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Joan LeeDr. MillerPsychology 101-02December 3, 2017Psychological Effects of Drug Abuse            Millions of people in the United States haveabused drugs. Drugs affect every part of the body. They can affect thephysical, mental, and emotional states of the body. Having a drug abuse problemcan be linked to biology, sensation/perception, consciousness, learning,cognition, development and social psychology. Understanding and identifyingsigns of drug abuse can give people the ability to recognize others that have adrug abuse problem.            Drug abuse happens often, but there is onething that leads a person down that road. Biologically speaking, certain peoplecan be more susceptible to addiction, which can lead down to the path of drugabuse.

One example of this is when a child was born from a mother that useddrugs during her pregnancy. This will cause the child to be born with anaddiction to the drugs. This is a biological phenomenon because the child hasinherited the drug addiction from the mother because of her abuse of drugs.This means that, in the future, the child is more prone to having a drugproblem because the mother caused the baby’s reliance on the substance beforehe or she was born. This goes to show that drug abuse could be biologicalbecause of the heritability from mother to child.

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Even though drug abuse can bebiological, it can also affect a person’s sensation and perception.            Sensation and perception alteration canhappen to people who abuse drugs. Sensation is the process by which our sensoryreceptors and nervous systems receive and represent stimulus energies from ourenvironment.

This means that when people are on drugs, their sensations arealtered, and they can have an out-of-body sensation when on drugs. Perceptioncan also be altered when someone is on drugs. Perception is the process oforganizing and interpreting sensory information, enabling us to recognizemeaningful objects and events. This means when a person is on drugs, theirperception can be affected due to hallucinations. So when people are on drugs,they can have their sensation and perception changed because of the substances. While drugs canaffect perception and sensation, they can also affect the consciousness.Consciousness is our awareness of ourselves and our environment. Drugs are oneof the ways that can change the consciousness.

One way drugs affect theconsciousness is through influencing the neurotransmitters that operate at thesynapses of the central nervous system. Changing the consciousness can behealthy or unhealthy. An example of a healthy way to change the consciousnessis by hypnosis. Hypnosis is a social interaction in which one person (thehypnotist) suggests to another (the subject) that certain perceptions,feelings, thoughts, or behaviors will spontaneously occur. An example of anon-healthy way of altering the consciousness is through psychoactive drugs.Psychoactive drugs are chemical substances that alter perception and moods.Some psychoactive drugs are LSD, marijuana, cocaine, ecstasy, etc. Theconsciousness can be affected through drugs which are an unhealthy way to alterthe consciousness.

Furthermore, consciousness can be changed but learning canalso be altered with drug abuse. Learning can beaffected by drug abuse. Learning is the process of acquiring through experiencenew information or behaviors. One way learning is affected is with thecontinuation of drug use. An example of this would be a parent using drugs infront of a child continuously. When a parent uses drugs in front of a child,the child may learn by observing the behavior of the parent. This may lead to thechild mirroring the actions of the parent. This type of learning is calledsocial or observational learning which was discovered by Albert Bandura throughhis bobo doll experiment.

Learning can also be affected by drugs because of thebiological constrains in conditioning. Some biological influences can bethrough genetic predisposition, unconditioned responses, and adaptiveresponses. These types of biological influences can lead a person to havedeposition in their learning when drugs were presented before they wereborn.  For example, when a mother usesdrugs during her pregnancy which leads to a biological alteration in the childbefore she or he was born. This goes to show that learning can be effective bydrug abuse because of social learning though an adult and/or biologicalconstraints on conditioning. So, observational learning is linked toconditioning because operant conditioning is a type of learning in whichbehavior is strengthened if followed by a reinforcer or diminished if followedby a punisher. Having learning affected by drug abuse also links to cognition.

Cognition can be altered and affected by drug abuse.Cognition is all of the mental activities associated with thinking, knowing,remembering, and communicating. People that abuse drugs alter their cognitions.Having their cognition altered can lead to memory problems for the user. Memoryis learning that persists over time and information that has been acquired,stored, and can be retrieved. So, a drug abuser interferes with their memorywhen taking drugs, because they can cause a memory loss because of the lack ofbrain communication.

When drugs affect the cognition, it hinders other areastoo. This relates back to learning because children learn via social learning.That means that children observe and learn though the situation around them,which generates more of their thinking that is linked to memories. This wouldlead to them having an operant conditioning because the behavior that is showedto the child is modified by a reward or a punishment, which eventually leads toautomatic thoughts. If the drug abuser takes the drug because he or she feels acertain high from the drug, then the child that observes the situation will dothe same. If the reaction is the child feeling a happiness from it, then thechild will continue to use drugs because it is a reward for them.

This couldalso lead to situations involving conflicting attitudes, beliefs or behaviorswhich refer to cognitive dissonance. Having the drugs leads down the path of affectingthe memory. Even though drugs affect memory they also affect development.Development is affected with drug abuse. Drug abuse affectsa person across their lifespan. Developmental issues can begin at a very youngage.

One example is a child developing in a household that has drug abusers,which can affect their development. According to Erick Erikson, childrendevelop through different stages of life. The Erikson Scale starts from basictrust, autonomy, initiative, competence, identity, intimacy, generativity, andintegrity.

When a child develops in a household that has drug users, the childmay not feel that they have a basic trust with the drug abusers because theydid not take care of the of the child when they most needed it. A child that isaround the age of zero to one and half years old are at the stage of trust ormistrust. When a child is left to cry for a long time, this can cause amistrust for the caretaker because the child is not taken care of. This leadsto the child having a lack of trust in people when they are growing up. Eventhough their drug abuse affects development it also affects social psychology.

Social psychology happens every day in a person’s life butpeople’s views on different issues do change. When people observe or hear abouta person taking drugs,  their view ofthat person starts to change. One example is a group of high school studentsthat take drugs and sell drugs behind the school. People’s points of views ofthem might be that they are all going to be drop-outs. Having a point of viewlike that would be called stereotyping. Stereotyping is a generalization of agroup of people.

This type of thought that is present in other people’s pointof view is the social perception which is based on appearance, behavior, and informationfrom others. Social perception happens because people make judgements aboutwhat they observe and what they hear. Taking drugs and having a drug abuseproblem leads people to think and have a social perception about drugs.            Drugs abuse affects many different parts ofa life, from biological to social perception.

Understanding the basis of howpeople might develop a drug abuse problem can stem from the mother’s addiction,which is biological and was given to the child before it was born. Having adrug abuse problem affects sensation and perception because of out-of-bodysensations and hallucinations. Drug abuse is shown in consciousness because ofthe change in consciousness during use. Learning is affected like consciousnesswhen taking drugs.

Cognition takes a toll when a person takes drugs, along withdevelopment if the person lives with a drug abuser. People can also have socialperceptions of people that take drugs or are drug abusers. So, when a personhas a drug abuse problem, it not only affects them personally, but also thepeople around them.


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