Biological Interventions for Addiction

  • Biological therapies see addiction as a disease and usually involve medication
  • They aim for complete abstinence

Agonist substitution: e.g. Nicotine replacement therapy


  • Agonist: mimics the action of another substance
  • Provides a drug that is chemically similar to the addictive drug without the harmful effects

O    Nicotine patches, chewing gum, inhalers

  • Nicotine is delivered slowly into the blood stream and break
  • It works by reducing withdrawal symptoms - keeps levels of dopamine high
  • Desensitises nicotine receptors in the brain and reduces cravings


  • Available in different strengths
  • + 10 = 25mg
  • -10 = 15mg



 Silagy Et Al (2002): meta-analyses have concluded that NRT is effective. People who use NRT are twice as likely to quit smoking for at least 6 months compared to control group

... However, although NRT might


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