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Discussion Reply: Reply to Each Peer

Discussion 1 Reply to Mayda #1

Hi ,

Thank you for such a thorough post this week on the topic of drug use and the role of the psychologist. In your response, you noted the role of addiction and the challenges that this issue poses for treatment. This is an important issue to consider when reviewing treatment as addiction results in significant physiological changes to the brain and body that may be difficult to overcome. In an effort to better understand this process Waldowski (2016) contends that once illicit drugs enter the body, there are a myriad of biological factors that can influence outcomes. Genetic architecture, according to Waldowski, will influence how the body responds to these substances. Further, drug use will result in molecular and neurological changes that affect how the body reacts to drugs; a process that Waldowski refers to as sensitization. Increased use of a drug will result in biochemical changes in the brain that, in turn, bring about craving and dependence (Waldowski, 2016).

A further review of the physiological changes that occur in the body as a result of drug use is provided by Karim and Chaudhri (2012). In particular, these authors argue that when illicit drugs are introduced into the body a process of neuroadaptation occurs. This adaptation process involves neural circuitry in the brain that is specifically focused on motivation and reward (Karim & Chaudhri, 2012). Scientific research has demonstrated that illicit drugs have the ability to essentially hijack this circuitry altering brain chemistry (Karim & Chaudhri, 2012). When this happens, critical changes in the way that the brain functions results, altering the way in which the individual behaves (Karim & Chaudhri, 2012). It is at this point that a disease develops for the individual; one in which physiological changes in the body require treatment in order to restore the individual to health (Waldowski, 2016). Addressing these components of drug use are clearly challenging as there do not appear to be any interventions or medications that can restore the physiological changes that occur as a result of drug use.


Karim, R., & Chaudhri, P. (2012). Behavioral addictions: An overview. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 44(1), 5-17. doi: 10.1080/02791072.2012.662859

Waldowski, R. A. (2016). From flies to humans: Circadian genes in the neurogenetics of addiction. Psychological Topics, 25(2), 245-262. doi: 10.17352/2455-2283.000038

Discussion 1 Reply to Brenda #2

People use drugs for different effects. For example, when someone is in pain and can’t tolerate the pain, they revert to medicine (drugs) to help alleviate the pain. There are others that take drugs to for pleasure, for that “high” feeling. Like Feldman explains, “There are many reasons, including the perceived pleasure of the experience itself, the escape that a drug-induced high affords from the everyday pressure of life…” (2017. Pg. 153). Once discovering how certain drugs can make you feel no worries for a short amount of time, you then want to stay on them to not feel the stress of everyday life. “In physiological drug dependence, the body becomes so accustomed to functioning in the presence of drug that It cannot function without it.” (2017. Pg. 153). When someone becomes dependent on a drug, then it becomes difficult to treat drug abuse. Addiction is a hard to treat because the person is already dependent on it, and treatment may not always work. With, a role a psychologist can take in a drug treatment program is to have a one on one with the individual dealing with addiction and understand their mind and mentality. To find the root for them reverting to drugs in the first place. Once figuring out the deeper issues, to provide support to the individual and emphasize the negative effects drugs have on the mind and body.

Discussion 2 Reply to Cherish #1

The situation being described sounds like “classical conditioning” and is described as a type of learning that causes a response(stomach growl) due to a stimulator(doorbell ringing). The best way to unlearn the behavior would be for the person to not bring a latte and dough nut every Monday. By understanding what causes the response and cutting off the stimulator, we can better adapt our bodies to change so we do not respond to learned behaviors and can prevent from developing them. (Feldman, 2017) “Conditioning occurs when the neutral stimulus is repeatedly presented just before the unconditioned stimulus. After repeated pairings, the neutral stimulus elicits the same response that the unconditioned stimulus brings about. When this occurs, the neutral stimulus has become a conditioned stimulus, and the response a conditioned response. Learning is not always permanent. Extinction occurs when a previously learned response decreases in frequency and eventually disappears.”

Feldman, R. S. (2017). Understanding Psychology (13th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

Discussion 2 Reply to Tholair #2

Lauren experienced classic conditioning. Unconditioned stimulus would be the weekly treat she received every Monday from her friend and an unconditional response would be Lauren’s stomach growling. The door bell ringing is a conditioned stimulus which lead to her stomach growling. The best way to “unlearn” such behavior would be to continue ringing the door bell on Monday’s without receiving a treat. For example, the extinction method. As Feldman (2017) stated, ” We should keep in mind that extinction can be a helpful phenomenon.” If we make changes in our daily lifestyle, we can control the bad habits and focus more on the good habits.