Biological Model of Addiction

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  • Created by: rhallett
  • Created on: 16-01-16 11:16
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  • Biological Model of Addiction
    • Dopamine Reward Pathway
      • People maintain addictive behaviours like smoking and gambling because they cause a surge of dopamine activity in the mesolimbic dopamine reward pathway; makes them pleasurable and reinforcing
      • +Cardwell - reports smoking leads to a surge of dopamine in the DRP which would make it pleasurable and reinforcing; explaining why people maintain it
      • +Bailey - found raised levels of dopamine and noradrenaline have been found in gamblers after a winning streak
    • Genes
      • Having this gene could motivate them to begin/ initiate addictive behaviours in the first place and cause them to continue/ maintain them once they have started
    • Neuroadaptation
      • When people smoke for a long time or gamble, neuroadaptation happens. Their brains adjust to the chemical effects of the behaviour such as high levels of dopamine and their reward pathways become less responsive to it.
        • Therefore, when they have a period of time without doing the behaviour eg. not have a cigarette whilst at work, they feel cravings and negative withdrawal effects such as sadness and anxiety.
          • This will lead them to continue the behaviour so these feelings go (maintenance) and to relapse if they stop it.
            • +Rosenthal -found that 60% of problem gamblers reported physical side effects during withdrawal such as insomnia
              • +Parrott suggests that abstaining from nicotine causes increased stress and anxiety in the form of cravings. Smoking immediately removes this anxiety and in the very short terr reduces the perception of stress


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