Why cognitive processes are impaired by illegal drugs

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Thomas Gould's paper "Addiction and Cognition" that appeared in the "PMC" journal in the National Library of Medicine of the United States is the research article for this paper. The article explores the drug abuse process and the effect on an individual's learning. The author discusses through research how opioid exposure progresses into an addiction, how the body is unable to work without narcotics, and how it works up the desire to take more drugs. He also explores how addiction interferes with vital cognitive processes, including thought, memory, concentration, judgment, and management of impulses (Gould, 2010). The point made by Gould on the multistage approach to addiction was made particularly well, in my opinion. The author explains the first stage where the user occasional use of drugs gets aggravated and the second stage in which sees the individual have issues detaching from the drug use and experience alteration sin their cognitive processes including decision-making. Both these stages are important in understanding the effect of substance abuse on cognition and decision making.

I think the author made this point particularly well because he was able to point out specifically how addiction interferes with the basic cognitive processes. These include memory, attention, difficulty in recognizing speech patterns. The process of learning involves neuron activity of formation of new patterns or strengthening of old patterns. This process is interrupted with substance abuse (Gould, 2010). Additionally, I find this point well-made due to the fact that the author refers to similar research and scholars such as Feltenstein and See (2008) which gives his position credibility.


Gould, T. J. (2010). Addiction and cognition. PMC, 4-14. Retrieved from Addiction and Cognition

July 24, 2021

Learning Addiction

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