Jul 24, 2017

What kind of despair could lead someone to value short-term pain relief over life itself?

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Response to “Why Punish Pain?” by Gabor Maté


Assignment Topic: In this essay, you will *select an article, essay, or opinion piece from a newspaper (local or national), academic journal, or general audience magazine (hard copies or online). *develop a critical response directly related to the article you have chosen, using one of the following approaches: [Refer to the example response essay in the textbook, pages 181-82 if you need an example.] -Agree with and extend the author`s ideas, exploring related ideas and providing additional examples. -Agree with the author on some points but disagree on others. -Disagree with the author on one or more main points. *use direct quotations from the article or an outside source (anywhere within the essay itself) *write a Works Cited page (It will be a on a separate sheet). *submit a complete hard copy of the document (the article, essay, letter) you are writing about to the peer review session. Instructor Pyle should be allowed to keep this copy. Note, if you do not submit a copy, you lose two of the three points possible. * submit a complete hard copy of the document (the article, essay, opinion letter) you are writing about with the final draft if you did not submit a copy with the peer review copy. Note, if none is submitted, final grade on the essay cannot be higher than a low "C." Note: Utilize the Century library for articles if you would like. The online system can be difficult at first, so if you have problems, go to the library (on east campus) and ask a librarian for help. The staff is very student-friendly. Audience: General reader, or if you have a different audience in mind, have Instructor Pyle approve it. The introduction paragraph will make it clear who the audience is. Purpose: Inform (or if you have a different purpose, the introduction paragraph should make it clear). Length: Minimum 500 words Format: *Entire document (including heading and title) double-spaced, with indented paragraphs. 1 *Refer to page 714-15 and page 746 for format guidelines. However, you do not have to have a "header." Please use Instructor Pyle for the title and name of the instructor. *Double-sided or single-sided. *Staple or clip if essay is more than one page of paper. *Number the pages. Location is up to you. Essay form for this type of essay: *Include a title *Introduction paragraph: -Summary of the article, identifying writer`s main points (including the ones you will be responding to. Be sure to include the title of the article and the name of the writer. You can also state where the material was published (Star Tribune, Journal of Nursing, etc.). After that, lead into your thesis by asking a critical question or identify areas of concern, etc. End the paragraph with your thesis sentence. The thesis sentence will make it clear that the essay is a response from you about the article. [Please, do not address the reader directly.] -Refer to the Sowell response essay on pages 181-182 for an example. Examples: *Body paragraphs (explanation of thesis): -Each body paragraph will have a topic sentence stating one of your supports for your thesis. "One of the weaknesses of Pyle`s argument is she does not point out the negative consequences of building a new mall by the lake." "Another concern I have with the development is the cost." Due Dates: -Each body paragraph will include evidence to prove the topic sentence`s assertion. *Conclusion: -Thoughtful ending, avoiding a rehash of information already presented. April 23 *In-class Peer Review *Value: 3 points. [Two points lost if no copy of document you are responding to is not submitted.] 2 *To be awarded all three points you must bring in two copies of your essay and one copy of the document you are responding to, and participate in the peer review activity in class. No late peer review drafts accepted. April 28: *Essay #4 (one copy) due by 4:00 p.m. *Value: 10 points *If you did not already submit a copy of the document you are responding to during the peer review session, you must hand it in with the final draft. [If a copy was not submitted during the peer review session or with the final draft, a grade no higher than a low "C" is possible for the final draft.] *Where to submit: -In class -Slide the copy under Instructor Pyle`s office door (Room 3382). -Have the department secretary place the copy in Instructor Pyle`s mailbox. Additional writing goals to previous essays: Citing an outside source Integrating direct quotations in text Punctuating in-text quotations Developing a Works Cited page Analyzing text Developing and articulating a critical response



Why Punish Pain?

A hit of compassion could keep drugs from becoming a crime problem. by Gabor Maté posted Jun 10, 2011


The early 19th-century literary figure Thomas de Quincey was an opium user. "The subtle powers lodged in this mighty drug," he enthused, "tranquilize all irritations of the nervous system ... stimulate the capacities of enjoyment ... sustain through twenty-four hours the else drooping animal energies ... O just, subtle and all-conquering opium ... Thou only givest these gifts to man; and thou hast the keys of Paradise." A patient of mine in Vancouver`s infamous Downtown Eastside said it more plainly: "The reason I do drugs is so that I don`t feel the f***ing feelings I feel when I don`t do drugs."

