Cognitive approach to addiction Essay, 24/25

My essay hope its helpful

HideShow resource information
  • Created by: sophie
  • Created on: 07-10-10 18:15
Preview of Cognitive approach to addiction Essay, 24/25

First 567 words of the document:

Sophie Mason
Cognitive Explanations of Addiction. (25)
The cognitive approach states that negative behaviour is caused by faulty thought
processes by the person. It focuses more on why the behaviour started and more
specifically why a person may come to rely on a drug or behaviour when in some cases
using the drug can cause more harm than dealing with the problems they are trying to
hide from. In areas it also over laps with the behavioural approach as the cognitive
behavioural here it concedes that faulty thinking can be learnt often through vicarious
learning. There are three main theories contained within the cognitive model these are
the self medication model, the rational choice theory and the expectancy theory.
In 2002 Gelkopf developed the self medication model this states that individuals
use drugs to treat psychological problems. He also said that the drug a person took what
carefully chosen, for example a person smoking to relieve stress or anxiety. Smokers
then persist in their behaviour because they have the impression that the drug,
cigarettes, are working. Cigarettes have an instant effect on stress as it stops the
withdrawal symptoms the individual would have been experiencing. The cigarettes
however, in the long term, increase stress levels this encourages the individual to light
up again. This can lead to a vicious cycle as the person smokes to relieve stress and
becomes stressed thinking that they have not smoked, urging them to maintain their
behaviour. After a period of abstinence if a person smokes they quickly become
stressed due to the fact they are smoking and the behaviour is repeated to relieve the
stress. The same is true for the use of alcohol to control nervousness. This supports the
deterministic side of the free will debate as a person cannot choose to change their
thought patterns because they are involuntary.
Gottdiener et al conducted a metaanalysis of 10 studies which focused on the
main part of the model which is ego control. He found that all the participants who were
substance abusers had a loss of ego control they thought they were better advised to
treat their psychological problems themselves using drink or drugs. As this is a
collection of studies it is more likely to be reliable as all the results are consistent and it
will contain a large sample. It is also a recent study conducted in 2008 which means that
it is still relevant and applicable to today's society. Sanjuan's 2009 study supports the
self medication model he found that women who had been sexually abused were more
likely to use drugs or alcohol to relieve inhibitions before sex than those who had not
been sexually abused. The self medication model also states that drugs are chosen for
their affect on an individual, this disregards the theory that gateway drugs such as
cannabis lead to harder addictions such as heroin. The self medication model is highly
reductionist as it does not take into account any other theories or models for example it
discredits totally the dopamine hypothesis, saying that addiction is purely disordered
thinking. Cause and effect can also be debated with this model as it is difficult to explain

Other pages in this set

Page 2

Preview of page 2

Here's a taster:

Another theory which falls under the cognitive umbrella is the rational choice
theory. West et al in 2006 said that an addiction was when a specific behaviour was
excessively frequent or the costs clearly outweigh the benefits but the behaviour
persists. Becker and Murphy testified that people choose to engage an addictive
behaviour after weighing up the costs and benefits. The model uses the concept of
a 'Utility', from economics which is a measurement of satisfaction relative to the
consequences of the action.…read more


No comments have yet been made

Similar Psychology resources:

See all Psychology resources »See all resources »