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Motivation And The Brain Essay

1183 words - 5 pages

Motivation and the Brain: Refraining From Drug Use
University of Phoenix
PSYCH/355
October 15, 2012


Motivation and the Brain: Refraining From Drug Use
Drug addiction within society today has become a big problem. To combat this growing epidemic, research is constantly being done to determine why these behaviors occur and how to refrain from the urge to use psychoactive drugs. Why people do it can be answered simply, because they like the way that psychoactive drugs make them feel. A psychoactive drug is any chemical substance that by affecting the function of the brain alters a person’s behavior and mood (Deckers, 2010). Psychoactive drugs can be anything from caffeine that is ...view middle of the document...

Psychoactive drugs travel to the synapses of the neurons where they either stimulate the neurons in this system or they influence the actions of dopamine that is already there causing the brain reward that can result in the continuance of use of the psychoactive drugs, thereby leading to addiction (Deckers, 2010).

One way to refrain from continuing drug use once an addiction has been developed is through drugs known as antagonists. Antagonists work by blocking psychoactive drugs from binding with the appropriate neurons (Deckers, 2010). An antagonist of dopamine is pimozide, in 1977 researchers de Wit and Wise injected rats with this antagonist and the result was that the rats experienced a reduced responsiveness for a cocaine reinforcer (Deckers, 2010). A similar study conducted in 1992 by Stewart and Wise injected rats with a substance called naltrexone, which is an antagonist of heroin. The rats were able to press a lever that supplied them with a heroin reinforcer; the rats who received the injection of naltrexone however began to decrease in the behavior of pressing the lever for the release of the reinforcer which exhibited a decline in the motivation for heroin (Deckers, 2010).

Extrinsic and Intrinsic Factors
There have been recent discoveries in the field of neuroscience that conclude that a predisposition to substance abuse is often genetically and environmentally determined (Fishbein & Tarter, 2009). Individuals who are more likely to engage in substance abuse have been found to possess a larger number of particular gene deviations that have an effect on the metabolism and activity of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin (Fishbein & Tarter, 2009). Physiological, neuropsychological, and neuroimaging studies have also found a dysfunction of particular brain regions that result in an added vulnerability to drug addiction (Fishbein & Tarter, 2009). While the added vulnerability caused by the genetic deviations or the dysfunction of brain regions is more likely inherited through the human genome, extreme stress caused by our environment can also effect changes (Anton, 2010).Knowing that this aspect of the brains function can be altered by our environment allows the possibility for prevention programs to develop that could identify vulnerabilities in the youth for the purpose of early prevention and identifying the environmental factors that may result in these vulnerabilities.

Refraining from drug abuse after an addiction has already developed presents quite more of a struggle than refraining from the behavior initially. Once addicted an individual may be unable to...

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