The Importance of Abstinence from Substance Use and Misuse

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・APA ・19 Sources

For over the years, substance use and misuse have significantly impacted on the lives of the teenagers and minors in the society. There is observed a lost generation in drug addicts, and helpless youths misguided by the use of drugs and often abuse them to an extent their lives are in danger (Rassool, 2001). The use of alcohol, nicotine, illicit drugs and caffeine is rampant to the minors as a means of relief from stress. However, the abuse of these drugs drains them deep into the menace while they are not that aware as they get addicted to consuming the drug (Rassool, 2001). The medical practitioner will advise individuals against the use and misuse of substance as it results in the stigma that is most vulnerable to the person's lifestyle and can worsen to lead to the individual's death. The essay depicts on the use and misuse of substances; in the case study carried it will assess and discuss the experience of one member of the Snedden family (Gemma daughter).

Background Information

The essay writes to display on the importance of abstinence from the use and misuse of substance in the long span. It is primarily concerned with the set cases of the Gemma daughter who had her life change at the age of 13 years old. Having been raised up by the grandfather as the mother worked, she performed well in school until the end of her 4th year when she dropped out due to some problems. The poor girl landed her first job at the nearby biscuit company and met Tariq, the forklift driver who made her pregnant and married her after some months in the relationship. Nonetheless, their relationship was not approved by Tariq family; this might be as a result of them being minors. The poor daughter could not continue enjoying parties with her buddies as before giving birth; she was restricted from drinking as she had to breastfeed her newborn child. What a mess! Gemma could not hold anymore in abscond from drinks, and so she stopped breastfeeding early and joined the gang while her husband was on night shifts and backshifts. In most cases, Gemma harmed herself through cuts; she forgets to change the child's nappy and left her hungry. The controversial scene to Gemma is that she feels she is pregnant again and not sure whether she could manage to bring up the pregnancy and handle the baby.

Literature Review

The Trans-theoretical Model

The model incorporates the following: Trans-theoretical Model (TTM) dwells on integration, bio-psychosocial principles to describe the internal change of behaviors. Unlike other models, TTM incorporates integrated views from different theories to comprehend the behaviour change (Oswalt, 2015).

The theory argues that people change in stages while they modify on the newly acquired characters in the long run. The case is not distinct to the Gemma daughter as viewed from the background information reported. Born and raised innocently, she changed at some point in life when at the end of her 4th year of study. The theory states that even though there is no specified timeline to stay in a particular stage of change; tasks necessary for transition to the next step are not (Psychology Notes HQ, 2013). Every individual is subjected to the principles of change that occurs at distinct stages to ease confrontation, facilitate progress and avoid relapse. The asserted beliefs to this step include self-efficiency, decision making and processes of change. Gemma must have undergone these stages to reach her current stage of addiction and abuse of substances. The research appeals that approximately 20% of the population affected by substance use and misuse could manage to handle the situation of change at any given time.

Gemma daughter promptly fell in the ordeal scene due to the lack of action-oriented guidance in the early stage in growth. Having been under the care of the grandfather, the absence of the biological parents and any active guardian directed the girl into the misfortunes experienced. Guidance according to TTM reconstructs an individual into an active participant in the changes as it appeals to the whole population in the surrounding rather than the specified few in the society (Roundy, 2017). TTM affirms that behavioral change is a phenomenon that unfolds in a time frame and involves a progressive move linearly. The Gemma daughter must have gone through the stages of pre-contemplation, contemplation, preparation, action and finally maintenance. Different activities appear at every distinct step in the behavioral change as the individual progress to the full effect in the headed stage (Reid, 2017).

  • Pre-contemplation

At this stage, the individual is not ready for anything. Gemma at this stage never intended to take a step in the foreseeable future, purposed to be the next six months. The situation is so in the sense that an individual is uninformed or less informed about the risks incurred by behavioral change.

  • Contemplation Stage:

At this stage, the person is getting ready to embrace change accruing. At this stage, Gemma was much aware of the coming issues in her life and sought to adopt them. She knew well on the pros of involving herself in the abuse of drugs and misuse of alcohol; also, she well knew of the cons of indulging in the behaviorism. The stage is proclaimed to be the worst in the steps of change as the individual at this stage become more stubborn to exercise the change (Boston University, 2016).

  • Preparing Stage:

At this stage, the person is ready to adopt the change and work in the norms of the new life acquired. Gemma, daughter at this stage, was quite sure of what she wanted to be in the future. She knew how to go about and get the goal set in her desires. Typically, the person on the stage has taken the past action and are much aware of what it feels like while in drug use for instance. The group forms the individual potential for the formation of the action-oriented programs to have their behaviour changed.