All drug addicts, even (or perhaps especially) the abject and marginalized street user, seek in their habit the same paradise de Quincey rhapsodized: a sense of comfort, vitality, and freedom from pain. It`s a doomed search that puts in peril their health, societal position, dignity, and freedom. "I`m not afraid of death," another patient told me. "I`m more afraid of life." What kind of despair could lead someone to value short-term pain relief over life itself? And what might be the source of such despair?

Not Choice or Genes

In North America, two assumptions inform social attitudes toward addiction. First is the notion that addiction is a result of individual choice, of personal failure, a view that underlies the legal approach toward substance dependence. If the behavior is a matter of choice, then it makes sense to punish or deter it by means of legal sanctions, including incarceration for mere possession. The second perspective is the medical model that sees addiction as an inherited disease of the brain. This view at least has the virtue of not blaming the afflicted person—after all, people cannot help what genes they inherit—and it also offers the possibility of compassionate treatment.

What kind of despair could lead someone to value short-term pain relief over life itself? And what might be the source of such despair?

What the choice and heredity hypotheses share in common is that they take society off the hook. Neither compels us to consider how a person`s experience and social position contribute to a predisposition for addiction. If oppressed or marginalized populations suffer a disproportionate share of addiction`s burden—as they do, here and elsewhere —it must be due to their faulty decision-making or to their flawed genes. The heredity and choice-based models also spare us, conveniently, from looking at how our social environment supports, or does not support, the parents of young children, and at how social attitudes and policies burden, stress, and exclude certain segments of the population and thereby increase their propensity for addiction.

Another, starker view emerges when we listen to the life histories of substance abusers and look at the ample research data.

Addictions always originate in unhappiness, even if hidden. They are emotional anesthetics; they numb pain. The first question—always—is not "Why the addiction?" but "Why the pain?" The answer was summed up with crude eloquence, scrawled on the wall of my patient Anna`s room: "Any place I went to, I wasn`t wanted. And that bites large."

"A Warm, Soft Hug"

For 12 years I was staff physician at the Portland Hotel, a nonprofit, harm-reduction facility in the Downtown Eastside, an area with an addict population of 3,000 to 5,000. Most of the Portland`s clients are addicted to cocaine, crystal meth, alcohol, opiates like heroin, or tranquilizers—or to any combination of these things.

"The first time I did heroin," one of my patients, a 27-year-old sex-trade worker, once told me, "it felt like a warm, soft hug." In a phrase, she summed up the deep psychological and chemical cravings that make some people vulnerable to substance dependence.

Contrary to popular myth, no drug is inherently addictive. Only a small percentage of people who try alcohol or cocaine or even crystal meth go on to addictive use. What makes those people vulnerable? According to current brain research and developmental psychology, chemical and emotional vulnerability are the products not of genetic programming but of life experience. Most of the human brain`s growth occurs after birth, and so physical and emotional interactions determine much of our neurological development—which brain areas will develop and how well, which patterns will be encoded, and so on. As such, each brain`s circuitry and chemistry reflect individual life experiences as much as inherited tendencies.

NameInstructorSubjectDateResponse to “Why Punish Pain?” by Gabor MatéIn the article “Why Punish Pain?” author Gabor Maté presents a realistic portrayal of the problem of drug addiction. He argues that substance abuse and addiction is not just a personal issue, but also a symptom of malfunctioning at the family level. Maté begins his argument by observing that the tendency to use or abuse drugs is not an innate human characteristics. In other words, people are not born with a natural inclination to use drugs. Under good parenting, children do not experience stress, and therefore do not need external stimulants to boost their moods. In contrast, poor parenting and childhood abuse push children and adults in later life, to seek external sources of psychological comfort. This development marks the beginning of dependence on drugs, leading to substance abuse and addiction. To this extent, I agree with author’s explanation on how substance users succumb into addiction. However, I disagree with the author’s claim that parents pass on the effect of their “unrecognized” stress to their children. My contention with this claim is based on the fact that stress is a psychological factor which, if present, the person is aware of. It is unlikely that a person can experience stress unconsciously.The strength of the author’s argument stems from the fact that he bases his observations on research findings obtained from scientific experimentations with animals. He states that “infant rats who get less grooming from their mothers end up with fewer natural “benzo” receptors in the part of the brain that controls anxiety” (Maté 2). Similarly, experiments with monkeys show that infant monkeys who have been separated from their mothers for a few days experience dopamine deficiency. Dopamine is a brain chemical that regulates mood and self-control in both animals and human beings. These findings indicate that parenting plays a vital role in substance use and addiction with regard...

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