discuss belief that addictive behaviour is solely explained by cognitive factors

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Discuss the belief that addictive behaviour is solely explained by cognitive factors.
The cognitive model of addiction indicates that people indicate and maintain addictive behaviour, and
relapse due to the way we think. It proposes that we engage in the addictive behaviour in order to
cope with stress and that we believe the behaviour will fulfil 3 major functions; mood regulation,
performance enhancement e.g. the addict feels more alert or able to perform certain tasks, and that
the behaviour is a distraction from less pleasant life experiences. The cognitive model explains that if
the expectation of positive outcomes outweighs the expectation of negative consequences, we are
more likely to engage in the addictive behaviour. However, these expectations do not have to be
correct in order to initiate the behaviour e.g. some smokers believe that smoking makes them less
stressed, however research shows that smokers have higher stress levels. This explanation also
claims that self-efficacy plays an important role in whether we engage in the addictive behaviour and
whether we believe we can do anything about the addictive behaviour once it has been established.
Beck et al. state that the cognitive model of addiction indicates that addicts find themselves in a
`vicious circle' in which addicts use their addiction to escape a low mood, which leads to financial,
social and medical problems and thus leads to a low mood again.

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