Motivation to Refrain from Drugs

Motivation to Refrain from Drugs

Motivation for Refraining from Drugs
Cindy Torres
Psy/355
Monday, June 4, 2012
Julie Fenyk

Motivation for Refraining from Drugs
There are several things that influence brain structures and functions associated with the motivation to refrain from the use of drugs. Important factors are intrinsic and extrinsic motivation, heredity and the environment. Motivation can be challenging. In order for a person to change their behavior, an individual’s internal point of view and external forces must be considered. Environmental and biological factors play a role in a person’s desire to refrain from the use of drugs. However, brain structures and functions of the brain related to motivation play a bigger role in the ability to do so.
Brain Structures and Functions
The Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines addictions as a “compulsive need for and use of a habit-forming substance characterized by tolerance and by well-defined physiological symptoms upon withdrawal; persistence compulsive use of a substance known by the user to be harmful.” The human brain releases chemicals called neurotransmitters when we feel pain or pleasure. For example, a person touches a hot stove and immediately our brain registers the pain and tells us to remove our hand. This is a survival mechanism. Not only does pain cause us to react, but the neurotransmitters released also serve to reinforce this behavior whenever we react by avoiding it (painful stimulus). Our brain forms a neural pathway connecting perceptions to our reactions (Cooper 2010).
When we feel pleasure, neurotransmitters called endorphins are released into our brains. For example, when we eat, it causes a happy feeling and the endorphins are sent out. We form different reactions for different substances. With the use of drugs such as heroin, the chemical itself cuts out our natural endorphins and act as our pleasure neurotransmitters. This does not automatically make a person addicted to the substance. But rather, it...

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