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What is addiction? It is a repetitive habit pattern that increases risk
of disease and/or associated personal and social problems.
Elements of Addiction
Salience - individuals desire to perform the addictive act/behaviour
Mood Modification - people with addictive behaviour often report a
`high', `buzz' or a `rush', addicts are known to use addictions for this.
Tolerance - addicts tolerance increases therefore they increase the
amount to get the same effect
Withdrawal Symptoms - unpleasant feelings and physical effects
that occur when the addiction is suddenly reduced
Relapse - process of stopping the addiction and falling back into it
Conflict Maladaptive Behaviour - people with addictive behaviours
develop conflict with people around creating social isolation.
· How many criteria is needed before a person can be said to have an
· Many can tick all above for things like coffee drinking? Are they
addicts? It seems like the key is being addicted to something that is
harmful.…read more

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Outline and define what is meant by addiction. (5marks)
Addiction is a repetitive habit pattern that increases risk of disease
and/or associated personal and social problems. Most theories say
addiction goes through 3 stages, the first is initiation which is how the
addiction starts?, then into maintenance, why addict continues?, and
finally into relapse, why an addict may stop and start again? Theorists
define addiction by 6 sub components of addiction, one is salience this
is the desire to perform the addictive act. Another is mood modification
such as `high', most addicts perform the addictive act to achieve this.
Tolerance is a big one whereby the more the addictive behaviour is
done the tolerance levels increase therefore more has to be done to
get the same effect. If withdrawing from the addictive behaviour
withdrawal symptoms may occur such as unpleasant feelings or
physical effects, this may cause relapse to occur. Addicts also tend to
develop conflicts with others.…read more

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The biological approach
This model can be broken into sub theories ­ genetic and neuro-
Genetic/Hereditary Approach: KEY IDEA - that some people are
predisposed to be addicts.
Evidence - Twin studies (monozygotic twins) - if one twin is an addict
the other twin is likely to be genetically predisposed to be an addict to,
and are often used to establish there is biological basis to addiction.
Hans study of over 300 monozygotic twins and over 300 dizygotic
twins - this study found that there was a connection between genetics
and social behaviour such as attention seeking, rejecting social norms
and alcoholism.
· The problem with this is that monozygotic twins and families have
common environments too. This means the addiction could have
been learnt and may not be biological in origin.
· Does not identify the gene
· Monozygotic twins are not truly identical…read more

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Thorgeirssons Study (Genetically susceptibility to smoking) -
he sent a questionnaire to 50,000 people in Iceland asking questions
on smoking etc. They studied DNA of over 10,000 smokers or former
smokers, they found a variation at 2 points in chromozone 15 were
common along those who had lung cancer, this gene affected the
amount of cigarettes smoked.
· Culture difference although cross cultural
· Found a correlation not causation
· Connects lung cancer with addiction which is not always true
· Though finds a specific gene
Jellineck (The disease model of addiction) ­ this model states that
addiction has an abnormality in the structure of the CNS. The addict
will showing strong desire to stop but will be unable to. At first sight it
appears the addict has a choice, however according to this model there
is no choice just a compulsion. This view is consistent with the genetic
view as the abnormality of the CNS that causes the addiction can be
· The model does not explain how addicts can stop
· The model is also vague about which part of CNS causes the disease
and what mechanisms causes addiction…read more

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Neuro-Chemical Approach - this explains addictive behaviour by
looking at the powerful neuro-chemical systems that the body has. The
brain can generate its own powerful chemicals, however can be added
to by taking other drugs.
Dopamine reward system - dopamine is connected to learning,
memory arousal and emotional response and ability to experience
pleasure. Altman made a study of rats 1996 in which the rats were
given nicotine, the result was an increase in the production of
dopamine in the rats. However rats are further down phylogenetic
The endogenous opiod system - the body produces its own opiod,
neuro chemicals in the forms of endorphins eternally taken opiates
(heroin, morphine, coediene) can increase the power of this system.
They stimulate receptor sites, in turn of the receptor sites habituate to
the increased levels of opiods they increase their tolerance and react at
a lower level than before to the presence of opiods.
· Explanation seems to work very well for substance addiction
· However works less well for addictions such as gambling or
computer gaming.…read more

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