  • Action:

At this stage, the individual must have made a complete turn against his/her life. The scene is represented by Gamma, daughter after delivering of her firstborn. She ultimately turns to drinking and even harming herself due to the abused drugs. Gamma looks stigmatized and deep into the ordeal character. She cannot control herself anymore and forget to take care of her newborn child. At this point, Gamma can only lower the consumption as a means to the reduction of substance use and not switch off completely.

  • Maintenance:

At this stage, the person had a specified change in the life and modified to suit the living as perceived by the individual. Relapse to the character is what the people in this staged the fight to maintain, and they grow confident that they can cop and steadily uphold the change.

However, the TTM bares some critical assumptions as follows (Prochaska, 2000): Behavioral change piles in processes that unfold as time changes in sequential stages. Healthcare programs recommended in assisting the affected persons as the dig into the future.

All stages involved are stable and open to change. Also, the persons involved in the change are perceived to bear the same notions of life. The population healthcare initiatives are capable of changing the individual’s behaviour and action towards the incorporated changes. The move is through Lessing the pros aligned to the changes. The majority of people at risks are not prepared to the accompanying dangers to the incorporate changes. These people are assumed not to be influenced by the tradition to move to the next stage but somewhat self-centered move. Distinct principles and process are incorporated at different stages to enable the change to occur.

Ecological Model of Human Development

Bronfenbrenner (1989) in his theory on the ecological model of human development argues that it is necessary to consider the human surrounding environmental system to understand their evolution. It is therefore relevant to study the model to figure out Gamma's situation; the change is perceived to happen in five stages according to the model. The model in proposition one affirms that in the early stages and to the significant extent s the human being grows, development happens throughout steadily in a sophisticated manner about the person's surrounding environment. For the action to be active, the happenings in the surroundings need to be fair and regularly depended on the long run (Baltes and Schaie, 1973). The five stages imposed to change of human development include the following:

  • Microsystems:

This formulates a pattern of activities such as social roles and the underlying personal relationship experience with the particular physical, social and engaging features with the environment. For instance, the school, family workmates and peer group. Gamma daughter is not exceptional from this model as her relationship with the school, and more so the family might have massively contributed to her errands and involvement in substances abuse and drug misuse. From her background information, the author narrates of her drop out of school due to some unmentioned problem. About the family, Gamma daughter was not accorded the close care by the mother who sought to be busy at work and forgot the responsibilities of leading her to the right path. It is in the proximity of the environment the people afford to develop acceptable characters or lose the norms expected the society (Prochaska and Norcross, 1992).

  • Meso-systems:

The stage comprises of processes interacting with two parties that result in an individual's development. Meso-system as well refers to the existing relationship such as that between school and home. The case of Gamma suits in the stage as they were no reliable relationship between the school and the girl's home. The teacher could not tell the girl's parental care and advice on the way forward. Also, there lack awareness by the parent about the issues at school as the mother was busy at work and could not tell what bothered the daughter that led to her drop out.

  • Exo-systems:

The model comprises of a setting incorporated with two or more parties. In this model, there exists one person not actively involved in the action but significantly affected by the operation of the other side. In the case study highlighted, Tariq, the husband and Tamsin the daughter are affected by the cause of action created by Gamma. The newborn suffers from hunger and unchanged nappy while the mother is drunk and unconscious of the work. The husband is always embarrassed and feels helpless of the drunkard wife who does not take good care of their daughter.

  • Macro-systems:

The set comprises of the micro, meso and exo-systems behaviorisms of a specified culture. These among others include the bodies of knowledge, belies, material resources, lifestyle and life course options. Concerning the settings alluded to Gamma daughter; it is an accurate reflection of her life changes and settings she was raised upon. Dropping out of school at a tender age and looking an employment, she meets Tariq, most likely a drop out as well which is a forklift driver and engages in a relationship. The more significant society is the having the minors in the job market and thus the cause of actions as portrayed by Gamma.

  • Chrono-system:

This is the final development system that expands the environment into the other dimensions. Previously, in the study of human change and behaviorism, time and age were synonymous. In the past researchers, the season proved to contribute to human development and character change (Cherry, 2017). However, time proved to be the property of the environment which later impacted on the human behaviorism. The model is quite efficient in the scene described Gamma in her substance use and misuse. In the beginning, at the earlier age, the poor girl was innocent and performed well in school without any abuse of any substances. However, time proved innocent through the environment that she changed and dropped out of learning and in progressive changes she engaged in abuse of alcohol and later on got pregnant which led to a complex change in her life.

