Models of addiction

My notes for the different models of addiction:

- Learning

- Biological

- Cognitive

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Biological Approach
Addictive drugs stimulate the mesolimbic pathway (reward pathway) in the centre of the
brain, the neurons in this pathway stimulate dopamine to be released which is a pleasure
stimulating neurotransmitter. The pathway is close to the memory centre of the brain and so
important pleasure experiences are recorded to memory.
Robinson and Berridge: repeated exposure to a drug leads to increased brain sensitivity to
the desireability of the drug. (incentive sensitisation)
Shah (2005) twin study found genetic transmission of gambling in men
Black (2006) first degree relatives (siblings) of pathological gamblers were more likely to
suffer from gambling than more distant relatives
Family and twin studies show a smoking heritability of 39-80%
Vink (2005) studied 1,572 dutch twin pairs. Both males and females were 44% genetic and
56% environment.
Boardman (2008) 348 identical US twins and 321 DZ estimated heritability of 42%
Chronic exposure reduces brain activity in the mesolimbic pathway (down regulation) which
creates withdrawal symptoms, this creates a negative craving to relieve withdrawal
symptoms rather than a positive craving to create pleasure. Down regulation needs drug
levels to increase to create the same feeling (tolerance)
Paris (2010) measured gamblers cortisol levels before and after watching their preferred
mode of gambling and a neutral stimuli (rollercoaster ride). Recreational gamblers had
increase in both, pathological had no increase to either
Zuckerman (1979) claimed that there are individual differences in the need for stimulation.
High sensation seekers have lower appreciation of risk and anticipate arousal as more
positive than low sensation seekers.
Vink also found nicotine dependence to be 75% genetics. So although initiation may be more
environmental maintenance is linked more to nicotine metabolism which releases dopamine
which is short lived pleasure, concentration so continue to smoke to keep these feelings and
alleviate withdrawal effects.
Drug desire may assume more importance than other desires such as eating as the signals of
reward are compelling, cues remind addicts of the pleasure. Chronically brain functioning
changes which makes the frontal cortex less effective at decision making
Pathological gamblers need intense stimulation and excitement
Blaszcznski (1990) people with poor boredom tolerance may contribute to repetitive
gambling. Pathological gamblers have particularly high boredom proneness.
Xian (2003) used a twin study found 54% genetic risk of failed quitting

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Learning Approach
Operant conditioning: positive reinforcement releases dopamine
White: drugs create the same feelings as stimuli such as food drink and sex
Classical conditioning: secondary reinforcers occur at the same time as the drug
Glautier: sight and smell of pub gave similar response as alcohol
Social learning: observation of behaviour with a positive outcome
Griffiths (2009): gamblers become addicted due to the psychological, physiological, social
and financial rewards
Delfabbro and Whinefield (1999): gamblers are not always rational and more weight is given
to the…read more

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Cognitive Approach
Expectancy theory: the more the person believes the desired effect will be created the
more of the activity they partake in.
Self medication: individuals purposefully use drugs to treat psychological symptoms, the
drug selected is perceived to help
Rational choice: individuals weigh up costs and benefits, addiction is an increase in
consumption as a rational choice has occurred.…read more



good summary thanks :)

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