In Lauren Slater’s article Rat Park, Slater talks about Bruce Alexander’s study and experiments on addiction. Alexander’s experiment consists of lab rats in two environments. The first is a caged environment and the second was a “perfect environment” called Rat Park. Rats in each environment were given two choices of water. One study group had regular water and the second was a form of heroin in water. The caged rats chose to drink the drugged water until they were placed into the “perfect” rat park environment. Once placed in this environment, theses rats stopped drinking the drugged water and started to drink the regular water. The rodents originally placed in the rat park drank the regular water and never chose to drink the water that was drugged with heroin. From this experiment Alexander came to the conclusion that addiction isn’t real and only comes about due to the environment you are in. Alexander’s hypothesis was controversial. Alexander believes that addiction does not exist at all from the data he has gotten back from his experiments. I believe addiction does exist and is introduced reinforced and heightened by three main factors. These factors are ones environment and social circle. The other is brain chemistry. And lastly there is the individual’s choice to continue with the addiction or seek help and end it. Your environment and or social setting introduce the beginning of the addiction. Alexander agrees “Society and your part in it plays a large role in drug addiction. People suffer in their skin want relief from the pain of life. Media also weighs in on addiction further controlling society”. Initially an addict will begin to use their addiction to escape form something in their life that they feel they can’t deal with. There is a whole myriad scenario that can trigger the individual to begin to use. Lost of a job, divorce, or failure or live up to expectations real or imagined are just a few. These trigger know no social status. Addicts can be wealthy or poor, famous or ordinary. The keys are the individual and their perception of their reality. Your environment isn’t just where you were born but were you go throughout your life. For example, you can have a child living in a good family orientated home with good morals and never be around drugs or alcohol a day in there life but go off to college, get evolved with the wrong crowd and become an addict. It had nothing to do with their birth place or how they were raised. Their environment changed and they made a choice to take the drug or alcohol. Conversely not everyone growing up around drug and alcohol will become addicts. It depends on how they perceive themselves within that environment. For example you can have two children living in poverty and in constant contact with drugs. One child can have a fixed mindset that his life has a set outcome, with limited potential and a fixed future. He thinks that because he lives in this environment where peers are getting into drugs and going to jail that, that he’s destine to do the same. Then you have another child growing up in the same house, going to the same school and have a growth mindset and this child believes his potential is endless, and because of this child’s mindset and the choice he makes he over come and avoid poverty and addiction in his life growing up. Though environment and society do play a major role in the beginning of addiction the choices you make will be what can continue the addiction further.
Brain chemistry is interesting and also controversial because a lot of people believe addiction is a choice. A healthy human being ultimately has control over their brain and they choices they make. There is the choice to begin the addiction. Once afflicted, the choice is still there to continue or seek help and end it. Now brain chemistry is a whole other matter. Herb Kleber says, “There’s definitely...
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