Addiction And The Realm Of Hungry Ghosts: The Biological Model

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Addiction is a term we hear and see in our society, yet not everyone fully understands the full meaning and struggle behind it. With so many different interpretations of what the word addiction means, often people stigmatize others with addiction without understanding the whole premise ‘why’ some people become addicted which can speak volumes, enabling a better understanding and acceptance . With Media having a very strong influence on people today, it is hard at times to turn away from the constant messages that are being portrayed and what is true versus what is false. Addiction is a serious problem that is happening all around and to better understand why one becomes addicted, one must look at the factors that are associated with it.…show more content…
One aspect of the biological model is the way the brain develops and the chemicals that determine how an individual copes, feels, adapts etc. The book In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction explains the process and importance of parental nurturing stating: Dopamine levels in a baby’s brain fluctuate, depending on the presence or absence of the parent (Mate, 2010). Although Jim’s mother seems caring, she is not very present in his life as she is working a lot. This would explain his lack of structure at home and the absence of a strong male figure in his life can also be assumed to be an issue. If from a young age, our brains are in a developmental stage while learning how to function and adapt to our environment, it is safe to assume that Jim never learned how to cope and consequently supressed his problems. The only outlet for him is writing in his diary, something he doesn’t like sharing with others. Growing up in a lower class family during the 1960s, a time where drugs were at a high, would not have been easy, making him more susceptible to substance abuse, especially tobacco and alcohol. Looking at the development of the brain one could also look at the ongoing debate of nurture versus nature and its effect on an individual. Dr. Paul Keedwell, a consultant psychiatrist at Cardiff University, states:…show more content…
This traumatic event in his life made him feel a sense of loss and emotional pain that he found difficult to deal with. The theme of struggle is evident in this situation and is where we see how Jim does not deal well with his emotions. The emotion he demonstrates is clear from his reaction after viewing his dead friend at church. Him and the boys result to smoking and drinking, something they all turn to which shows the social aspect. Following the death of his best friend he is then faced with the temptation of being lured by an attractive girl when he and his friend go to a girl’s house. It is here, where he is encouraged to take cocaine as she explains it will enhance their sexual experience. This is the first time he tries cocaine and it is clear how quickly he takes a liking of how it makes him feel. He goes from one or twice a week until he finds himself needing it more and more until he becomes dependant. “There is increasing evidence to show that repeated drug administration actually changes the brain itself (especially the reward system (Herie, 2010, p. 5). His brain became wired to the feeling of euphoria giving him a coping mechanism and escape from his reality. He goes from one or twice a week until he finds himself needing it more and more until he eventually becomes dependant. “The less effective our own internal chemical happiness system is, the more driven we are to

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