(Full Notes) Types of Intervention

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Psychology of Addictive Behaviour
Types of Intervention
Biological Interventions
o Agonist Substitution (Methadone for heroin addiction) ­ Methadone mimics
the effects of heroin, however it is less addictive. The drug user is given
increasing amounts of methadone to increase their tolerance to the drug.
This is carried out with the dosage decreased until the addict no longer need
either drug.
o Antagonist Substitution (Naltrexone for Gambling) ­ No drug has yet been
approved for pathological gambling, but research suggests that drug
treatments can be beneficial. George and Murali (2005) suggested that
gamblers have been found to have serotonin dysfunction. Hollander et al
(2000) found that gamblers treated with Selective Serotonin Reuptake
Inhibitors (SSRI's) to increase serotonin levels presented significant
improvements compared to the control group. The administration of
naltrexone works by reducing rewarding and reinforcing properties of
gambling behaviour ­ Thus reducing their urge to gamble.
1. Naltrexone is Successful ­ Kim and Grant (20011) support for the effectiveness of
naltrexone through their study that found a significant decrease in gambling
thoughts and behaviours after 6 weeks of treatment.
2. Problems with Methadone Treatment ­ Some addicts can become just as reliant on
methadone as they were on heroin, and therefore one addiction is merely being
substituted for another.
3. Use of Methadone = Controversial - Statistics show more than 300 methadone
related deaths in2007 in the UK. Consumption is unsupervised and it has created a
black market in methadone, with addicts sometimes seeking their doses for £2.
Psychological Interventions
o Reinforcement - Rewards people for not engaging in the behaviour and these
rewards act as positive reinforcement, so people continue to disengage in the
behaviour. Sindelar et al (2007) tested those on methadone treatment. One group
was rewarded each time that their urine tests came back as negative. At the end of
the programme, the reward group had 60% more negative urine samples than the
control group.
o Cognitive Behavioural Therapies (CBT) ­ Based on the idea that addictive
behaviours are maintained by the persons thoughts about these behaviours.The
main goal is to help people to change the way they think about their addiction and
learn ways of coping efficiently. In gambling addiction, a cognitive error such as

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1. Research Support for CBT ­ Ladouceur et al (2001) allocated 66 pathological gamblers to
either a CBT group or a waiting list (control group). Of those who completed treatment,
86% no longer fulfilled the DSM criteria for pathological gambling. They also found that
after treatment, gamblers had better perception of control over their gambling problem
and so they had increased their self-efficacy. These improvements had been maintained at
a 1 year follow-up.…read more

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Gupta (2004) found that gambling during adolescence can lead to adverse outcomes, such
as strained relationships, delinquency and criminal behaviour, even suicide.…read more


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