Biological Interventions of Addiction

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  • Created by: rhallett
  • Created on: 29-01-16 13:21
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  • Biological Interventions of Addiction
    • Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
      • Involves replacing the nicotine the person gets from tobacco through a spray, gum or patch, which have none of the negative health effects of tobacco.
        • An AGONIST substitution treatment it works by stimulating nicotinic receptors in the brain. Helps the person give up smoking because:
          • 1) They won't experience negative withdrawal symptoms or cravings so should be able to stop smoking easily. Thus NRT is negatively reinforced
          • 2) As it gives them a source of nicotine, smoking will no longer be reinforcing or enjoyable, so they won't want to do it
          • 3) These treatments may also desensitize nicotine receptors in the brain - also smoking less enjoyable
      • + Davison found that after 12 months, 28% of a group treated with nicotine inhalers were abstinent, compared to only 18% of the placebo group. But this means it is only helping 10% of the people who took it, which is not a high level of effectiveness
      • - Although nicotine is much safer than tobacco is it still not without health risks. Increases heart rate, blood pressure, may reduce sensitivity to insulin, so cannot be completely risk free. Thus, not suitable for all people; limits effectiveness
      • -Can be side effects such as disturbed sleep, upset stomach, dizziness and headaches. May discourage people from doing the treatment and make it less effective
      • -Some people would argue that as the person is still addicted to nicotine this is not a fully effective treatment
    • Antidepressants/ Gambling Addiction
      • Some evidence that gambling addiction can be treated with SSRI Antidepressants, which increase the levels of the NTM serotonin at the synapse by blocking its reuptake. Seems to reduce person's urge to gamble
      • +Hollander looked at fluvoamine, an SSRI ATDP, in a study involving 10 people over 16 weeks. Drug reduced people's urge to gamble and the amount of actual gambling behaviour they did
      • -However, ATDPs will not deal with the psychological or social factors that lead people to gamble in the first place. This means that when the treatment is over the person is likely to relapse; less effective
      • -SSRI ATDPs can produce negative side effects such as loss of libido which makes it difficult for people to follow their treatment in the long term; less effective
      • -Moreover, some research has not found ATDP treatment to be effective. +Blano studied 32 gamblers over 6 months and did not that SSRIs were more effective than a placebo


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