Social Learning Theory

Social learning theory by the scholar Albert Bandura in 1977 argues that the human development theories base its views on classical condition theory and operant conditioning theory (Wheeler, 2014). The social theory states that behaviour change depends on:

Mediation processes generated between the stimuli and the responses. Behavior is acquired from the surrounding environment through observation. Through observation, the child learns on the several behaviors in their vicinity. The “Bobo doll experiment” exposed the reality of the children learning by observation (McLeod, 2016). The model as referred in the social learning is represented by Gamma, daughter in the case study. The theory argues that the society is comprised of many models who influence are also influenced by the peers, parents and TV programs. The models provide visuals to imitate (Seltzer, 2017). Gamma daughter might have had the experience in use of the substances and misuse of alcohol through the visual programs watched. Children pay a lot of attention to the occurrence as performed by models and yarn to learn their ways and live with the characters (Lobue, 2017). According to the social learning theory, children emulate the nature despite gender in action. Two processes are in place to determine whether the minor will adopt the new behaviors or not and reproduce the similar behaviour as according to sex: First; it is most likely that the child will imitate and attend to the action observed. Consequently, the child can easy cop with the behavior of the peerage. Secondly; punishment or enforcement is the response by the adults in the presence of the child's imitated character (Klemm, 2017).

Meditational processes assume the fact that human beings are active thinkers and methods information about any existing relationship. The observational model cannot be complete and satisfactory unless cognitive processes involved. The mental factors are perceived to mediate to figure out on the new response and assert the behaviour as right or wrong (Peter, 2015). Therefore, people do not look at the environment and imitate but instead indulge in a series of conviction. The meditational process depends on the following Bandura's proposed factors:

  • Attention:

The extent to which an individual is exposed to the behaviour relies on his attention. The imitated character must grab the attention of the observer for it to assert the conscious of its well-being. Many activities happen in the day and are observed by the public. However, not all of these observations are worthwhile. Attention according to the social learning theory is a primary factor in how behaviour influences others.

  • Retention:

It refers to how well the character can be retained. The easily remembered behaviour can as well be comfortable to imitate. However, the forgettable character finds it difficult to adopt and emulate. Most of the social learning is not immediate but somewhat procedural and often vital. Therefore, when the activity is reproduced shortly after the act seemingly, there is a memory attained to it.

  • Reproduction:

Reproduction refers to the ability to perform the previous activity as demonstrated by the model. Such behaviour is observed daily, but not all can be imitated as they are either complicated or unwanted to copy. At some time, individuals are limited by their physical nature and by that reason unable to compile the character.

  • Motivation:

For the character of emulating a particular behaviour, he/she must have the will to incorporate the lifestyle. One needs to consider the rewards and punishment associated with the given character. If rewards figured outweigh the dangers in the intended style, then it can be imitated. Contrary, if the disciplines dominate, then there is no need to adopt the character.


Gamma daughter got herself into the problem, and here she needs the assistance on how to get out of the drug addicts and harm reduction in her life. A lot have processes explained in the theories of substance use and misuse that result to an individual's drawn in the adoption of new behaviorism (Heflick, 2011). However, the whole circus can be influenced by the medical practitioner who belittles the great pros purported over the use and misuse of substance in the long run. Addiction is not an optional factor that an individual takes, but rather an overnight magical that one wakes up and begets into. Many questions have hit the world on why people become addict over the given substance and find it so tricky to quick. Like for the case of Gamma daughter, she demonstrates the loose of sense and lack of control over her life. However, it is right for people to have some weird behaviour and so she does Gamma. Man does not live in the upright sense alone but also in the twisted spoiled mind.

Substance use and misuse depict that whatsoever theory you subscribe to, it will in some ways influence human values towards others, their response to others reactions and human development on the broader society (Prochaska et al., 2002). Therefore, it all depends on how addiction perceived by the organization. If the menace viewed as a moral failure then it will be condemned, if observed as a deficit in knowledge then it will be subjected to education, and if taken as a typical behaviour then it will be tolerated. Furthermore, addiction can have its way out as an illness and subject to treatment. Gamma's condition is an illness, and she, therefore, needs immediate attention to have her get away with the continuous use of drinks. Recommendations to the study of the theory on recovery and relapse are necessary to analyze Gamma daughter’s situation. It is through the use and misuse of substance that an individual measured in the community. In most cases, the person is asserted to be deviant and irresponsible, accepted or rejected by the people in the surrounding. The actions taken by the person in use and misuse of the drugs reveals on the weakness and deficiency. The disease model in the other ways explains that an individual can acquire illness from the use and abuse of substances simply by close association with the ill persons. The sickness is somewhat voluntary and in most cases characterized by lots of craves and loss of control on oneself.

