Subject: Unit 3 - Biology of Addiction - Pharmacolgy II
SWK 521 - 70 Social Work Practice with Alcoholic and Chemically Dependent Individuals and Families
Lecture Topic - General Considerations: Biology of Addiction - Pharmacology
1. INTRODUCTION : This week you will continue to explore issues about the biology of addiction.
A Lecture excerpted from an online informational text written by l Robin Timmons & Leonard W. Hamilton, Authors of Drugs and Behavior published by Prentice Hall, 1990 is also provided for your edification. I have included this lecture because I believe that understanding the relationship between the actions of the brain, the environment and human behavior involves important theoretical foundation knowledge for Social Work practice with substance abusing individuals.
4. Guest Lecture:
Overview: Brain Chemistry, Behavior and The Environment
Guest Lecturers: C. Robin Timmons & Leonard W. Hamilton, Authors of Drugs and Behavior published by Prentice Hall, 1990.
TOPIC: BEHAVIOR AND THE CHEMISTRY OF THE BRAIN
A. HISTORICAL DEVELOPMENTS
The birthplace of humanity will be marked not by bones, but by behavior. This is not to belittle the importance of bones; the fossil record will continue to sharpen the focus of our geographic and temporal origins. However, the defining characteristic of Homo sapiens is not the thumb and not the brain case, rather, it is the workings of the brain, the behaviors, the feelings, the mind (if you will).
The interpretation of the geological record goes well beyond physical structure. The skull may be found in proximity to various tools, the bones of animals (perhaps with damage that matches tool structure), plant remains, evidence of households, and so forth. All of this can lead to an educated guess about the culture and behavior of our ancestors. A guess about the function of the brain. Indeed, it is no accident that the term skull is frequently replaced by the term brain case, suggesting that the missing contents are more important than the empty skull. We agree. The purpose of this brief excursion into our ancestry is to provide an extreme example of an old philosophical issue, the mind-body problem (cf., Utall, 1978). Is the mind or behavior of humans a product of the body or is it a separate (spiritual) entity? Nearly all of us are willing to sit on both sides of this philosophical fence:
On the one hand, we are easily convinced that brain cases tell us something about the nature of the contents. Although it is hard to imagine anything less dynamic than a million year old skull ensconced in stone, we believe that this evidence can provide at least a global clue about behavior potential. The surrounding artifacts (tools, etc.) supplement this evidence and enrich our interpretation of the culture of our ancestors.
Paradoxically, as the evidence gets stronger, our beliefs tend to get weaker. Moving forward in time to our current existence, we have no difficulty accepting the fact that serious brain damage leads to serious changes in behavior. The brain is obviously the organ of (abnormal) behavior. The brain may be recognized as the organ of behavior, but each of us tenaciously hangs onto the belief that we are more than the product of our brain physiology. There is a strong sensation that we have an individual identity (self) and a free will which allows us to control our own brain. Students of the brain and behavior are not immune to these feelings, but the feelings must be suspended on occasion to pursue the fundamental belief that behavior has predictable causes, and that these causes may be found in the workings of the brain.
The purpose of this text is to provide a better understanding of the vehicle for the feelings, emotions, and motivations of the human experience. We will attempt to develop an understanding of the interpenetration of brain, behavior, and environment. We will