Magoosh GRE

Dissertation Topics on Substance Misuse

| November 11, 2012


The following are suggestions if you’re writing a dissertation on substance abuse.

1.     Discuss the following statement:

Substance misuse stems from a psychological predisposition to addiction and reckless behavior. In situations of intervention and treatment therefore, one addiction is invariably replaced by another – whether this be a drug considered less problematic (cigarettes, coffee or alcohol), exercise or religion – therefore implying that addiction may stem from an addictive or obsessive complication rather than vulnerability towards a particular substance.

How have modern treatment programs such as AA or NA promulgated this?

–          Consider factors in this topic of the heavy reliance of these programs on a higher power/religion in the process and a common understanding that less addictive substances are better than highly addictive ones (e.g. cigarettes are better than cocaine, so cigarettes are better).

–          Does this really treat the underlying problem – or does it make the problem more manageable in a practical way.

2.     Consider the relationship between substance misuse and lower income groups.

–          This topic will discuss the prevalence of substance misuse in lower income social demographics.

–          It encompasses a wide range of sociological factors such as economic dependence on these forms of illegal trade and the factors in lower-income societies that make youths more susceptible to developing substance dependency promulgating cycles of dependence later on in life.

3.      Switzerland is among the first of the developing nations to provide pharmacies for patients of substance misuse, where these patients are able to access controlled amounts of illegal substances, e.g. heroine pharmacies. Considering the nature of addiction, to what extent are these facilities endorsing substance misuse or acting as a catalyst for substance misuse and to what extent are these facilities an attempt at embracing the nature of addiction and allowing addicts to still function in society despite their addiction.

–          Background: there are clinics in Switzerland where heroine addicts are able to get exact dosages of heroine twice daily as prescribed by doctors. In this way, it is said that addicts are able to focus on maintaining jobs and stable personal lives because it removes the search for drugs. In other words, whilst a vast majority of time is usually spent on sourcing these substances through prostitution, theft and petty crime, by removing this inalienable element of severe addiction, patients are able to focus on productivity.

–          Some argue that this facilitates drug use, because there is no motivation to overcome the addiction, whilst conversely others argue that addiction is a life-long battle with very high rates of relapse. To this extent therefore, these clinics understand the reality of substance addiction and allow patients to live relatively normal lives in spite of their addictions.

–          The forward looking element of this topic can be explained through looking at similar types of programs such as needle exchanges, legalization of less addictive drugs and the increasing availability of certain scheduled substances in pharmacies.

–          Alternatively, this topic could also look at this from a psychological and sociological perspective (i.e. facing the reality of the misuse rather than utopian ideologies of treatment and being ‘cured’).

4.     Considering the nature of substance misuse, to what extent do the 12-steps address the psychology underlying addiction and abuse. A case study of the AA/NA

–          This topic can consider any mainstream treatment program (i.e. not necessarily the 12-steps)

5.     How have treatment programs for substance misuse evolved as the understanding of the nature of misuse has become more critically understood.

6.     Substance misuse is at an all time high in modern society. What factors have contributed to the increased prevalence of misuse in society?


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Category: Free Dissertation Topics and Ideas