Drug addiction is very interesting if seen in simple terms of behavior economics and equation systems. Intrigue comes naturally considering its connection to science and math. In world with millions of exceptions and point of views, these fields of study tend to be as black and white as possible.
Although great power comes with exploration of causation, it also comes with simplicity. See, drugs can easily be math problems, from the right perspective. The body is the equation and the drugs being plugged in are variables. There is a clear distinction on one variable -like drugs- causing a reaction in the body.
Vice versa, the body learns to get the reaction through the variable. Every person is seemingly equipt with a rationale to weigh the cost and benefits of scenarios. In other words, this is the self-control that is used to make beneficial choices. This falls short in people with problems with impulse control.
People who abuse drugs tend to be tempted in rewards that immediately available. Users have made the association with the variable and the reward. It is more tempting because the reward is regularly inaccessible. Most prohibited or taboo subjects in our current society have a lot to do with availability and the disruption of normal acquisition. This is seen in elusive wealth, sex and our main interest for this paper, good feelings and euphoria, consequently obtained through drugs. Because of the nature of this emotional manipulation, the effects afterword tend to be unhealthy and problematic for users.
It can throw off many aspects of human capacity. Learning occurs in several forms. The most common thought of learning is in the standard classroom. However it is also observed in the general nature of human living and growing. The processes in which our brain creates associations and connections is the focus here. Environmental factors are going to take the most importance for this paper. Through the nurture lense, factors outside of the natural human state are shaping and creating the user. A potent factor are drugs.
Drugs are involved in operant conditioning situations. Taking a pill is the instrument to achieve the desired results which is the high. Drugs have a notorious reputation for taking a toll on chronic users. From the toll it has for physical health like heart complications and psychological health like prolonged delusions, the warning risk of use is largely publicised. There are programs and public service announcements that denounce the use of drugs via the use of fear tactics.
Analogies and statistics are used to show the public why drugs are not a good idea. School systems implemented things like D.A.R.E which urged kids to enthusiastically reject the use of drugs or suffer awful consequences. There are obvious conversations that go on regarding drugs and emotion. These tend to be emotional reactions while on the drugs. It seems intriguing knowing the emotions that come with taking drugs.
Emotion is a main reinforcer for the continuous use of drugs regardless of the harmful consequences that come with indulging in the high. Emotions are explained as ‘ways of being’, and as ‘holistic episodes that include physiological, psychological, and behavioural aspects. Schutz et al., 2006). Emotion being a mental process, like the others affected by drug use, is evidently affected too.
Humanistic, constructivist and sociocultural approaches all acknowledge the importance of emotion in learning (Naude, 2014). The relationship of learning and emotion has been mentioned by the early Greek philosophers like Aristotle, by influential psychologists like Wilhelm Wundt and by innovative educators like Maria Montessori (Hascher, 2010). Although the connection has been pointed out, there is not much information that is known. Knowing the nature of both these subjects, it can be easier to examine how they interact together.
Emotion drives attention which is a fundamental part of learning. Memorization has a lot to do with learning. Memories are contextual and negative emotion can impact that aspect of the tone in which they are encoded.
The focus of substance abuse and the emotional manipulation that comes with it tends to be during the of highs or trips but considering the detriment done after the abuse, the greatest concern should revolve around the toll on emotional health seen once in abstinence periods. Problems with emotional health stem from many outlets and then appears in many ways in the emotional processing. Emotions have a great deal to do with learning. They effect on outlook of the future and the momentum for the days ahead.
For this paper, the focus will be on the nurture side of the great debate of human learning. The root of learning is focus on change. These changes are behavioral occurrences that are influenced but past experiences. It coincides a lot with conditioning.
Information is internalized and embedded into an arsenal of knowledge. This pool of facts and intelligence then guides future direction. Because of things like learning by insight, for example the approach by Gordon Bower, we see that a single experience can alter perception of learning. Bower explains that some learning is experienced as a transition from ignorance to knowledge in a single trial. From this information, considering distorted illusion happens frequently in unhealthy situations, it is alarming to consider that it can be learned from a one time situation.
The process of information flow including the neurons and the neural activity are also a part of learning. The brain relies on neurotransmitters to convey messages from neuron to neuron. These neurotransmitters bind to receptors on postsynaptic membranes. The process of this allows the brain to communicate with other parts of itself. The way these chemicals travel are crucial for learning efficiently and processing information which then will produce the necessary response.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s capacity to rewire, strengthening pathways between neurons that are exercised and used while weakening connections between cellular pathways that are not used or retrieved. Perception is key with neuroplasticity. There are multiple categories of drugs available. The positive effects of consumption are usually greater than the negative effects for some users. The following information is according to the NIDA. Alcohol consumption can damage the brain and most body organs.
Areas of the brain that are especially vulnerable to alcohol-related damage are the cerebral cortex, the hippocampus, and the cerebellum. Marijuana increases heart rate, can harm the lungs, and can increase the risk of psychosis in those with an underlying vulnerability. Inhalants are extremely toxic and can damage the heart, kidneys, lungs, and brain. Even a healthy person can suffer heart failure and death within minutes of a single session of prolonged sniffing of an inhalant. Cocaine abuse can lead to severe medical consequences related to the heart and the respiratory, nervous, and digestive systems. Meth effects are particularly long lasting and harmful to the brain. Amphetamines can cause high body temperature and can lead to serious heart problems and seizures. Ecstasy (mdma) can increase body temperature, heart rate, blood pressure, and heart wall stress.
