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Motivation and the Brain Paper

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Motivation and the Brain Paper

Paul R. Smith



Instructor: Anna Cochrane

Motivation and the Brain Paper

        The brain is a very powerful part of the body that has Reponses that stem from decisions we make.  If the brain is addicted to substances the reactions are different depending on if we take the substance or if we refrain from taking the substance.  If we take the substance in question the brain becomes flooded with neurotransmitters such as dopamine that is located in the pleasure centers of the brain.  If we don’t take the substance the brain could go into what is called withdraw that can cause some real scary side effects for the user.  The user is constantly tormented with the decision to continue taking the substance in question or to refrain from the drug use and try to begin the recovery process.  In this paper I am going to explain how the brain responds to the decision to refrain from taking the substance that is so very addictive.  I will evaluate the influence of intrinsic and extrinsic factors such as heredity and environment, on the motivation to engage in refraining from taking the substance in question.

        When a person abuses drugs it causes changes in the structure of the brain and how the brain works.  Some of the changes occur when the substance taps into the brains communication system and disrupts the way nerve cells normally send, receive, and process information.  There are two ways that drugs can achieve this, one by imitating the brains natural chemical messengers and second by overstimulating the reward circuit of the brain.  As a person continues to abuse the substance the brain adapts to the dopamine surges by producing less dopamine or reducing dopamine receptors.  This forces the user to keep taking more and more in order for the normal amount of dopamine to be released and to have normal function of the brain.  This is where it can become very unpleasant if the drug were to become unavailable to the user causing withdraw symptoms that can be painful and even dangerous.

        During the life of addicts there will come a time where they simply don’t want the substance to control their life anymore and will refrain from taking it.  This is a great step and a turning point in the life of an addict.  Refraining from taking a substance that you have took for a long period is going to be difficult to achieve considering all of the changes that will occur in the brain.  When your brain is used to a substance being present and suddenly it’s not there you will go into withdraw.  This puts the brain in a state of shock and causes changes in neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine.  Some factors that will have to be addressed are heredity and environmental situations.  If a person addicted to a substance is going to successfully stop taking them they need to be in an environment where there is no drugs around and no one else is taking them.  If they are around it temptations and cravings are going to cause that person to possibly give in and take the substance.  Genetics can also play a part in how hard it is for an addict to quit taking drugs because if any of your immediate family member are also addicts this can drop a person’s chances of success to a lower rate according to statistics.  There are also extrinsic and intrinsic factors that can ultimately affect the outcome of retraining from drugs.  An example of intrinsic motivation when refraining from drug abuse is when the person wants to stop taking it because he or she no longer wants it to control their life.  They feel that by breaking the hold that the drug has on them will come with a reward at the end even though they may have to suffer through withdraw first.  An extrinsic factor motivating a person to refrain from taking drugs could be that they want to finally be a productive member of society so they can appear more credible and get a job.  These are external rewards that come with refraining from drug abuse.



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