8.1.1 issues around drug taking Flashcards Preview

EDEXCEL A-level health psychology > 8.1.1 issues around drug taking > Flashcards

Flashcards in 8.1.1 issues around drug taking Deck (6)
Loading flashcards...

What are drugs

Substances that alter the brain function e.g. cannabis, heroin


What is addiction

A person who is addicted feels that they need the drug for their everyday life, it consumes them and they feel as if they can’t live without it


What is tolerance

How will your body copes with the drug. some people Will have higher tolerances which means they would need to take more of the drug to feel the same effects which can be even more dangerous


What is physical dependency

Drugs affect neurotransmitter operation, the brain adapts to these changes so it can no longer function normally without the drug, unpleasant side-effects occur if you stop taking the drug, tolerance develops which means you need more and more of the drug to get the same effect, and withdrawal symptoms occur if the drug is no longer taken


What is psychological dependency

drugs can make you more social, increase confidence et cetera and drug takers begin to think that they cannot carry out certain behaviours without the drug to help them


evaluate the effects of drugs on transmission

There is a lot of evidence supporting the arguments. Olds & Milner (1954) found a pleasure centre in the brain of rats. Straiker et al (2012) looked at the effect of cannabis and found an effect in the hippocampus of mice. This is reliable research, with very careful controls.

There is credibility in saying that the reward pathway relates to dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter giving pleasure, and recreational drugs work on the reward pathway to increase

it also makes sense that there is an effect of desensitisation and tolerance. External information (e.g. observing addicted people who begin to take drugs recreationally but gradually require more to experience the same effects) backs up the studies of internal processes, suggesting a reliability to the explanation.

There is a complexity in how transmission works in the brain
that is hard to capture. Current tools cannot measure transmission. Cannabis limits hippocampal activity, but also
leads to more dopamine activity and there is more than one reward pathway. Having one explanation for the mode of action of a recreational drug seems rather simplistic.

It is difficult to research on humans in this area. Scanning and finding out about receptor activity is not straightforward. Scanning needs to be more sophisticated, and the focus
currently is on transmitters that are easily studied so they are the ones any conclusions will be about. There may be others which we cannot study at this moment in time.