Drugs and Society Paper
Drug addiction is becoming too much of an issue in the United States today. Prescription pills are being issued without a second guess, and the quick fix is rapidly becoming the American way. It seems that Americans want things now, and the American Dream is not happening soon enough. As a result we are finding that the quick fix is originating with the substances we put into our body. Addiction is the continued use of a mood altering substance or behavior despite adverse consequences, or a neurological impairment leading to such behaviors. In reality addiction is nothing more than choice. The will to change your ways is in everyone, but by being unable to harness the will power causes relapses. I believe that there is a specific model for addicts that effects the decision making process, from the initial use, to multiple relapses, but will power is the strongest medicine to help break these habits. I also believe that are effective ways of treatment to instill will power as well as ways the drug court system should handle offenders.
If an addiction is an illness, we question ourselves, where is the virus? Where is the medical problem? There is no toxins or virus that causes addiction. Just like every other psychiatric conditions. There are no viruses that cause depression or schizophrenia. The other problem with addiction being named a disease is that it is hard to see where to draw the line when normal and abnormal behavior occurs. When we look at drug use we see a continuum that encompasses the actions of drug users. It is difficult to compare sometimes because a person could be acting abnormally, but then acts normally when on a substance, (or visa versa). We see in an example of alcoholism, if you drink a certain amount of drinks in a day then you might be considered an alcoholic despite body weight. This can be dismissed because of the comparison to obesity, which is clearly a disorder, and is clearly on a continuum. A person that is considered to be obese has a disorder, but in contrast someone who weighs ten pounds less does not have a disorder. Clearly the man who weighs ten pounds less is considered to be normal in our views according to a continuum point of view, but you should not be anywhere close to the abnormal end of the spectrum. The difference between a disease and disorder might account for the responsibilities of solving the addiction. Similar to the overweight person, a drug addict will crave the substance. Morse describes compulsion, by using American Psychiatric Assosiation’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). It helps form the idea of substance dependence and substance abuse. The DSM-IV states that a “craving (a strong subjective drive to use substance)”, although not a specific criterion of the class of substance disorders or of any specific substance dependence disorder (9).
The medical model of addiction I believe is correct is the incentive-sensitzation model. It is probably the most important path because of the relationship most substances have on the brain and how it functions. In this model, the circumstances for the substances to effect our body happen in the brain. Whatever the substance, it will either block the neurotransmitters or the dopamine agents within the three major pathways in the entire brain. Affecting either will alter the mind perceives different emotions or body movement. Although we are not exactly sure which parts are affected most, fundamentally drugs effect the brain. Users on a substance are altering their brain, they change their behavior, and that is what makes you want to do more, it is something rooted in the brain. It is this action that addiction will effect the rationality of the user. If someone is on drugs they still have a choice to do the actions they may or may not remember. Both Elster and Watson discuss the process of rationality. Whether it is at the initial use of the drug, or when an addict is...
Cited: Brady-Lunny, Edith. "Sheridan Prison Making a Difference for Its Inmates." Pantagraph.com. 28 Mar. 2010. Web. 22 May 2012. .
Elster, Jon. Strong Feelings: Emotion, Addiction, and Human Behavior. Cambridge, MA: MIT, 1999. Print.
Nolan, James L. Reinventing Justice: The American Drug Court Movement. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2001. Print.
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