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The paper discusses the mechanisms whereby people become addicted to drugs, citing numerous studies. The paper reviews different classes of drugs to which people become addicted - alcohol, opiates, stimulants - and compares the effects. The paper also reviews sociological factors contributing to drug addiction. In conclusion, the writer states that through research, the mechanisms for how people can become addicted has been learned, but why people become addicted is something which scientific research has still been unable to answer. The writer states that the choice is individual and expresses the hope that people will choose wisely to avoid the destructive path of addiction.
From the Paper:"Nicotine works by stimulating acetylcholine receptors and also increases the activity of dopaminergic neurons. Animals in laboratory tests would self-administer nicotine. Because nicotine stimulates the dopaminergic system, smoking can make it more difficult for cocaine or heroin addicts to quit the drug. The stimulant drug, nicotine, even though it may seem "tame" after discussing the hard-core drugs, has the potential to become highly addictive. The combination of nicotine and other carcinogens in cigarettes can lead to cancer of parts of the body which are exposed to smoke. An example of the dangers and addictive nature of smoking can be seen in Sigmund Freud. His theories of psychoanalysis stressed the importance of insight in changing one's behavior. It is ironic that even after most of his jaw was removed due to cancer from smoking, he was still unable to quit. Ultimately, his cancer killed him (Carlson, 586). Even though in the short term smoking may produce less serious affects than other hard core drugs, smoking related deaths remains as one of the top killers of Americans. The psychological dependency of smoking coupled with the physiologic dependence makes it one of the most addictive and possibly dangerous addictions in terms of its long-term consequences. "Approximately 20 million Americans have used marijuana (labeled the "assassin of youth") at least once in a year placing themselves at risk for developing drug dependence and other problems (Zimbardo 129). The active ingredient in marijuana is THC. Psychological effects of marijuana include mild highs in small doses, and long hallucinogenic reactions in high doses. It also produces euphoria, distortions and occasional out of body experiences. However, marijuana can produce fear, anxiety, and confusion as well as impair motor function. The physiological effects of THC remain a mystery. There are THC receptors in the brain, but the chemical produced by the body for this receptor is still unknown. What is known about THC is that is has an effect on dopaminergic neurons. (Zimbardo, 129). Marijuana also affects short term memory and a person's ability to keep track of a topic in conversation (Carlson, 588)."
Cite this Research Paper:
Drug Addiction (2006, June 20) Retrieved May 23, 2013, from http://www.academon.com/research-paper/drug-addiction-66765/
"Drug Addiction" 20 June 2006. Web. 23 May. 2013. <http://www.academon.com/research-paper/drug-addiction-66765/>