Public interventions

Public interventions to addiction 

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  • Created on: 15-06-12 16:00
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Biological Interventions
Smoking Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Involves releasing nicotine into the bloodstream in order to relieve the withdrawal
symptoms from smoking. Desensitises nicotine receptors in brain so if a person does
smoke, it is less satisfying. Releases nicotine into blood more slowly than cigarettes
meaning NRT is less satisfying, encouraging relapse. Nicotine causes cigarette
addiction but cigarettes contain other harmful substances ­ NRT prevents the person
from ingesting these harmful substances. Therefore it is logical to reduce nicotine to
eliminate consumption of harmful substances.
However nicotine itself does have harmful effects, e.g.:
Increases heart rate and blood pressure, leading to heart disease
Aggravates diabetes
Increases tumour growth
Affects development of foetuses
Serotonin Drugs
Evidence of serotonin dysfunction/fluctuation in pathological gamblers (George and
Murali, 2005). SSRIs regulate serotonin levels, which could reduce the urge to partake
in addictive behaviours.
Hollander et al (2000) found that gamblers treated with SSRIs to increase serotonin
levels showed significant improvement compared to a control group.
Dopamine Drugs
Neltrexone Inhibits the release of dopamine that results from gambling. Supported by
research by Kim and Grant (2001) who found a decrease in gambling thoughts and
behaviour after 6 weeks. Research with 10 participants over 16 weeks showed
neltrexone reduced urge to gamble (Hollander et al, 2000). However these studies only
looked at short term effectiveness ­ limited research into the long term effectiveness of
the drug.
Psychological Interventions Behavioural
Aversion Therapy for Smoking: Rapid Smoking AO1
Based on classical conditioning. Aims to teach negative associations for addictive
behaviour. Person trying to quit smoking put in a small, closed room (no windows or
ventilation) and told to smoke every six seconds. This causes the person to feel nausea

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This leads to the
association between smoking and feeling ill.
Procedure: Participants were given a wristband with which they were told to
administer themselves with electric shocks when they touched a cigarette
packet, lit a match or placed the cigarette in their mouth.
Findings: 52% of participants abstained from smoking for 12 months.
Conclusion: Suggests aversion therapy is an effective treatment for smoking
addiction.…read more

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Implemented a smoking ban at work for New South Wales ambulance staff. 6 weeks
later, smokers were given a questionnaire and a blood test. The findings showed that
staff reported less smoking at work and home (though problems with self report).
However blood tests showed increased smoking outside work hours. This shows that
ban didn't decrease smoking, just changed smoking behaviour.
Doctor's Advice
70% of smokers in the UK consult their GP each year.…read more


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