Addiction Report

This is a report I had to write for class it includes behavioural, biological and cognitive models of addiction.

I got an A* for this report :D

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Addiction can be defined in general as a condition where an individual relies on substances,
such as drugs like methamphetamines, or engages in certain activities, like gambling, which they may
find pleasurable but through the repeated indulgence in these activities their behaviour becomes
compulsive and interferes with their ability to function competently with their everyday lives. The
addiction affects every aspect of the individuals life relationships, work and even health. The
individual may oblivious to the fact that their behaviour is causing any damage whatsoever to their lives
or disrupting any relationships they may have with other people, personal or professional.
There are many symptoms individuals show highlighting that they are addicted to something.
These include:
Inability to limit the use of a substance or activity
Craving or compulsion to use the substance or activity
Withdrawal symptoms such as nausea or anxiety surface on attempts to stop using the
substance or indulging in the activity.
Continued use of the substance or the activity leaves them unable to work, have relationships
and could lead to negligence of family responsibility.
Negative effects on health are seen, physically and psychologically
You can either be an addict or a nonaddict, you can't be slightly addicted.
Addiction can cause people to feel ashamed of themselves and in general they can feel quite
hopeless and like they are a failure. Anxiety and depression are quite common among people with
substance addictions. This may be due to the lack of control that addicts feel they have, most addicts in
general live around their addiction letting it dictate how they behave and what they do.
Substances like methamphetamine, also known as Crystal Meth, are very addictive, cheap, widely
available, and easy to prepare, most methamphetamine addicts according to studies have been shown
to either have felt unable to cope or depressed. This is similar to most people who become addicted to
drugs. Majority of the people in the study where diagnosed with clinical depression or severe anxiety.
In most cases individuals had young children they had either given to family members to take care of,
or their children had been taken away from them because they were seen unfit to care for them.
The dangers of addiction are known to everyone, both addicts and non addicts, which leads
people to question why people still become addicted to substances. Several studies have shown that
addiction has a genetic component. Most addictions seem to run in families especially substance abuse.
In general there have been many explanations put forward as to why addiction occurs at all,
and also why some people become addicted and others don't. It has been shown that substance abuse
runs in families which could insinuate that addiction is due to genetic factors. Although abuse and
dependence on drugs has been assumed to be largely influenced by genetics, whether someone uses
drugs depends entirely on their environment.
Most people use drugs and there potentially addictive activities because they are seeking some
sort of reward from it. For example, people who take drugs usually do it because of the physical
feelings that the drugs bring about. These substances and activities change the way people feel. It

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However some people use drugs as a form of medication i.e. a person suffering from social
anxiety might take drugs in order to stop feeling repressed and become less afraid of social situations.
Also drugs like cocaine can be used as a form of pain relief for people with illnesses such as multiple
The feeling that most substance users get when they take a certain substance is called "a
high," different drugs have different psychological effects and create different mood states.…read more

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The most common studies carried out to conclude whether genes can determine whether or
not addiction occurs in an individual, are family studies. Family studies of alcohol use disorders have
shown high rates amongst relatives. Cases like these infer that potentially genes for addiction can be
genetically transferred. Merikangas et al found that 36% of the relatives of an individual with alcohol
use disorder also had alcohol use disorder.…read more

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This would
explain why some people, after experimenting with drugs, night go on to develop an addiction, while
others, given the same initial experience, would not. It also shows that addicts seem to have a physical
abnormality that causes the addiction and that they have to access these reward centres in their brains
through the use of substances.
The maintenance of the addiction according to the biological model is to avoid withdrawal
symptoms and predominantly relies on the biochemistry of the brain.…read more

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This may explain why people who have drug or alcohol addictions in these studies all had
the gene and non addicts don't have the gene.
But there are some good implications that have been brought about from the research done on
the biochemistry of the brain of an addicted individual, for instance, nicotine has been identified as the
addictive substance in cigarettes and there are no various treatments available that encourage smokers
to stop such as nicotine patches and gum.…read more

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In 1984 a psychologist called Custer suggested that the difference between those who go on to
become problem gamblers and those who do not, depends on the types of wins they have when first
starting, and that an early winning streak and/or big win might predispose people to addiction. Another
psychologist called Christopher produced evidence to support this view of how operant conditioning
can be used to learn addictive behaviours. He used pigeons in a Skinner box.…read more

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People are known to associate smoking with rewards such as relaxation and a method of
coping with stress. Young people want access to social networks and they find that smoking can
remove punishers for them, i.e. stress and loneliness. They also face peer pressure, they can be
coerced into smoking by peers who they think might bully or reject them if they don't take up smoking.…read more

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Too extinguish the addiction gambling must be consistently regarded with negative or mutual
feelings. This is hard to do because of the previous positive feelings that have been learned to
associate with gambling.
People want to continue to feel the reinforcement by maintain the habit. Smokers associate
having a cigarette with friends and feel relaxed. Gamblers gain partial reinforcement and the
infrequency of winning increases the compulsion to gamble.…read more

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In particular they tend to underestimate the amount of money they put in whilst overestimating their
There are two theories that try to explain the cognitive approach to addiction theory of
reasoned addiction and the theory of planned behaviour. Both theories provide explanations for why
people might begin to start addictive behaviours such as smoking.
For example, people might get addicted to smoking by starting to think about their attitudes
towards smoking and weighing up the pros and cons of smoking.…read more

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Both the theory of planned behaviour and the theory of reasoned addiction can apply to the
initiation of substance related addiction and activity related addiction. For instance an activity like
gambling can become addictive because it provides positive feelings which lead to positive thoughts
about gambling these thoughts are very hard to change. Experiences related to gambling, i.e. winning,
also lead to the feelings which reinforce positive cognitions. Studies have shown that most people turn
to gambling out of boredom.…read more


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