Negative Reinforcement

Negative reinforcement plays a large role in addiction.  Negative reinforcement is the reduction or termination of an averse stimulus in response to a certain behavior.  A person may feel pain or depressing emotions due to many things in every day life, from stress to actual physical pain.  If a person begins taking drugs to escape this pain or to positively change their mental state, they are avoiding the painful stimuli of every day life.  This aversion is a negatively reinforced response.  Their behavior of taking a drug is repeated in order to avoid what they feel is a painful stimulus.

    Withdrawl is a result of the body's compensatory physical changes in response to a drug.  They are essentially the opposite effects of the drug itself.  These changes involve mechanisms which are enhanced over time to essentially fight the effects of the drug.  These changes include a desensitization to the drug, and and effect involving classical conditioning.

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