Gamma daughter must have suffered from the three disease models of: Something inherent; the poor girl might have been born with a predisposition resulted from the biochemical disorder or genetic make-up.

  • Acquired addiction:

Her continuity in drinking might be as a result of dependence on the peers that leads to neurological dysfunction.

  • A mental illness:

This is possible through the psychodynamic theories that explain on the child's parental guidance which indeed reflects the case of Gamma who lack close care of her parents as they were on the job. The young Gamma might have developed trauma at the tender age due to the loneliness and decided to enter into drinking as a means to relieve her pains that later changed her life into an addict drunkard.

Nonetheless, the addiction to substance use and misuse has the pros as follows: access to treatment, helps one avoid blame and punishment, limits stigma, upholds the power of the physician and at times attracts funding. The cons to the matter are perceived to be as follows: passivity of the person, accords the sense of helpless and powerless to any circumstances of change, difficult to relapse, labeling as an addict and abstinence as the only goal (Prochaska et al., 2002). Throughout the theories mentioned above and many more others unmentioned like the theory of attribution, addictive personality extra; addictions I perceived to be a weak coping mechanism. In many writings about substance use and misuse, excessive appetites come with a range of activities and most of them can cause harm to the person. Costs are also present in the tolerance of the behaviour, and it is a learning process that can result in giving up on the way due conflicting with the society. Cultural practices matters in the human development and these might have massively contributed to Gamma daughter’s life cycle. Gamma daughter upholding morals at her earlier age before turning around at the end of her year four studies means the cultural values must have impacted on her aggressively.


In conclusion, substance use and misuse are much dependent on many theories to understand the human development. However, the distinct approaches discuss the common goal and have similarities in the human development as a process that is bound by some stages to changes. Gamma daughter in the case study is used as an example to review the entire society and what bonds are there and how human beings control themselves throughout in their behaviour. The social learning theory, TTM and ecological theories among many others deeply discuss on how human life is impacted to behavioural changes through learning and observing, procedural change and environmental factors respectively. The family and other close allies of the family have significant responsibilities in the upkeep and bringing up the child as an individual's way of life is determined at this tender age. Gamma, in the case study, having been brought up under the grandfather's care and distanced relationship with the mother; seriously contributed to her loss of meaning in life and purposeful made the wrong choices in life from school dropout to job market and later to marriage at an early age. All these unguided decisions landed her in the ditch of the unexpected issues, and she developed stigma that caused her serve harm.


Baltes, P.B. & Schaie, W. (1973). “Life-span Developmental Psychology”: Personality and Socialization. Academic Press, New York.

Boston University (2016). “The Transtheoretical Model (Stages of Change)”: Behavioral Change Models, School of Public Health. Retrieved from Web Dec 2, 2017,

Bronfenbrenner, U. (1989). “Ecological Systems Theory”: In Vasta, R. (ed.) 1989 Six Theories of Child Development: Revised Formulations and Current Issues. Vol. 6. JAI Press, Greenwich, Connecticut.

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Heflick, N. A. (2011). “Children Learn Aggression From Parents”: Psychology Today. Retrieved from Web Dec 4, 2017,

Klemm, W. (2017). “Teaching Children to be Honorable”: Psychology Today. Retrieved from Web Dec 4, 2017,

Lobue, V. (2017). “How Parents Can Promote Learning Through Guided Play”: Psychology Today. Retrieved from Web Dec 4, 2017,

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Oswalt, A. M. (2015). “Urie Bronfenbrenner and Child Development”: Retrieved from Web Dec 3, 2017,

Peter, D. (2015). “Make Social Learning Stick”: How Parents Can Help Children. Psychology Today. Retrieved from Web Dec 4, 2017,

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Prochaska, J.O., & Norcross, J.C. (1992). “In search of how people change: Applications to the Addictive Behaviors”: American Psychologist, 47, 1102-1114. PMID: 1329589.

Prochaska, J.O., Redding, C.C., & Evers, K. (2002). “The Transtheoretical Model and Stages of Change. In K. Glanz, B.K. Rimer & F.M. Lewis, (Eds.) Health Behavior and Health Education”: Theory, Research, and Practice (3rd Ed.). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass, Inc.

Psychology Notes HQ (2013). “What is Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory?”: The Psychology Notes HQ. Retrieved from Web Dec 3, 2017,

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Seltzer, L. (2017). “How Do Parents Model Exactly What They Don’t Want?”: Psychology Today. Retrieved from Web Dec 4, 2017,

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