Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Effect of Drugs on the Brain: Why People Who Use Drugs Cannot Remember Information over Time

As a tutor, you need to be aware of the effects of drugs on the brain. This is important because, at some point in your tutoring career, you will encounter clients who may be using drugs. While this does not typically occur with young children, but it does occur when working with adult learners. They do not always divulge this type of information, so please be careful. 

The last thing that you want is a bad reputation due to something that you had no control over, which is in your client’s personal lives. Therefore, you should definitely ask this question on your client intake form for adults and keep it on file. 

This will serve two purposes: (a) to better understand how to help the client; and (b) to protect your tutoring practice. Since this form is confidential anyways, no one will know about it except you.

Let’s take a closer look at what drugs can do to the brain.

Drugs have venomous tentacles that suck out the life of a person and do not let the person be in the right frame of mind. Some of the effects of drugs on the brain are:

  • Drugs like heroine make the brain cells addicted and control a person to such an extent that he starts depending on them for performing daily functions.
  • Drugs entice users by giving a pleasurable feeling and finally turning them into addicts.
  • Marijuana not only hampers short-term memory, but also prevents a marijuana user from retaining current episodes in the long term memory.
  • Drugs like cocaine makes a person lose interest in life, family, friends, and recreational activities.
  • Drugs can increase respiration, blood pressure, heartbeat, and even cause hypothermia. They also cause weight loss, anxiety, insomnia, dental problems, delusion, and violent behavior.

Why People Get Hooked to Drugs

As against the natural process, drugs increases the dopamine level to 2 to 10 times more than the normal amount. This effect motivates people to take more drugs in order to enjoy the euphoric feeling.

How Drugs Disrupt the Brain

Drugs attack the brain by bombarding it with dopamine. Dopamine, a neurotransmitter that controls the emotions, movement, cognition, and feelings of bliss, when triggered in excess enhances the ecstatic feeling fooling people into taking them repeatedly. When the brain is continuously flooded by dopamine along with other neurotransmitters, the brain reduces the number of dopamine receptors. As excess of anything is bad, the brain identifies it as an abnormal activity and restricts the flow of these neurotransmitters.  Therefore, the pleasurable feeling reduces leading to depression in drug abusers.

Now the second phase kicks in where drug abusers take the drug to bring the dopamine  back to normal level, and in order to get the high euphoric feeling they take larger amounts of the drug.

The long-term effect of subjecting the brain cells to neurotransmitters like dopamine leads to reduced cognitive ability, uncontrolled longings, addiction, and makes the abuser incapable of making sound decisions. Contimuous drug abuse interferes with the critical functions that are carried by the brain. 

How do you handle such situations in your tutoring practice? 

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