Sample Psychology Research Paper on Substance and Drug Abuse

When I was a child, my parents argued and fought time and again. I never understood the concept of happiness to the endless series of quarrels between my parents. I could not comprehend why my parents were not like my friends’ parents. Even though we lived under the same roof, the term ‘unity’ seemed distant. My father assumed the role of my mother who was absent most of the time, as she would always arrive drunk and late. Overtime, I began analyzing the root cause of my parent’s constant disagreements, which never seemed to fade away. Hapless and sad as I was, I began developing an introverted behavior and regarded friends as aliens. Being the only child who had to witness her mother’s embarrassing behavior, negatively affected me emotionally and mentally. I remember vividly asking my father why he and my mother constantly fought. It was then that he shared that my mother was an alcohol addict and that, although they had tried to save their marriage, he is doubtful that the marriage would last. All efforts to reduce my mother’s drinking spree were in vain. After two months, my father called it quits as he later sought to be legally divorced from my mother. I was given the custody of my father whose marriage became legally terminated. It has been 10 years since I left with my father to begin life afresh. Even though it hasn’t been easy growing up in absence of my mother, I am enthusiastic to know that she went for rehabilitation and received treatment. Having experienced a fractured family, I can clearly attest that alcohol addiction has severe health, mental, social and economic side effects. My choice to study Psychology stems from my personal experience with an alcoholic mother. I hope to channel hope to the hapless by conveying the best preventive and psychological interventions that would help a vast majority of drug addicts.

Over the past decade, there has been an alarming rise in the number of alcohol addicts worldwide. The endless increase in health and social problems associated with uncontrolled alcohol consumption has sparked a lot of heated debate. With the advent of breweries, most teenagers are today able to access the forbidden drink without much struggle. Thus, alcohol abuse is not only a matter affecting the adults but also children who are below the age of 18 years. Alcoholism is thereby described as the psychosocial dependence on alcohol that is characterized by one’s inability to control the start and termination of his consumption (Rane 9). Alcoholism is simply regarded as an addiction is a chronic disease that is characterized by an individual’s strong craving for alcohol and his inability to limit or stop alcohol consumption. As a consequence, a vast majority of the alcoholics suffer from liver cirrhosis, bipolar among other diseases (Sturm 2). Aside from this, most alcoholics face adverse social consequences that would normally manifest in form of impaired relationships, divorce and single parenthood. It is clear that most alcoholics spend obscene amount of money to purchase alcohol products. Consequently, many alcoholics would end up languishing in poverty whilst some would often lose their primary source of income due to undesirable and willful misconduct. In essence, alcoholism does not only cause harm to the individual but to the family and the entire society at large. Even though this is a problem, many alcoholics hesitate to get treatment as they would remain in constant denial.

Approximately nineteen million Americans suffer from alcohol addiction. The number of alcoholics is projected to further increase as a result of most underage Americans joining the drinking spree population (Argyriou et al. 2). The effects of alcohol abuse have worsened overtime due to the dramatic rise in the total annual mortality rates. Aside from death, most alcoholics have had to endure exacerbating pains arising from a plethora of medical side effects such as; liver cirrhosis, loss of vision and disability resulting from alcohol-related accidents. The adverse effect of alcohol abuse has in turn served as an economic burden to the government which has to put an additional budget on various effective medical treatments and interventions.

Alcoholism as an addiction has become more prevalent and severe among the youths aged between 16 to 40 year old adults. In contemporary American society, it is no news for young people to engage themselves in some form of experimentation with drugs and alcohol. Even though some would discontinue the use of those substances after experimentation, many would start developing the habit of taking the illicit substances and with time, they will eventually be hooked to such substances. As a consequence, most alcohol addicts develop certain unpleasant behavior that usually leads to failure, broken relationships and poverty. It is with this profound reason that alcohol abuse is today viewed as an important health problem that has resulted into high morbidity and mortality rates worldwide.  In order to curb and mitigate the side effects of alcoholism, certain strategies physiological interventions have been initiated by the experts(McCrady 235). The primary goal of these interventions is to prevent the progression to alcohol addiction. Additionally, these interventions may serve to reverse the behavioral patterns associated with alcoholism and other drug abuse. Some of the psychological interventions that have been effective in limiting alcohol consumption by the once hapless victims include the following;

Cognitive behavioral treatment is renowned as one of the best psychotherapeutic interventions for drug and substance abuse. This kind of therapy has proved to be eminently effective as they are compatible with a range of pharmacotherapies. Moreover, cognitive behavioral therapy not only fosters but enhances the efficacy of pharmacotherapy. Cognitive behavioral treatment theorizes behavior as being directly influenced by cognitive processes. This approach focuses on modifying an addict’s irrational thoughts and negative attitude towards life. Cognitive behavior therapy serves as a fundamental tool used to prevent the progression of a lapse to a full-blown alcohol addiction (McCrady 235). This therapy employs different approaches such as; promotion of non-drug activities and relaxation trainings. Cognitive behavioral treatment is thereby recognized as an effective form of psychosocial treatment for alcohol and substance abuse.

Motivational interviewing involves vigorous counseling in an attempt to initiate behavior change that would ultimately befit the addict. This is a client-centered approach that has proved to be effective in reducing drug and alcohol abuse by the clients. According to research, motivational interviewing assists drug addicts to explore and resolve their ambivalence on alcohol and substance abuse (Wagner 168). Additionally, this approach enables the addicts to adapt to positive psychological and behavioral changes (Satre et al. 571). According to several research studies, at least 32 motivational interview trials have effectively enabled addicts to adhere to the prescribed treatment measures. However, motivational interviewing works best in conjunction to other psychosocial interventions (Wagner 166).

It is evidently clear that most alcoholics have an underlying psychiatric problem that drives them into having uncontrolled and unlimited alcohol consumption. Thus, it is essentially vital for the medical practitioners to introduce psychological interventions alongside other medical treatments. Research has showed that alcohol abuse is largely associated with psychological problems such as low self-esteem and limited interpersonal skills. Psychological interventions may thereby bear fruits if the alcoholic victim changes his knowledge and attitude whist also attempting to overcome his/her personal and interpersonal deficits.


Argyriou, Evangelia, et al. “Age and impulsive behavior in drug addiction: A review of past research and future directions.” Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior (2017).

McCrady, Barbara S. “Alcohol Use Disorders: Treatment and Mechanisms of Change.” Treatments for Psychological Problems and Syndromes (2017): 235.

Rane, Anil, et al. “Psychosocial interventions for addiction-affected families in Low and Middle Income Countries: A systematic review.” Addictive Behaviors (2017).

Satre, Derek D., et al. “A randomized clinical trial of Motivational Interviewing to reduce alcohol and drug use among patients with depression.” Journal of consulting and clinical psychology 84.7 (2016): 571.

Sturm, Roland. “The effects of obesity, smoking, and drinking on medical problems and costs.”Health affairs (2017).

Wagner, Andrew J., et al. “Increasing follow-up outcomes of at-risk alcohol patients using motivational interviewing.” Journal of Trauma Nursing 23.3 (2016): 165-168.