactive drugs. According to Deckers (2010), psychoactive drugs are chemicals that alter mood and behavior as a result of the drug’s effect on the function of the brain. There are many types of psychoactive drugs such as caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, amphetamines, cannabis, cocaine, and opiates.

“People are motivated to use psychoactive drugs because the immediate pleasurable results seem to outweigh the long-term negative consequences (Deckers, 2010, p. 78).” I came across a video (, “Messing with Heads: Marijuana and Mental Illness,” that is related to this topic and I found it very interesting. It was about marijuana use and how it could possibly lead to mental defects. The video was mind boggling. I didn’t know that marijuana use could cause so much damage like other drugs such as crystal meth and cocaine. I thought it was less risky, especially because it is used for medicinal and religious purposes, and just caused a person to feel “high.” However, from what I saw in the video and what I read in the book, Abnormal Psychology, I now know that marijuana is a very dangerous drug that can cause psychotic disorders. The reason being is because like any other drug/thing a person uses, I believe it has to have an effect on the body. According to Halgin, R.P., & Whitbourne, S.K. (2010), when marijuana is taken over long periods of times, abuse is likely to lead to dependence and to have a number of adverse effects on a person’s bodily functioning and psychological stability. Rey, MD, PhD, J. M. (n.d.) also stated that cannabis use increases the risk of developing psychosis and can double the risk for developing schizophrenia later in life. These risks increase depending on how young a person is and how long he/she has been using marijuana. The younger a person is, the more damage it can do, and the more likely one is to experience cognitive defects (Halgin & Whitbourne, 2010, p. 413). This happens because the human brain isn’t fully developed until a person is in their early to mid 20s. As such, the brain is susceptible to anything introduced to it.

On the other hand, I only believe marijuana can cause psychotic disorders with extreme use. I know plenty of people who use/used the drug and live/function normally daily. That’s why I didn’t know it can cause so many problems.


Deckers, L. (2010). Motivation: biological, psychological, and environmental (3rd ed.). Boston, Mass.: Allyn & Bacon.

Films Media Group, 2005 Messing with Heads: Marijuana and Mental Illness. Films On Demand. Retrieved from

Halgin, R.P., & Whitbourne, S.K. (2010). Abnormal psychology. New York, NY: McGraw- Hill

Rey, MD, PhD, J. M. (n.d.). Does Marijuana Contribute to Psychotic Illness. Scribd. Retrieved from


  1. I was very close to someone who was addicted to drugs and alcohol. He was "clean" for more than eight years, but then relapsed and since that time has strugged on and off with his addiction. It was very difficult for me to understand (1) how he could allow drugs to negatively affect his life in the first place and (2) why he would choose to start using again after being clean for so long.

    After reading chapter 4 and the information on primers and the effects of stress, not to mention the influence of genetics, I better understand. My friend's father was an alcoholic, so it would seem that he was in a sense predisposed to become an alcoholic also. Added to that, I notice that during the times when my friend relapses, he is experiencing some type of stressor: a death, job issues, etc. He seems unable to cope and just escapes into the temporary oblivion that drugs provide.

    I don't really understand the genetic component of drug addiction. There are many people who have had alcoholism or drug use in their families, but they don't become addicts themselves.

  2. DeAnna, I'm sorry to hear about your friends relapse. I too don't understand why people get addicted to drugs/alcohol and risk messing up their lives. I have to take narcotics for my health when I get sick and the side effects and euphoria are not pleasant to me at all. Also, if I drink, I become extremely sleepy and I don’t know what is so “fun” about sleeping. Maybe other people who use psychoactive drugs experience something better which causes them to become addicted but I still don’t understand how using drugs/alcohol could be worth messing up your life.