Case Study of Betty Ford
July 22, 2012
Case Study of Betty Ford Substances, such as alcohol, are used for a variety of different reasons. Alcohol is often used as a way to celebrate a special occasion. It can also be used to help an individual “take the edge off” when he or she is feeling overwhelmed. Many individuals use alcohol when gathered with others in a social setting, while others may drink alcohol when spending time alone. The use of alcohol can become a problem when the individual begins to face challenges in his or her daily life. Some of these challenges can include increasing problems with emotional or physical health, the ability to maintain a steady job, and a steady withdrawal from family and friends.
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Additionally, Betty used alcohol and prescription medications over the course of her lifetime which eventually led towards a chronic problem in substance abuse and tolerance. Although using substances can create a sense of pleasure for the individual, Betty’s continual use of substances affected her brain circuits, such as the dopamine neurotransmitters which normally produce feelings of pleasure. After years of continual use, the dopamine neurotransmitters could no longer produce the feelings of pleasure that Betty once felt when drinking alcohol, therefore she would continue to consume larger amounts of alcohol to relieve the anxiety that she felt when confronted by stressful circumstances. The use of alcohol and other substances to relieve anxiety and feelings of sadness were therefore both biological and behavioral, as drinking would often serve as positive reinforcement. Betty also began to rely on prescription medications and alcohol as a means for helping her to get motivated to get up in the morning as well as to help her fall asleep at night. She also felt relief from the pills and alcohol when she felt tense from the pressures of constantly being in the public eye while living at the White House. According to Hansell and Damour (2009), “the expectancies of feeling good, relaxed, or less distressed can be an important motive for drug use and a self-fulfilling prophecy,” therefore also being a very important role in the cognitive