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Biology 2nd Baccalaureate

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7.8.1. Common characteristics of drugs

Common Characteristics of Substance Abuse Drugs

The Addiction-Producing Drugs share five characteristics or properties that differentiate them from other drugs:


The drugs act directly on brain pleasure centers and eliminate all sick feeling isolating the individual from the environment that surrounds him. That chemical sensation of pleasure is reinforced with an affective memory, in this way the individual will later seek the drug to recover that initial pleasure.

Reversible alterations

The drugs produce disturbances reversible brain or an inability to interpret reality as it is. These alterations may consist of increased vigilance and attention (psychostimulants), distortion of sensory perception (hallucinogens), insomnia and drowsiness (psychodepressants), all of which are reflected in a series of behavioral alterations. When the effect wears off, you go back to the original situation.


Although drugs act in very low doses on the brain, the body gets used to it and needs to increase the dose of the drug to obtain the initial effects.

Abstinence syndrome

The withdrawal syndrome is the set of symptoms that appear, as a result of the alteration that the drug has caused in the brain, when you stop consuming the usual dose of drug addiction.


They are factors or situations that enhance the need to take a drug that can create dependence, such as personality, family or social environment, group pressure, etc. 

Some sociocultural factors that facilitate drug use, according to the WHO, are:

  • The availability. If it is easy to acquire, it is more likely to be consumed.
  • The acceptance by the rest of society of certain drugs For example, drinking a celebration.
  • Surrounding social environment, marginalization, unemployment, ..., although it does not depend on social classes.
  • Family and family problems.
  • The desire for integration in the group, especially in adolescents.

Answer in your notebook

7.10.- What is abstinence syndrome?


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