Cognitive Model of Addiction

How cognitive processes can explain addiction.

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Cognitive Processes

Self regulation = weighing up the social and physical factors, as well as the individual's own goals when planning behaviour

Faulty thought processes - addicts seem unable to control their actions even if they want to, may be due to considering present consequences more heavily than future consequences (cognitive myopia - Herrnstein and Prelec, 1992)

Cognitive process model - behaviours become automatic so are hard to stop. When faced with cues/triggers, it takes a lot of mental effort to avoid the behaviour.

Faulty attitude - "alcohol makes me relax" "I need to drink to fit in"

Perception of control - "I can't cope without a drink"

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Cognitive Model - Commentary

Effective at explaining why relapse occurs - so could provide methods of preventing relapse.

Doesn't effectively address how initiation occurs - so not good for prevention.

Has implications for treatment - cognitive therapies are effective; identifies triggers, taught strategies to change and taught new skills such as relaxation.

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