Neuroscience Perspective

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In this essay I will be discussing about the causes of drug abuse from seven perspectives of psychology.
Drug abuse is the state of using drugs habitually. Drug abuse affects every community and life of individual itself and his/her family. According to a research (Dube, 2003) various reasons cause drug abuse, one of them is adverse childhood experiences. These types of experiences lead to the drug abuse problems, drug addiction etc. In this essay we will be discussing seven perspectives of psychology causing drug abuse.

Causes of drug abuse from each of psychology’s seven perspectives:

  • Neuroscience
  • Evolutionary
  • Behavioral genetics
  • Psychodynamic
  • Behavioral
  • Cognitive
  • Social-Cultural

Neuroscience Perspective

First of all, general theory in neuroscience approach of drug abuse is that drugs initiate the reward circuit in the brain and that reward circuit makes the person feel high and he/ she finds pleasure after intake of drugs (Kelley & Berridge,2002). The parts of brain that are involved in reward circuit mechanism are amygdale and hippocampus. Various nerve impulses are released by reward circuit whose mechanisms are still unknown that gives the person feeling of immense pleasure after intake of the drugs. When a person intakes the drugs, inside his brain neurons are sent to the dorsal striatal and cortical areas by the ventral tegmentum(Winger et. al, 2005). These cortical areas are involved in the reward circuit mechanism. Drugs act as the prominent reinforces in reward circuit and it makes the individual feel pleasure in any situation. This feeling of pleasure leads to the drug abuse (Winger et. al, 2005).


Researchers have shown that the drug abuse is related to the evolutionary theory as from the medieval times for seek of pleasure and fun people used to take drugs. Darwin evolution theory suggest the survival of fittest and in case of drug abuse there are many cases in evolution where after taking drugs like cocaine leads to the survival of the human being. Evolutionary care also leads to the drug abuse. According to the evolutionary theory of Darwinian fitness, the drug abuse in the mammalian evolution (Saah, 2005) leads to the increased fitness but not happiness. Positive emotions were considered as a sign of fitness. In evolutionary development, nowadays drug abuse leads to the happiness not fitness. Person has very less reward efficiency and to seek the reward efficiency intake of drugs start. Than there comes difference between like and want and it leads to drug abuse.

Behavioral Genetics Perspective

Behavior genetics is the study of the genetic and the environmental influences on the behavior. A study was done to determine the genetic and environmental influences on the behavior of the adopted children and their parents who adopted them (Cadaret, 1995). This study reveals that the genetic environment and many environmental interactions lead to the aggressive behavior of the subjects. To calm down their aggression they started using drugs and this leads to drug abuse.

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