A summary of all topics of addiction that are included on the AQA specification.

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  • Created by: Imogen
  • Created on: 14-05-13 10:42
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Addiction is a continuous or intermittent craving for a substance (nicotine) or
behaviour (gambling) to avoid a dysphoric state. Individuals have a strong
desire to take the substance and show progressive neglect of other
satisfaction. As a result of long term use, they develop tolerance and
experience withdrawal symptoms if they
do stop.
Associations of addictions ­
No regard of negative
Loss of control
Initial high satisfaction
Related to high relapse
Addiction cycle ­
Initiation ­ Refers to the process
where the individual starts to
become addicted.
Maintenance ­ The process
whereby people continues to
behave addictively even in the face of adverse consequences.
Relapse ­ The process whereby people who have managed to give
up their addictive habits start to show signs and symptoms of the
behaviour again.
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Gambling Smoking
Genetics Genes
Brain chemistry Brain chemistry
Sensation seeking
Boredom avoidance
Genetics ­ Black et al (2006) found that first
degree relatives of problem gamblers are more
likely to suffer from pathological gambling more
than distant relatives.
Indicates genetic transmission of
predisposition to initiate a gambling
Brain chemistry ­ Noble et al (1991) identified a variant if a dopamine
receptor gene which indicates certain individuals require higher amounts of
stimulation to experience reward and pleasure.…read more

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Individual Differences Inheritance of gambling may be
Explains why some people develop indirect
gambling addiction whereas others Alessi and Petry (2003) suggest that
don't despite similar life inherited impulsivity is a significant
pressures/experience. predictor of developing risky behaviours
rather than an individual gene itself. This
may predict gambling or other
addictions.…read more

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There may be a biological predisposition that means some people are more
vulnerable to become addicted to smoking rather than others.
From family and twin studies, inheritability of
smoking ranges from 39% to 80%.
Vink et al (2005) tested 1572 pairs of Dutch
twins. He found that genes accounted for 44%
of individual differences in smoking. These
relatively low numbers mean that genes may
not predict initiation and that there is a
stronger, environmental influence.…read more

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Genes linked to smoking
Thorgiessen et al (2008) found a specific gene
on chromosome 15 linked to number of
cigarettes smoked on likelihood of
Those who smoked more than 10 cigarettes a
day were more likely to have the variant on
chromosome 15.
Indicates why genes may play a higher part in
individual differences of maintenance rather
than initiation.
Also means that those with the gene may
become more addicted during maintenance
and therefore fall into relapse easily.…read more

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Gambling Smoking
Self medication model Expectancy theory
Irrational beliefs Automatic processing
Recall Bias Expectancies of costs and rewards
Self Medication Model ­ Gelkopf et al (2002)
Individuals intentionally use the addictive behaviour to cope with
psychological problems such as boredom, poor mood and social issues.
They choose to participate in the behaviour because the individual
believes that it will improve these issues.…read more

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Irrational beliefs ­ Oei & Gordon (2008)
Gamblers frequently have irrational beliefs about their ability to control the
outcomes of gambling.
Gamblers are more likely to be superstitious
These irrational beliefs are cognitive
distortions which include `gambler's
Gambler's fallacy is the idea that random
events such as a coin toss are dependent
on previous events. For example, when
tossing a coin getting 3 heads in a row will
be followed by a tails to balance it out.…read more

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Recall Bias ­ Blanco et al (2000)
Recall bias is the distorted thoughts having an impact on the memory of the
individual. This means that as they believed they won more than they lost,
they have a distorted memory and more likely to fall back into gambling
because of the minimal perceived consequences.
Expectancy Theory ­ Brandon et al (1999)
Expectancy theory is the idea that different addicts perceive the outcome of
their actions differently.…read more

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Treatment Implications Issues with research validity
Tate et al (1994) found that the There is a difference between being
expectancies of the addicts can be an addict and performing an action
manipulated to improve cessation to excess.
rates. Addiction is characterised by a
loss of control and it is unclear if
These smokers told that they wouldn't expectancies will have an impact
experience any negative experiences when on this loss of control.…read more

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Gambling Smoking
Operant conditioning Social learning theory
Classical conditioning Operant conditioning
Classical conditioning
Operant conditioning ­ Operant Conditioning is a type of
learning in which a behaviour is strengthened when it's
followed by reinforcement, and weakened when followed by
We are more likely to repeat behaviours that have desirable
consequences.…read more



A very useful summary of addiction which covers all the major topics and is colourful too!


This is really good, thanks!

Shinelle Nhyira

Very good!

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