Substance use disorder/ Essay / Paper by

Substance use disorder/ Essay / Paper by



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Substance use disorder/ Essay / Paper by Substance use disorder/ Essay / Paper by Document Transcript

  • SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER 2 Nowadays, there are a lot of negative factors that have a ruining impact on the brain of people. However, it was estimated that substance use, cannabis in particular, has one of the most dangerous effects on the brain of people. The research paper will cover the issue of cannabis impact on teenagers’ brain and there would be provided a critical analysis of different factors that make young New Zealanders use cannabis and thus contribute to the development of substance use disorder. Teenagers of New Zeeland make up the group of people who use cannabis very often. Researchers estimate (Dr. Boden in particular) that teenagers have always used cannabis in great proportions, which contributed to the formation of a normal attitude towards their behavior. As a matter of fact, if the majority of people do something wrong, their behavior is accepted as a normal one. However, a lot of other researchers contradict this opinion, stating that regular use of cannabis leads to the formation of deviant behavior. If the use of cannabis is not regular or if it is just at the initial stage, no danger is observed. More than that, there is a chance that this category of people will stop using cannabis. There are 4 categories of people who use cannabis: 1. People who know that cannabis can be available any time they have a desire to try it; 2. People who have a great temptation to try it and due to certain factors start using it, but they are not still dependent on it and can refuse of it any time they wish; 3. People who use it very often and are dependent on it, and, as a result, they cannot imagine their life without it, as it has become an inherent part of their identity. It is worth taken into consideration that all these stages are closely interdependent and are considered to follow each other successively. “Any association between availability, initiation and abuse should be modeled as a multi-stage process where availability or exposure (upstream variable) is followed by initiation which, under certain circumstances, can result in abuse or dependence (downstream variable)” (Gillespie, 2009, p. 430-431).
  • SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER 3 So, it is highly recommended that in case teenagers realize that cannabis is available for them in any proportions, they should rather stop thinking about it if they want to live a healthy life, while thoughts about its availability lead to the desire to try it, and so on and so forth. Teenagers are social beings who have a great desire to try everything in their life during such a short period of life. An interesting question arises: What factors influence the choice of young New Zealanders and make them start smoking cannabis? There are four main factors, such as: genetic factors, neurobiological factors, psychological factors, and socio-cultural factors. Genetic factors have a very strong impact on the desire of young New Zealanders. As a matter of fact, if children are born in the family, where both a father and a mother smoke, they are likely to start smoking in their future life as well. More than that, there are cases when children start using cannabis as soon as they are 8 – 10 years old, which indicates that they were born in the family of heavy cannabis smokers. Psychologists estimate that genetic factors define whether children will smoke cannabis or not very precisely (approximately 80%). There are a lot of cases when children who are born in substance use families, start using a particular substance in greater proportions than parents do. “Several studies have shown that relatives and children of problem drinkers have higher-than-expected rates of alcohol abuse or dependence” (Etiology of Substance Use Disorders, p. 309). Genetic factors, however, are closely connected with environmental factors. Very often it happens so that parents who are heavy substance users are deprived of the possibility to bring up their children and these children are brought up either in asylums or in other families. Such children often copy the behaviour of people who surround them and in case
  • SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER 4 this behaviour is normal and acceptable, these children are likely to demonstrate a normal type of behaviour as well. “…they (results) stress the importance of considering environmental risk factors when assessing genotypes, in order to pinpoint their specific role, if any, or to reduce the phenotypical and etiological heterogeneity of the disorder” (Pradier, 2010, p. 326). However, there are always acceptions. There may be situations when children from not well-to-do families are brought up in perfect families who demonstrate only good manners and perfect behaviour, but as soon as they start living an independent life, they search for any possible ways to get access to substance use. Neurobiological factors contribute to the development of the desire to use cannabis as well. Neurobiological factors make teenagers feel depressed or frustrated. Teenage age is one of the most vulnerable and in case they fail to do something perfectly well according to their expectations, they become depressed. In case, teenagers fail to progress in a quick period of time, the state of depression is preserved. Very often, when teenagers cannot cope with stress at school or when they experience problems with their friends, or even when they quarrel or have misunderstandings in the family, they turn to cannabis, which is often popularized and glamorized among teenagers. Teenagers believe that cannabis has a magical power that can make them feel happier, forget about their problems, and so on and s forth. More than that, they believe that cannabis has no ruining power and does not provoke dependence. However, they forget that cannabis in small proportions does not provoke dependence; in other cases, it leads to the formation of great dependence, which makes it impossible to get rid of it later on without external support. The state of depression is one of the greatest manipulators. The concept of bipolar disorder is very popular in well-developed countries and is characterized as a kind of depression that is popular among teenagers.
  • SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER 5 A teenage period of life is a very difficult one, as they want to cope with too many activities simultaneously: have a lot of friends, go to discos, demonstrate excellent results at school, have perfect relations with parents and teachers, but they do not realize that it is practically impossible to be perfect in all spheres of life at once, which is followed by the state of deep frustration and depression. As a result, teenagers’ demonstration of good results at schools is minimized due to the decrease of their brain peculiarities, which is followed by cannabis use. The role of teachers and parents is extremely important at this very period of life: 1. They should not provide their children with too many activities and responsibilities; 2. They should become passive observers of their children’s life – they should not interfere in it too much, but they should always be aware where their children are and with whom they are; 3. They should interact with children’s teachers and in case something unusual or strange happens around them, they should turn to school psychologists; 4. Parents should communicate with children and provide them with interesting and at the same time instructive literature, which will suggest good recommendations and pieces of advice. “Teachers, school authorities, prevention agencies and policy-makers should therefore take greater account of the visibility of cannabis use at school” (Kuntsche, 2010, p. 687). In case either teachers or parents notice that children use cannabis, they should insist on immediate treatment, while it is estimated that approximately 80% of those who use cannabis do not realize that they are in danger and need to be provided with help. The number of people who at least once tried cannabis is shocking as well – more than 50%. Researchers estimate that practically all teenagers at the age of 16 years old try cannabis and at the age of 18 years old they become dependent on it. Statistics of cannabis users in New Zealand is shocking, which signals that the access to cannabis is practically free.
  • SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER 6 Psychological factors make young students in New Zealand start smoking cannabis as well. As a matter of fact, teenagers want to be cool and demonstrate that they are better than somebody else. Unfortunately, one of the most popular ways to demonstrate that they are cool is to show that they can violate parental rules and do something forbidden, which is often the use of cannabis. First of all, children who are obvious leaders in a social group are likely to start smoking cannabis, while in such a way they demonstrate their superiority, strength, and power. Leaders have a great impact on all other members of a social group. In this very context, it is recommended to differentiate between conformists and nonconformists. Non-conformists are morally strong people and, as a result, they can withstand any pressure from the side of their friends. Non-conformists make the smaller group of teenagers. They are often very individualistic; they contradict the opinions expressed by other people, and are able to be strong under any circumstances. However, conformists are characterized as very weak people and thus they usually take the position of other people (even in case this position contradicts their personal one); they are ready to forget about individual opinions and ideas and support the ones expressed by other people. As a rule, conformists lose their personal identity and become marionettes in the hands of cannabis use manipulators. “Variations in personality functioning can also influence risk for psychopathology” (Oshri, 2011, p. 635). Psychological factors are very influential, as they impact the thoughts of people, their style of life, their goals and objectives, and their style of life. It is highly recommended that conformists communicate with children who do not use cannabis; otherwise, they cannot stop opposing the influence and start using cannabis as well. Socio-cultural factors are of great importance as well. As people live and develop in society, it goes without saying that norms, rules, and standards that are popular in a particular
  • SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER 7 society provide a solid background for the development of human personality. The majority of people believe that any society creates a sphere where cannabis is popularized and glamorized. However, that is not so. Each society has a lot of positive and negative things and it depends on people what things prevail in their life. A lot of people believe that a social group propagates the ideas to start smoking cannabis, but people forget that they have a choice and in case they see that the social group they belong to does not coincide with their interests, they can always leave it. However, a lot of people accept the ideas propagated there and then complain about it. It was estimated that teenagers who use cannabis demonstrate poor results at school, which is not a secret at all. “...the findings from the Dunedin study demonstrate that prolonged cannabis use can affect memory, attention span, verbal skills and reasoning” (Stone, 2012). Cannabis smokers become very vulnerable. In addition, a lot of psychological processes are violated: they lack words when they communicate; they think too slowly; they cannot express their thoughts freely and, as a rule, they use too many gestures to explain something; the level of attention is very low (they can demonstrate that they listen to a teacher, but they will think about something different at the same time). Brain problems lead to the formation of conduct problems, which in its turn makes teenagers turn to crime and break laws, the punishment for which is either a great fine or imprisonment. “This model (proposed by Fergusson) proposes that there are differing effects of conduct problems and attentional problems in isolation, with conduct problems being associated with later crime, mental health, and substance use problems and attentional problems being associated with later academic failure” (Fergusson, 2007, p. S24). Psychologists estimate that cannabis use disorders are closely connected with anxiety disorders. For example, if children are severely beaten at home, have constant quarrels with parents, are sexually abused, and so on and so forth, they are likely to start using cannabis. It
  • SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER 8 was estimated that a lot of children experience abusive treatment. “A total of 6.2 % of the sample were classified as experiencing childhood abuse” (Goodwin, 2004, p. 19). Once, there was a situation when a small boy (8 years old) was severely beaten by his father for being not prepared for a lesson. Such treatment lasted for a month or so and, as a result, he left home and did not appear both there and at school for two weeks. Nobody knew what happened to him. In two weeks, he came back home and told that he was together with a group of people who used cannabis and confessed that he used cannabis as well. None of the parents cried at him. On the contrary, they went to the specialist and got rid of that disgusting habit to smoke cannabis. That was a great lesson - none of the parents ever beat or cried at that boy ever after. More than that, he was from a poor family and it is often said that poor children are more likely to use cannabis and other negative substances than those from well-to-do families. “…with low socioeconomic position generally initiated substance use at a younger age than those with high socioeconomic position” (Redonnet, 2012, p. 237). In order to decrease the level of cannabis smokers and thus decrease the possibility to get a substance use disorder, much attention should be paid to modern newspapers and magazines that often glamorize substance use. “…youth are well known to be disproportionately exposed to alcohol advertising in magazines, to the extent that youth view 45 % more beer advertisements and 27 % more liquor advertisements in magazines than do adults ” (Primack, 2009, p. 724). In addition, people should turn to different medical programs and have consultations with specialists. However, a lot of people avoid different programs, methadone programs in particular, “in part because of side effects such as insomnia, constipation, excessive sweating, and diminished sexual functioning” (Treatment of Substance Use Disorders, p. 328). There should be different school programs that would motivate teenagers avoid cannabis smoking or would make them turn to help in order to avoid smoking, as research has shown that “the vast majority (86,4%) were not interested in
  • SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER marijuana treatment” (Buckner, 2010, p. 830), which indicates that such programs should be implemented practically. To conclude, it is worth mentioning that the use of cannabis is very popular among young New Zealanders, which increases the possibility to get a substance use disorder. Cannabis use has a ruining power on the whole organism and on the brain in particular. So, teachers, parents, and government representatives should take serious measures in order to decrease the percentage of cannabis users. 9
  • SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER 10 References Buckner, J. D., Ecker, A. H., Cohen, A. S. (2010). Mental Health Problems and Interest in Marijuana-using College Students. Addictive Behaviors, 35, p. 826-833. Fergusson, D. M., Horwood, L. J., Ridder, E. M. (2007). Conduct and Attentional Problems in Childhood and Adolescence and Later Substance Use, Abuse and Dependence: Results of a 25-year Longitudinal Study. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, S14-S26. Gillespie, N. A., Neale, M. C., Kendler, K. S. (2009). Pathways to Cannabis Abuse: a Multistage Model from Cannabis Availability, Cannabis Initiation and Progression to Abuse. Richmond, VA, USA: Virginia Commonwealth University, Departments of Psychiatry. Goodwin, R. D., Fergusson, D. M., & Horwood, L. J. (2004). Association between Anxiety Disorders and Substance Use Disorders among Young Persons: Results of a 21-year Longitudinal Study. Journal of Psychiatric Research, 38, p. 295-304. Kuntsche, E. (2010). When Cannabis is Available and Visible at School – A Multilevel Analysis of Students’ Cannabis Use. Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, 17(6), p 681-688. Oshri, A., Rogosch, F. A., Burnette, M. L. (2011). Developmental Pathways to Adolescent Cannabis Abuse and Dependence: Child Maltreatment, Emerging Personality, and Internalizing Versus Externalizing Psychopathology. Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 25(4), p. 634-644. Primack, B. A., Kraemer, K. L., Fine, M. J., ‘’ (2009). Media Exposure and Substance Use: Media Exposure and Alcohol Use among Adolescents. Substance Use & Misuse, 44, p. 722-739.
  • SUBSTANCE USE DISORDER 11 Pradier, M., Gorwood, P., Beaufils, B., ‘’ (2010). Influence of the Serotonin Transporter Gene Polymorphism, Cannabis and Childhood Sexual Abuse on Phenotype of Bipolar Disorder: A Preliminary Study. European Psychiatry, 25, p. 323-327. Redonnet, B., Chollet, A., Fombonne, E., ‘’ (2012). Tobacco, Alcohol, Cannabis and Other Illegal Drug Use among Young Adults: the Socioeconomic Context. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 121, p. 231 – 239. Stone, A. (2012). How Cannabis Blunts Teenage Brains. Available at Substance Use Disorders. Chapter 10: Etiology of Substance Use Disorders, p. 308-316. Substance Use Disorders. Chapter 10: Treatment of Substance Use Disorders, Prevention of Substance Use Disorders p. 324-331.