Essay Sample on Effects of Addiction on One's Psychology

Published: 2023-03-06
Essay Sample on Effects of Addiction on One's Psychology
Type of paper:  Research paper
Categories:  Depression Anxiety disorder Mental disorder Substance abuse Psychological disorder
Pages: 6
Wordcount: 1510 words
13 min read

Addiction refers to a chronic disorder with psychological, biological, environmental, and social factors that influence its development as well as its maintenance. In most cases, addiction is associated with mental issues even though Samhsa (2012) argues that there is not clear directionality in the relationship. For instance, individuals who suffer from anxiety or mood disorders have high chances of suffering from substance use disorders, while persons who suffer from substance use disorders are more likely to struggle with anxiety or mood disorders. It is still not as vivid as to which issues are causing the other, but the relationship seems to be strong. Psychological distress associated with drug abuse or substance abuse ranges from trivial to severe. At any severity level, the result of the distress may impact adversely on the psychology of the individuals addicted. Samhsa (2012) maintains that addiction commands a significant toll on the addict's psychology. When an individual gets addicted to drugs, they develop a strong desire for the drug that they can't do without it or resist the usage of the drugs despite the negative consequences that the drugs might have caused them. Their brain develops in such a way that it gets used to receiving substances that give it a pleasure. The brain then becomes solely focused on acquiring and making use of more of the drugs or alcohol.

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Kuhar (2015) argued that addiction occurs in the limbic system, which supports emotions and motivations. This has an effect of overriding clear thinking and reasoning. Moreover, addiction might alter brain chemistry. This may consequently interfere with the normal functionality of the brain and hence hinder an individual's ability to making an informed decision. Addiction might lead to subsequent effects in a person's psychology since it interferes with the way the brain works (Davis, Patton, & Jackson, 2018). The focus of this paper is to discuss the effects of addiction on an individual's psychology, environmental aspects associated with addiction, nature of addiction and the strength-based perspectives that have been proven in recovering from and treatment of addiction.

Psychological Effects of Addiction


Addiction may be linked with panic and anxiety disorders. However, the cause of anxiety disorders may significantly vary from one person to another. If individuals have a long-standing drug abuse pattern, then they may develop anxiety disorders. Most substances, mainly cocaine, may result in anxiety that is coupled with dose-dependent side effects (Samhsa, 2012). Furthermore, some drugs, such as benzodiazepines, may have an impact of amplifying anxiety as part of withdrawal syndrome.


Certain drugs such as marijuana and cocaine may result in paranoia feelings that might increase as a result of long-term abuse of the drugs (Samhsa, 2012). Furthermore, individuals who are victims of addiction may try to hide or lie about their usage of drugs and their conditions as a result of fear of being trapped. Besides, since most abused substances are declared illegal, long-term substance users may have increased feeling of paranoia


It is worth noting that substance abuse and depression, as well as other mood disorders, have a clear association. The relationship may be associated with preexisting depression that resulted in drug abuse (Samhsa, 2012). It may also be a result of changes that substance usage brought in the brain hence causing depression. Some individuals make use of drugs to self-medicate depression syndromes. Though this can help in reducing the syndrome only at the time when one is high. Kuhar (2015) argued that this might have an effect on worsening the depression symbols, especially when users are undergoing withdrawals. Most drugs are associated with syndromes that comprise mood disturbances and depression. This can further complicate the recovery process.

Environmental Factors Influencing Addiction


When social interactions of an individual heavily consist of persons who portray alcohol or drug problems, then it may be challenging for one to refrain from copying from the same characteristics. People tend to feel aloof, especially if they are in companies that take drugs when all they can do is just watching (Samhsa, 2012). They tend to have the feeling of lacking a sense of belonging and hence may find themselves engaged in abusing drugs and consequently become addicted. This, therefore, means that the behavior and the attributes of one's friend have a significant effect on other people. This may make individuals engage in drug abuse merely due to peer pressure. Samhsa (2012) claimed that persons with more permissive have a high chance of being influenced by drug abuse.

