It is apparent that there are numerous ongoing trends in the area of mental health problems in the United States. However, according to the article by Ryan, the country is experiencing the “opioid crisis” in recent years, with the incidents rates significantly increasing in 2018 (1). According to the statistics, approximately 2.4 million Americans have an opioid use disorder, which is considered to be a severe mental health issue (Ryan 1). Accordingly, the purpose of this paper is to investigate these recent trends in mental health from a psychological standpoint. By comparing two different psychological perspectives, this paper aims to develop the best strategy for raising awareness about the issue.
Discussion of the Recent Mental Health Issue Trend
Different Perspectives on the Issue
For the purposes of this assignment, biological and behavioral approaches were chosen for the comparison in the context of the opioid use disorder discussion. The biological perspective offers an explanation, which is based on studying the physiological processes in the human body. As it mentioned by Ciccarelli and White, “when people take morphine or heroin, their bodies neglect to produce endorphins,” which is one of the most important hormones in the health system of a human (53). Thus, the addiction develops as the individual is no longer able to produce this hormone naturally.
However, a behavioral approach represents a different perspective on the subject matter. In the context of this perspective, addiction is viewed as the manifestation of the particular individual’s behavior, which is caused by a set of very different factors that are not strictly limited to the biological ones. The behaviorist approach recognizes such factors as social stress, the impact of familial relationships, the overall attitude of the person toward life as influencing factors (Ciccarelli and White 11).
Differences and Similarities between the Perspectives
The primary similarity between the identified approaches to the explanation of opioid drug abuse is that both perspectives recognize pleasure as one of the primary driving factors that influence the development of the addiction. However, the biopsychological approach recognizes primarily physical processes related to pleasure, while behaviorism views pleasure as one of the many factors that constitute the individual’s attitude toward life. In other words, the pleasure itself does not solely explain the development of the addiction because many other factors are involved, according to the behaviorist theory (Ciccarelli and White 11).
Identification of the Best Perspective
Based on the comparison of the two approaches, it is essential to identify the best one that explains the phenomenon under consideration more profoundly. Arguably, the behaviorist approach is the best perspective because it is inclusive of a more broad range of factors that might affect addiction development. The importance of understanding of the unique circumstances that impact the person’s decisions is highly important. In general, behaviorism provides a more inclusive and extensive view of the problem of opioid addiction.
Proposed Strategy for Raising the Awareness about the Identified Mental Health Issue
Accordingly, as the best perspective on the issue under consideration was identified, it is essential to outline the strategy that would increase the public knowledge about the subject matter of this paper. According to the study by Quinn et al., opioid therapy is implemented in youths with mental health problems, and it is critical to understand that a significant risk is implied in such situations (423). It is stated by the authors that “adolescents with many types of preexisting mental health conditions and treatments were modestly more likely to receive any opioid and were substantially more likely to subsequently transition to long-term opioid therapy” (Quinn et al. 423) It is essential to promote the basic information about the forms of opioid abuse among adolescents because in the majority of cases they are unaware about it. The best strategy is to link the behavioral patterns that are considered by youths as “unharmful,” and explain that opioid misuse can lead to severe mental health consequences or increase the currently developing ones.
Possible Limitations of the Proposed Strategy
It is also critical to mention a possible limitation of the proposed strategy. Evidently enough, the primary limitation of the suggested intervention could also be explained from the behaviorist perspective. The implementation of awareness-raising programs would not be efficient if other behavioral patterns will not reinforce it. For example, the familial context is often driving people to develop drug addiction. Also, such factors as low self-esteem are also of high importance. Overall, a complex approach is needed, in which the individual would be supported by different social institutes.
In conclusion, it is essential to restate the immense magnitude of the problem of opioid drug abuse as one of the most severe mental health disorders of recent years. This paper develops a discussion of the problem from the psychological perspective, identifying the behaviorist approach as more comprehensive and inclusive in terms of explaining the development of drug addiction, in comparison with biopsychology. In general, it is recommended that the collective effort would be input to create positive behavioral patterns among the youths.
Ciccarelli, Saundra K., and Noland White. Psychology (5th ed.). Pearson, 2015.
Quinn, Patrick D., et al. “Association of Mental Health Conditions and Treatments with Long-term Opioid Analgesic Receipt Among Adolescents.” JAMA Pediatrics, vol. 172, no. 5, 2018, pp. 423-430.
Ryan, Sheryl A. “Calculating the Real Costs of the Opioid Crisis.” Pediatrics, vol. 141, no. 4, 2018, pp. 1-2.