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Social work as a profession emerged in the nineteenth century in response to societal problems that resulted from the social and economic upheaval brought about by the Industrial Revolution (read more)

Featured Article: Cocaine

Location of Pantanal and Paraguay River Basin in South America
Cocaine is a crystalline tropane alkaloid (benzoylmethylecgonine, C17H21NO4) found in the leaves of the coca plant and best known in its concentrated form as an addictive, and generally illegal, psychoactive recreational drug.

Although the amount of cocaine in coca leaves is low, when this alkaloid is chemically extracted and concentrated it results in a powerful nervous system stimulant, which is generally used nasally, smoked, or injected. As such, cocaine can be highly addictive and have deleterious impacts on the brain, heart, respiratory system, kidneys, sexual system, and gastrointestinal tract. Use of concentrated cocaine yields pleasure through its interference with neurotransmitters of the sympathetic nervous system.

Popular Article: Defense mechanism

Defense mechanisms are psychological mechanisms aimed at reducing anxiety. They were first discussed by Sigmund Freud as part of his psychoanalytic theory and further developed by his daughter, Anna Freud. Alfred Adler and others also identified additional mechanisms. Often unconscious, defense mechanisms are used to protect an individual from psychological pain or anxiety.

While such mechanisms may be helpful in the short term, alleviating suffering that might otherwise incapacitate the individual, they can easily become a substitute for addressing the underlying cause and so lead to additional problems. The solution, therefore, is to address the underlying causes of the pain these mechanisms are used to defray. The ideal, however, would be for individuals to grow and live in a healthy psychological environment, in a society that cares for and nurtures each person, so that the use of these defense mechanisms is not necessary.