A lot of effort and time goes into preventative practices relating to physical diseases and ailments. What if we could give the same amount of resources to studying and preventing mental illness? In one study, researchers found that people with substance-abuse disorders had a delayed response time to a certain stimulus. As seen in the image of the brain, this shows up as less activity in the cortical regions than someone without a substance-abuse disorder would have (Kellogg, 21). This powerful study shows us that the brain make-up may give us some insight on the differences in people who have a substance abuse disorder vs. those who do not.
In a way, knowing this information can be used as a preventative tool against substance-abuse disorders. If every person at a certain age was given the option for a brain scan (MRI or EEG) to determine this brain difference, they could be given vital information about themselves. Their doctor could inform them that they do or do not have a predisposition to be more sensitive to substance-abuse disorders.
This is an important topic related to mental illness, because a substance-abuse disorder is considered a mental illness. Also, people with substance-abuse disorders are likely to have a comorbid disorder, such as anxiety, depression, or bipolar just to name a few. So, if we are able to pre-detect substance-abuse disorder possibilities, we may potentially be able to detect other mental illnesses through research studies and brain scans.
Having a substance-abuse disorder may coincide with feelings of worthlessness, low self-esteem, and isolation. Knowing that you were predisposed by your brain chemistry to have a substance-abuse disorder may provide tactical insight as to why you have a substance-abuse disorder. For some, hopefully, these negative feelings can be accounted for in the sense that there is more to the reason they became addicted to drugs than to some negative self-concepts or behaviors.


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