Compare and contrast the use of animals and humans in psychological research on substance abuse
When explaining substance abuse both nature and nurture have a role to play in understanding, through the processes of dependency and withdrawal. Dependency is how difficult someone finds it to cope without another fix. Withdrawal is the effects of coming off of the drug. These processes are similar for everyone; however, they can differ because of how nature and nurture modify these experiences.
The nature side of the debate is the biological explanation which explains how when an individual takes a drug that alters the availability of one or more neurotransmitters, it affects the mood or behaviour of the person. Depressant drugs slow the brains activity and stimulants make the stimulation between one neuron to another easier. A repeated use of any drug is likely to change the chemical balances within the brain. This is due to the level of neurotransmitters in the brain being regulated. When a person takes a psychoactive drug which artificially changes the chemical levels within the brain, the mechanisms in the brain adjust the level of natural production. This results in the person then having to carry on taking the drug so that they can function normally.
Withdrawal symptoms support the biological viewpoint strongly as they can explain how the brain is relying on the drug to function normally, so without the drug they will struggle to act normally. It can also be used to explain how drugs are used to induce psychosis. Self-report evidence from drug users show the development of psychological needs correlates positively with dependency. However, according to the biological explanation everyone is at risk of misuse developing, for example, the drug alcohol is used by a large majority of people but only a few misuse it. Cultural norms and peer-group influences play a major part in misuse developing and if biological factors were what determine the amount...
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