Approaches to Addiction

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Biological Approach

  • Reward pathway- drives feelings of motivation and behaviour
  • Memory tells you a behviour will make you feel good- brain tells body to initiate it
  • Connects to parts of brain which control memory and behaviour- increases likelihood that you will repeat the behaviour
  • Experience of withdrawal symptoms can cause a person to carry on with their addictive behviour (gambling)
  • The body develops a tolerance to the dopamine released, so more is needed to make the person feel good- cause maintenance of smoking
  • Behaviour is continued to avoid negative withdrawal and to give pleasure sensation
  • Relapse occurs because there is a loss of the pleasure levels and so the individual does the behaviour again to avoid withdrawal symptoms
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Learning Approach

  • Social learning theory- initiation occurs because people observe their role models (e.g. peers, parents, celebrities) and imitate their behaviour, This effect is sped up if the role model is seen to gain positive consequences as a result of the behaviour
  • Cue reactivity theory- CC- stimuli (e.g. lighter, betting shop) become associated with the positive feelings which come as a result of the behaviour
  • OC- addictive behviour is reinforced by peer acceptance, psychological and physiological rewards- makes a person want to repeat the behaviour
  • Cue reactivity theory- the person is presented with the stimuli and anticipates the pleasure associated with it. This causes them to relapse as they experience physiological responses
  • OC- the person relapses in order to get rid of the withdrawal symptoms- negative reinforcement
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Cognitive Approach

  • Initiation occurs because the person thinks that the behaviour/ substace is the only way that they can deal with the problems they are facing (self medication)
  • May be to treat a psycholical disorder which has not been diagnosed/treated
  • Expectancy- initiation occurs if the person believes that the behaviour has positive outcomes
  • Self-efficacy- may know that behaviour is dangerous but believe that they can control behaviour and any problems
  • Coping- individual may believe that the behaviour relieves stress/boredom- more likely to continue
  • Expectancy- addict believes giving up will be difficult-more likely to maintain behaviour to avoid withdrawal symptoms
  • Self-efficacy- must believe that they are capable of giving up- addiction will be maintained if not
  • Coping- addiction may resurface if individual is experiencing very unpleasant withdrawal symptoms- feel that they need the substance/behaviour to deal with them
  • Expectancy- addict must expect that abstaining from behaviour will be more beneficial than returning to it- relapse will occur if not
  • Self-efficacy- struggles with withdrawal symptoms may make someone feel unable to continue, so they relapse
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