Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Motivational Interview; Evidence Based Strategy in the Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Academic journal article Ife Psychologia

Motivational Interview; Evidence Based Strategy in the Treatment of Alcohol and Drug Addiction

Article excerpt


What is Drug Addiction?

To answer above question, considerations are given to what is meant by drugs and when addiction could be said to have taken place. The drugs of concern here are psychoactive drugs.

Psychoactive drugs are substances that when ingested interact with the CNS to affect the individual's thoughts, feelings and actions. They affect one's mental process and behavior, perception of reality, level of alertness, response time and perception of the world. WHO 1998 defined Psychoactive drugs as "any chemical substance which, when taken into the body, alters its function physically and /or psychologically". Ikpeme (2010) specifically described it as any substance people consider to be a drug, with the understanding that this will change from culture to culture and from time to time. This definition supposes that psychoactive drugs vary from place to place and from time - do you agree? Does the fact that opium has transformed into a household name in china change its effect on their people who use it and get hooked on it? Or had our acceptance and celebration of alcohol in anyway negate its powerful and damaging effect on our local population especially the youths? However, culture must be considered in order to understand people's affiliation to a particular drug and to achieve effective treatment.

Drug addiction is a direct consequence of continued or prolonged use of these substances for the varied purposes of pleasure, stress/pain amelioration, social/educational disadvantages, peer pressure, experimental use, etc. After years of research and practice in addiction treatment, emphasis continues to be laid on physical causes of addiction. In this view, genetic factors increase the likelihood for an individual to misuse psychoactive substances or to lose control when using them. Neurochemical changes in the brain resulting from substance use then induce continuing consumption, as does the development of physiological dependence (CSAT, 1991). Other theories on the causes or reasons for addictive behavior include spiritual emptiness and meaninglessness, deficits in learning, emotional dysfunction, or psychopathology; other factors are socioeconomic status, cultural and ethnic beliefs, availability of substances, laws and penalties regulating substance use, the norms and rules of families and other social groups as well as parental and peer expectations, modeling of acceptable behaviors, and presence or absence of reinforcers.

Despite all these, over the past decade, substantial research and clinical attention have revealed a more complex relationship between psychiatric and substance abuse disorders and symptoms. Specifically, substance use can cause psychiatric symptoms and mimic psychiatric disorders; substance use can prompt or worsen the severity of psychiatric disorders; substance use can mask psychiatric disorders and symptoms; withdrawal from severe substance dependence can precipitate psychiatric disorders; psychiatric and substance abuse disorders can coexist; and psychiatric disorders can produce behaviors that mimic ones associated with substances use problems (CSAT, 1994; Landiy et al., 1991).

Behavioral psychologists have explained substance use as a learned behavior that is repeated in direct relation to the quality, number, and intensity of reinforces that follow each episode of use (McAuliffe and Gordon, 1980). It is on the principle that reinforced behaviors would be repeated that addiction is based. Substance abusers are positively reinforced initially by the drugs of interest themselves and then by their powerful effect on the central nervous system. Addicts can also be positively reinforced by social factors such as peer group acceptance, notoriety, etc. negative reinforces include lessened anxiety, pain or stress and elimination of withdrawal symptoms.

Hence, drug addiction is a complex illness characterized by compulsive, and at times, uncontrollable drug craving, seeking, and use that persist even in the face of extreme negative consequences (TREATNET, 2008). …

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