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Substance Abuse And Effects On The Human Brain

2415 words - 10 pages

Introduction
Substance Abuse is a major contemporary issue we face as a society; affecting not only adults, but our youth as well. Statistics have shown that more and more adolescents are being introduced to substances at a much earlier age than before. In fact, most users began using in their teenage years, with half of those starting off with Marijuana. A survey taken in 2011 by the Subtance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, showed that an estimated 22.5 million Americans 12 and older had used an illicit drug or abused a psychotherapeutic medication within the month the survey was taken; with Marijuana being among the most used substances(Drugfacts: Nationwide Trends 2012). This shows an alarming truth of today’s society; drug use is becoming much more prevalent, and is only creating a cycle of a new generation of substance abusers.
Defining Substance Abuse
A substance as defined by Abnormal Psychology:Clinical Perspectives on Psychological Disorders (Whitbourne, Halgin 2013) is; “a chemical that alters a person’s mood or behavior when the person smokes, injects, drinks, inhales, snorts, or swallows.” The term “drug” itself is quite vague in definition. In fact, almost anything can be considered a drug; because a drug as defined is “a medicine or other subtance which has a physiological effect when ingested or otherwise introduced into the body” (Merriam Webster Dictionary). By this definition alone, even food can be categorized as a “drug”. For this paper I will review the main subtances of which are illegal, or under regulation by the government. Abuse as defined by Merriam Webster Dictionary is; “use (something) to bad effect or for a bad purpose; misuse.” Therefore, substance abuse is basically using drugs improperly with an intent to attain an effect of some sort; misusing them. To be labeled with subtance abuse, an individual must meet one of four criteria: failure to carry out major obligations, repeated use of substances during physically hazordouz situations, having substance-related legal problems, and having persistent interpersonal problems resulting from the substance use (Whitbourne,Halgin 2013).
A Brief History of Subtance Abuse
Throughout the history of mankind, human beings have had a desire within them to eat, drink, and even smoke different substances to change their normal state of functioning. Anthropologists from around the world have found various discoveries suggesting ancient civilizations used substances of different kinds(Wilhite 2013). Alcohol being amongst the earliest subtances used, dates back to 4000 B.C; coca was also used in 3000 B.C by ancient Incas to raise their heart rate and to speed breathing due to the high altitude mountain climate(Wilhite 2013). Marijuana use can also be traced back as early as 3000 B.C in China. The use of halluncinogenic mushrooms go back as far as 5,000 B.C;used for religious purposes(Erowid 2011). Even the Aztecs were very fond of hallucinatory drugs...

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