Social Media

Despite the numerous benefits that social media may have, it is worth noting that it is also associated with some limitations. In scenarios where individuals who have been undergoing a lot of sufferings see other people live a happy life or being attractive on social media, then they may have the feelings of being isolated, ashamed (Samhsa, 2012). This may have a result of lowering an individual's self-esteem hence making them be stressed up. The build-up of the stress may cause such individuals to resort to drugs as a way of alleviating their stress. When an individual continues being in this state for an extended period, then they may find themselves continuing taking drugs hence becoming addicted to time.Learned Environments

Addictions can also be associated with the physical environment. For example, visiting particular places, such as pubs, may lead to some cravings and hence, trigger drug abuse. When one repeats such behaviors, then they may turn to be conditional to particular situations or conditions. This may, therefore, make the habits to be challenging to break. Such physical places may happen to be even more influential if they are associated with drug or alcohol abuse. Samhsa (2012) claimed that experiments like Conditioned Place Preference had proven that expectation of, reaction to, delivery, and effects of drugs could develop after only two exposures to specific settings.

Nature of Addiction

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Addiction is characterized by its compulsive and obsessive nature. Obsessive-compulsive disorder refers to a given kind of anxiety disorder whereby an individual undergoes the experience of repeated thoughts that may lead to irrational anxiety or fear (Samhsa, 2012). Persons with obsessive-compulsive disorders often find themselves involved in compulsive rituals such as hand washing and counting items. The individuals only feel temporarily relieved after executing the routines, but as soon as they stop, their anxiety comes back. This kind of disorder may be very destructive and may hence overtake an individual's life and prevent them from enjoying a normal life. Addiction, just like a compulsion, may provide relief to an individual after anxiety or stress (Samhsa, 2012). Though, it is characterized by the inability to stop the destructive behavior in spite of its adverse consequences. For example, addiction may consist of repeated and unhealthy consumption of drugs and alcohol. These may then turn into habits that any individual would like to repeat severally in spite of their negative consequences. This, therefore, shows that addiction is obsessive and compulsive.

Strength-Based Perspectives for Recovery and Treatment from Addiction

A strength-based perspective approach comprises the mechanism of assisting individuals who have problems related to substance abuse to have access to necessary resources. Individuals who work from strength-based perspectives go by the assumption that everyone has some unique set of competencies, natural resources, and strengths that can be worked on to enable them to overcome certain types of adversities hence improving their life quality (Samhsa, 2012). It is further assumed that irrespective of the challenges or the level at which one is struggling, everyone who needs assistance is presumed to be having a desire for change, personal goals, and the ability to implement the desired change process successfully.

The strength-based perspective is grounded on a variety of key principles. The first principle is a therapeutic encounter. The focus of treatment in this principle is aligned on the strength of the client as opposed to possible or deficit pathologies (Davis et al., 2018). The principle states that an individual's strength may be identified from both within themselves, family, environment, and culture. The other strength-based perspective is where the therapists make use of co-constructed and individually designed goals to aid in meeting certain desires or self-determined needs of the client. From these perspectives, creating collaborative, empowering, and hope-inducing relationships between therapists and clients is the main component of treatment.


Conclusively, addiction has a significant effect on an individual's psychology. It affects the limbic system of the brain and the normal functionality of the brain. Furthermore, it has some psychological effects such as depression, paranoia, as well as causing mental disorders such as anxiety and mood disorders. Moreover, numerous environmental factors may trigger an individual into addiction. Such environmental factors involve friends, social media, as well as the learning environment. Despite the adverse effects of addiction, there are strength-based perspectives measures such as therapeutic encounters that can help in recovery and treatment from addiction.


Samhsa. (2012). Triggers and Cravings (Part 2): The Science of Addiction [Video]. Retrieved from

Davis, P., Patton, R., & Jackson, S. (2018). Addiction: Psychology and Treatment (2nd ed., p. 336). Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Kuhar, M. (2015). The addicted brain (1st ed., p. 237). FT Press.

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