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Research Paper Sample: Nature and Nurture in Drug Abuse

4 pages
1046 words
Carnegie Mellon University
Type of paper: 
Research paper
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by our professional essay writers.

Ideally, the debate on nature and nurture in drug abuse addiction has existed for a very long time. For instance, in the history of psychology, we have had conflicting ideas on what causes the addition of drug abuse between nature and nature. Arguably, it is very hard to determine whether the development of a person is predisposed in his DNA or by the impact of his experiences in life and environment. Besides, contemporary psychologists are aware that nature and nurture are key elements in the development of human beings but have not decided whether the phenomenon is majorly affected by nature or nurture. Therefore, the paper seeks to explore the how nature and nurture influences an individual to be drug abuse addict or not.

Foremost, nature is denoted by inborn characteristics which influence the personality of an individual. The inborn characteristics may be brought about by the coding of genes in the human cells to determine the traits possessed by an individual. The gene coding determines the physical characteristics such as eye color, height as well as other traits (Bevilacqua & Goldman, 2009). Nature explains why people are drug addicts while others are not. The characters could be inherited from parents to a child which means that if both or a single parent was a drug addict, then it follows that their children will also be vulnerable to substance abuse (S., G., & S, 2015). Arguably, behavioral genes can be inherited whereby the bizarre behavior of parents can be passed to their children too. On the other hand, nurture is the kind of environment where an individual is raised. Psychologists assert that nurture theory opines that character traits can be brought about by the influence of genes, but environmental factors cause most of the behavioral characteristics. Mostly, it includes the use of conditioning to show a new behavior to a child or rather to change his or her original behavior.

Further, contemporary psychologists in their incessant debate on nature versus nurture argue that environmental learning is the main cause of drug abuse among people in the world. Additionally, they opined that parents could train their children to show bad or good behavior depending on the kind of behavior they choose. For instance, identical twins could show different behavioral traits if raised in a different environment (Kendler, Ohlsson, Sundquist & Sundquist, 2015). This explains why one of the twins could be a drug addict while the other one is morally upright. Therefore, nurture plays key roles in drug abuse as witnessed in the above example. Nature influences an individual to be drug addicts thereby engaging in drug abuse. The rationale behind the argument is that many genes are responsible for addiction characteristics portrayed by individuals. Addiction, as explained by nature theory can be inherited from parents. For example, in a family where most of the people demonstrate a high level of drug abuse, their children have high chances of inheriting the genetic disorder from them.

Moreover, genetic studies show that people are at risk of developing addiction behavior while still at their tender age. Children may inherit a genetic predisposition for drug abuse from their parents, but it is also worth noting that others may not develop drug abuse disorder even if the parents are veteran addicts to drugs. Some genes make some people become drug abusers because they may have that genetic predisposition which compels them to try different types of drugs (Silverman, 2004). Ideally, you could be predisposed to keep returning to the activities that they find them more pleasurable while they are still aware of the harmful effects they subject to themselves. Nature which is brought about by genetic influence plays a major role in drug abuse among people in the contemporary world.

Additionally, nature and nature is intertwined because the effects of genetics and environment prove difficult to separate. For instance, children may inherit the behavioral traits of their parents or grow up in a conducive environment for drug abuse. Nevertheless, children may be raised in a family where they see their parents abusing drugs and therefore copy their characters because they consider them as role models. There is the complexity of the interplay between genetics and environment in that people are unable to control genes as well as some environmental factors.

Lastly, operant conditioning is the second learning principle plays various roles drug abuse (Tomkins & Sellers, 2001). Arguably, when a certain behavior is rewarded it increases and vice versa and therefore a substance is addictive if it rewards the individual. Proponents of operant conditioning argue that when certain behavior is rewarded it consequently increases. Therefore, an addictive substance like drugs are rewarding, and this makes individual to learn them (Silverman, 2004) quickly. Arguably, the initial pleasure and enjoyment when taking drugs makes an individual feel motivated and immediately learn the behavior thereby becoming addict to drugs. Moreover, if punishment happens immediately an individual starts abusing drugs, automatically he or she will be demotivated, and therefore drug addiction will not be developed. For instance, if an individual starts abusing alcohol and the side effects starts at the initial stages of learning, the victim will be prevented from further consumption.

To conclude, nature, nurture and operant conditioning are instrumental in preventing or motivating an individual to start abusing drugs. They play dominant roles in drug abuse because they explain how an individual can be a drug abuser or not.



Bevilacqua, L., & Goldman, D. (2009, April). Genes and Addictions.

Drug abuse in households and communities: Multi-level modeling of a Swedish national sample. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology: The International Journal for Research in Social and Genetic Epidemiology and Mental Health Services,50(8), 1277-1284. doi:10.1007/s00127-015-1030-5

Kendler, K., Ohlsson, H., Sundquist, K., & Sundquist, J. (2015). Environmental clustering of

N., U., R., S., & K. (2012). Epigenetics of drug abuse: Predisposition or response. Pharmacogenomics, 13(10), 1149-60. doi:10.2217/pgs.12.94

S., G., & S. (2015). Personal, familial and environmental determinants of drug abuse: A causal-comparative study. Global Journal of Health Science, 7(4), 367-74. doi:10.5539/gjhs.v7n4p367

Tomkins, D. M., & Sellers, E. M. (2001, March 20). Addiction and the brain: the role of neurotransmitters in the cause and treatment of drug dependence.

Silverman, K. (2004). Exploring the limits and utility of operant conditioning in the treatment of drug addiction. The Behavior Analyst, 27(2), 209-230.



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