Friday, May 25, 2012

Drug addiction and classical conditioning

After reading chapter four and viewing the lecture slides I came across something that I could relate to. Drug addiction and what comes along with addiction problems. I have a loved one that is in recovery and have became very educated in the area. I was shocked to learn that it could be genetic even if you have never met the other family member who had a addiction problem. My loved one has had a problem with both marijuana and pills, but after a long process of a methadone clinic and meetings she is now in recovery. when thinking about adiction you rarely hear about it as a classical conditioning process. But when you think about the process you can find a definite connection. As described in the lecture slides of chapter four (slide 40) the link is described. When talking to my loved one I asked her what triggers a want to use are there any key places or words/phrases that you link with either using or getting high? And she explained to me that when she buys a new purse or gets her nails done or does them herself she thinks of using because those are there's things she was always doing when she was using. Now when she does those things she gets extremely nervous and sometimes has to stop doing what she is doing because the classical conditioning is still quite strong it scares her and risks her sobriety. Words that also are linked for her are the names Mary and Jane, got the stuff, stash, high, etc. As explained in the lecture these words or actions become a direct link (conditioned stimulus) to the past pleasure present fear of pleasure (unconditional response). My loved one could do anything to get to her drugs or to use her motivation was her drugs and nothing else because the drugs (unconditional stimulus) became her life. Now that the stimulus is gone her motivational drive has to reroute to have a different healthy drive force, which seems to be taking a long time to do. With out her drugs she seems like she takes longer to accomplish tasks where as the drug addict could of found multiple ways of manipulating things or people to get the task done quicker or have it done for her.


  1. I can relate to you. I have friends and family members that are also addicted to drugs and have been in recovery more than once. And what I have seen them go through has been very difficult to experience. It defiantly takes a lot of effort and determination for someone to stop using. Classical conditioning is not something you automatically think about, like you said, but wow it does make a huge difference when you really think about it. Someone who is in recovery may be reminded about their addiction everywhere they turn. Before really thinking about classical conditioning, I always thought that they just needed to change people, places, and things but it is way more than that. In the end, I believe that the best way someone can remain drug free is by having positive support especially family and close friends. I wish your love one a healthy and successful recovery.

  2. I takes a lot of courage and determination to overcome drug addiction. I have not had any problems with drugs, however I have met many who had addictions to both alcohol and drugs. It not only taks a toll on themselves but those who surround them and support them. Classical conditioning is not something I would think of when I thought of drug addiction. However, it makes sense. Things that your loved one did while thinking, craving, or doing drugs trigger those emotions she had once had. It will take time for her to overcome doing some of the things she once did, but keeping a positive outlook she wil have a successful road ahead of her.