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Influences that encourage addiction

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This solution creates and describes a hypothetical example that specifically illustrates how biology, family, and culture may contribute to and/or impact substance abuse and/or addiction, then explains how biology, family, and culture may each contribute to substance abuse and/or addiction in the case.

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The solution provides a comprehensive study of a case of teenage addiction to illustrate how biology, family and culture influence propensity towards or encourage substance abuse. The solution presents the particulars of the hypothetical case including family history and other pertinent information. Resources are listed for further exploration of the topic. A word-version is also attached.

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On Addiction and Substance Abuse

What is addiction? It is the physical as well as the psychological dependence on substances and chemicals that are psychoactive like heroin, cocaine, alcohol and other substances/drugs. Increasingly, addiction has also come to refer to needs and compulsions - actions that individuals are compelled to do to fulfill a particular need (i.e. sex addiction, shopping addiction, gambling, pornography addiction, food addiction, etc.) which have turned into a psychological dependence. If such actions are not done or the compulsion and need not satisfied, mood disorders and withdrawals surface leading to behavioural and mental issues. The 'addict' continues to involve himself/herself with the addiction despite the negative effects such a decision has on him/her and the people in their lives. Drug addiction is a chronic need for illegal drugs or the abuse of certain substances wherein the addict seeks to acquire the drugs in whatever means necessary and couldn't wait to take the drugs as his/her body has come to depend on the substance. Such an addiction overtakes one's life resulting to tragic events and loses on the part of the addict and his/her family.

Why and how come people get addicted? Many contend it is biological and genetic. What this means is that there are people who are wired to become dependent on certain chemicals or become addicted to certain acts, items or things. Acquisition or performance of their addiction provides a fulfillment, a certain high that they crave and live for, centralising it as their immediate and primary need as taking substances enhances the 'reward' circuit of the brain. Family, the source of our initial socialization induct us into activities that we find as normal and necessary as children and adults. When family members are addicts, children often get influenced and find their own route to addiction too. Children whose parents are smokers become smokers as well while children whose parents turn to alcoholism when facing great difficulties would most likely end up the same. This family element is very much related to the notion of culture. If ...

Solution provided by:
  • MPhil/PhD (IP), Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • MA, Open University, Milton Keynes, UK
  • Certificate, Geva Ulpan (via Universita Tel Aviv)
  • BA, University of the Philippines
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