Ecstasy may also be toxic to nerve cells. Heroin slows respiration and its use is linked to an increased risk of serious infectious diseases, especially when taken intravenously. Even with the high risk potential, there is a multiple million users nationwide doing drugs. Most highs are euphoric in nature.That makes users willing to consume unhealthy substances in order to receive the reward of the high. Euphoria creates a dependence in the brain.
Drugs that create things like dopamine make it so the brain is trained to no longer feel the need to create that specific chemical for itself. The drug is the new source of dopamine; the brain adapts knowing that the chemical will be available without it needing to use effort to make it. The type of neurotransmitter/neuro chemical that is manipulated is dependent of the drug used. When drugs create euphoria feeling there is a greater chance of dependence. The onset of emotions as well as the types of emotions are determined by the route of administration too. ;;With interest in substance abuse and the detriment revolving around chemical dependency in the body, many effects can be seen after long term use.
There are many chronic physiological and psychological problems that come after the consistent use of psychoactive drugs. Drug abuse has been linked to depression and schizophrenia. In the physical sense, blood pressure and lung disease can occur. However, from this wide range of changes, the topic of emotions after chronic substance abuse has not been made prominent.
It is important to consider how emotional health adds up after being subjected to years of psychoactive drugs. The limbic system is damaged through the use of drugs. This is where emotion is largely stored.
The drug addiction can also be thought as a trauma to the person. There are multiple reasons why the users are down after the fact. Users will be preoccupied thinking about the possibility of using and debating the validity of their choices to quit. Anxiety can come in two ways.
One of those being the unsettling fear of the future without their preferred coping mechanism, in this case it being the drug. The second source of anxiety could be of the consequences of their long term use now in their sober state. The comparison to the emotions felt when on the substance, will be astronomically different when sober. The feeling of true emotions and the level of its intensity will not be the same as when high. For example, this regards feeling happiness in the midst of mundane activities. After experiencing the good feeling while under the influence, it will be hard for the user to accustom the sober good feeling and identify it as the new scale of euphoria.
When on the drug, the scale of euphoria availability is distorted. The good feeling is exponentially larger under the influence of these drugs. There is an unfulfilling sensation. These true sober emotions will also include negative ones that perhaps were not experienced when using. Low self-esteem in general gives the users a hard time. To become a drug addict there has to be a loss of self-control.
Users can experience shame after the drug abuse and the consequences that came from it. There are usual adverse effects to regular day to day life which will cause negative emotions. Things like loss of job and loss of relationships that come from substance abuse maybe cause depressed emotions. Drug addiction impairs emotion recognition (Reay et al., 2006). Emotion recognition is extremely necessary for prosocial behavior as well as normal socialization and interaction (Blair, 2003).
As we will see these are important factors for social learning. Considering that drug addiction has a negative impact on emotional health, we can further explore what that means for human learning by connecting the nature of these three topics. Many studies find that current moods influence the way remembering and event perception are manifested. Expectations become reality and are then remembered as such.
When input is interpreted negatively no action is created so then learning is not done. Through neuroplasticity we know that perception strengthens and weakens aspects of learning through experience. Both emotion and learning share a brain structure. The limbic system is the regulator for both thought and feeling.
Because of this, positive emotions are needed for clear thinking and good decision making. A drug damaged limbic system obstructs this relationship. Damaged prefrontal cortex can cause problems to decision making (Verdejo-Garcia et al., 2007).
For more efficient learning, a well functioning emotional backbone is needed. Emotional regulation is needed to remember, retrieve, transfer, and connect all new information to what is already know. A classroom setting, where learning is more blatant, emotions importance can be clearly seen. Emotional awareness is described in large part by understanding of emotions as well as identifying the emotions of others (Perkan, 2005). This comes into play with learning because when perceived empathy for the learner, from the teacher, increases their motivation in learning (Perez-Marin & Pascual, 2013). This recognition facilitates the acquisition of knowledge. A student with impaired ability to recognize emotion, as one with a history of drug abuse has, will not reap the benefits of this finding. The student’s emotional states can redirect their attention focus and regulate their behavior in a learning situation (Shen et.
al. 2009). In their research, Trigwell et al. 2012, found a correlation between positive emotions, deeper learning approaches and higher achievement scores. Anxiety leads to avoidance behavior. Anxious students will leave the learning process to a teacher, someone who they see as more competent, instead of taking personal responsibility themselves (Obergessie). Depression causes focusing to become extremely difficult for several reasons. It can be so hard to make the users believe that they are capable of succeeding, and also make them care enough about it to be focused.
Lowered emotional health can misalign the needed foundation for a better learning experience. Social learning is also affected. This is an obvious place to begin looking at learning because so much of the process of planning and follow-through of day to day life is affected by the emotional response beforehand.
Emotion can affect ex users ability create new lifestyle learning. The foundation needs to be a positive one emotionally before the user can create a better life for themselves and learn how to function normally again. This normal functioning can be in aspects such as self improvement, relationship reinforcement and financial securement. Emotional effects of drug addiction have long lasting consequences just as the physical effects do.
It is important to consider treatment of emotions for the benefit of human learning after drug abuse.