Motivation and the Brain

Motivation and the Brain

Motivation and the Brain: Refraining From Drug Use
University of Phoenix
PSYCH/355
October 15, 2012


Motivation and the Brain: Refraining From Drug Use
Drug addiction within society today has become a big problem. To combat this growing epidemic, research is constantly being done to determine why these behaviors occur and how to refrain from the urge to use psychoactive drugs. Why people do it can be answered simply, because they like the way that psychoactive drugs make them feel. A psychoactive drug is any chemical substance that by affecting the function of the brain alters a person’s behavior and mood (Deckers, 2010). Psychoactive drugs can be anything from caffeine that is obtained by drinking a soda to opiates which are what is in morphine and heroin. In order to refrain from the use of psychoactive drugs, an understanding must be gained about why addictions to these chemicals occur in the first place.

Brain Structures and Functions Associated with Refraining From Drug Use
In order to understand how to refrain from drug use, it is important to first understand why it occurs. Different psychoactive drugs affect the brain and the body in their own specific ways. While some drugs stimulate the central nervous system, such as cocaine and caffeine, causing a more alert and energized feeling, others work as a depressant such as alcohol, which induces relaxation and can lower social inhibitions and stress levels (Deckers, 2010). Despite the fact that many drugs have different effects and can be administered in different ways, they do have a commonality which is the pleasure that is experienced by the brain reward system known as the mesolimbic dopamine system (Deckers, 2010).     Dopamine is the neurotransmitter that fires the neurons that make up the mesolimbic dopamine system and   is also the neurotransmitter that is responsible for behavior reinforcement by providing the rewarding feeling that occurs when a need is met; such as food when hungry...

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