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Psy 425 - Abused Substances and Their Effects

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Abused Substances and their Various Effects

Ryan Atkins


October 25, 2010

Kathleen Roberts

CERTIFICATE OF ORIGINALITY: I certify that the attached paper, which was produced for the class identified above, is my original work and has not previously been submitted by me or by anyone else for any class. I further declare that I have cited all sources from which I used language, ideas and information, whether quoted verbatim or paraphrased, and that any and all assistance of any kind, which I received while producing this paper, has been acknowledged in the References section. This paper includes no trademarked material, logos, or images from the Internet, which I do not have written permission to include. I further agree that my name typed on the line below is intended to have, and shall have the same validity as my handwritten signature.

Ryan Atkins

Abused Substances and Their Various Effects

When substances are abused in a person's life it causes many problems and has many effects on the human body. There are many different types of substances and some are more addictive than others. The addiction has both psychological and physiological effects on the human body. Substance abuse affects all parts of the body functions, from the brain to the heart and lungs.

Alcohol is the most abused substance. According to Kathleen Roberts Online Lecture (2004):

The DSM-IV describes alcohol dependence as a maladaptive pattern of use leading to significant impairment or distress, when three or more of the following seven items have occurred in the same 12-month period:

1. Tolerance can be evidenced as A.) need for increased amount of alcohol to achieve intoxication or the desired effect, B.) diminished effect with continued use of the same amount.

2. Withdrawal is presence of characteristics signs of alcohol withdrawal, or the use of the same or closely related substance to relieve and avoid withdrawal.

3. Drinking in larger amounts or over a longer period than was intended.

4. A persistent desire or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control drinking.

5. Considerable time spent in activities related to drinking or recovering from drinking episodes.

6. Important social, occupational, or recreational given up or reduced due to drinking.

7. Drinking is continued even when it is know that physical or psychological problems are caused by or aggravated by continued use.

The major symptoms that separate alcohol dependence from abuse are tolerance, loss of control, and the presence of withdrawal symptoms.

The same can be applied to drug abuse.

Substance abuse affects the body in many ways. There are emotional effects, cognitive difficulties, heart problems, respiratory complications, overall appearance issues, and brain chemistry. Because of abuse the brain has trouble on how to process information properly. There will be extreme highs and lows for an individual. It will cause many mood swings that lead to depression and suicidal thoughts. According to Rory O'Connor's Understanding Suicidal Behavior (2000), one in four adolescent suicides are related to substance abuse and in the USA approximately 30 percent of all suicides are related to substance abuse. Long-term substance abuse leads to distorted brain chemistry and social isolation.

Substance abuse makes reasonable thinking very difficult. Reality is no longer viewed in the same manner. "The brain is always looking for the next fix, and this causes problems on financial obligations and day-to-day interactions."(Siegel, 2005, pg. 53) The heart is a major organ psychologically affected by substance abuse. It can lead to increased heart rate. Strokes and heart attacks can be caused by the strain of the heart and its muscles. The abuser can experience respiratory complications that they may think



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