Thursday, August 6, 2020

Post #2: Drugs

Substance/alcohol dependency has become a huge issue in society as many individuals get addicted to certain types of psychoactive drugs such as cannabis (marijuana), nicotine, cocaine, opiates and more. In the DSM-5 substance and alcohol use and induced disorders are classified under Substance-Related and Addictive Disorders as the problem is prevalent in society, especially among the younger generations in which an adolescent or young adult's brain is not fully developed. This lack of development in the prefrontal cortex (frontal lobe) has lead to some seemingly foolish and impulsive behaviors such as engaging in substance or alcohol use. In the PowerPoint labeled "drugs", each slide covers a different type of drug and the consequence from taking said drug. A pattern I noticed is that many people reported elevated moods and a sense of serenity and relaxation or extreme excitement when partaking in drugs. 

People in society tend to treat drug users horribly and punish them because of their misdeeds but in reality, they are undergoing symptoms of addiction, tolerance, and withdrawal that are simply difficult to control. Addiction refers to "an intense craving, seeking out, and use of a particular drug". Many people become addicted to things such as food, drinks or cigarettes as a coping mechanism or a way to avoid societal or personal problems. However, more serious addictions such as psychedelics, opioids, or heroin stem from simplistic habits or what some refer to as "gateway drugs." Many times, when people attempt to stop using, they feel a sense of an overpowering urge, also known as craving. They might experience withdrawal symptoms as an attempt to quit a drug abruptly or diminish its use after a long dependency on it. These symptoms make it very difficult to stop smoking, binge drinking, injecting shots, etc., but with the right support and motivation, a change in behavior can be made.

The following video explains in 2 minutes why it is so hard to quit taking drugs and how our chemicals in our brain affect our pleasure centers and addictions. It is a self-explanatory video that explains the basic concept behind addiction very well, especially for middle and high school students!

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