Explanations for specific addictions

Smoking and Gambling

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Why do people start smoking? And the effect of nic

Smoking usually starts in early adolencance as it is seen as a smybolic act and one which conveys messages to their peers as 'Im grown up' or 'Im rebellious' etc.

In the smokers peer group smokign is seen as enjoyable and something which promotes popularity. It has been found that children who favour this view of smoking tend to come from a background which approves of smoking or where it is common and accepted.

Jarvis (2004) said that it is through these thoughts about smoking that allows the person to tolerate the first few unpleasant cigarettes after which the physical aspect of nicotine kicks in and takes over

Smoking allows nicotine to ender the body which triggers a receptor in the brain which releases a dose of dopamine into the nucleus accumbens which gives a short term pleasurable experience which one they wear off the smoker can alleviate the symptoms of loss of concentration by having another cigarette. Smokers repeat this vicious cycle thousands of times to stop withdrawal symptoms

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Socio-economic status and nicotine addiction

There is a thought that there is a link between addiction to smoking and social disadvantage.

Fidler et al (2008) looked at smoking in the UK finding that smoking was associated with those of social and economic disadvantage with poorer smokers having higher nicotine intake levels which shows that higher nicotine intake in deprived smokers makes it harder for them to give up

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Pathological Gambling is seen as a major psychological disorder an is characterised by 3 things

  • The individual shows a loss of control when gambling
  • The individual shows a progressive increase in gambling and thinking about it
  • They continue to gamble despite the negative implications to their lives

It is thought that pathological gambling has genetic factors and runs in families, for example, Shah et al found that first degree relatives of pathological gamblers are more likely to become gamblers themselves showing a strong genetic link. It is proposed that they may inherit the trait of implusivity.

Sensation seeking and boredom avoidance:

It is thought some people 'Sensation Seek' and look for things to give them the positive arousal that the rush of gambling gives them which they really like. It has also been found that a poor tolerance to boredom can contribute to repetitive gambling behaviour. However there is a lack of research support for sensation seekers

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