The Psychological Basis
for Drug Abuse and Dependence

    An individual's initiation of drug use is obviously not due to a person's desire to feel miserable when the drug is absent.  The individual begins drug use because he or she wants to feel good, escape bad feelings, or perhaps for other social reasons.  Due to psychological reinforcement of the addict's behavior, it is extremely difficult to change, to the point where addiction can be seen as permanent.
    Certain psychological explanations can be made for a person's eventual addiction, which can be independent of physical dependence. Positive and negative reinforcement, along with classical conditioning are additional reasons for an individual's addiction.
    Sustaining drug use is not always dependent on the individual's fear of the consequences of withdrawl.  Heroin addicts often become re-addicted (between 56 and 77% in one case study), even after the physical withdrawl symptoms have been defeated through abstinence. Individuals may perpetuate their abuse of a drug because they crave the pleasurable effects of the drug, or because they feel that they need it in order to function.

Please visit the following the links to explore this topic:
Positive Reinforcement
Negative Reinforcement
Classical Conditioning

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