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Ch 1: Introduction to Psychological Models of Addiction Theories and Biological Basis of Addiction

Consumption measures assess history of and current use by averaging across substance use occasions or at the event level. A critical message from informants was that the shutdown during the coronavirus pandemic increased feelings of abandonment and loneliness, as demanding periods in society often strike the most vulnerable inhabitants hardest [4, 46]. It was not so much talking as doing things together, like football or climbing or going to a concert.

  • Indeed, the immediate social environment has at least an equal if not greater impact on the probability of using drugs than any pre-existing neuropsychiatric condition (Frisher et al., 2007).
  • Data from this line of research to date are promising, and underscore the potential public health impact of technology-based therapeutic tools.
  • Mental health and behavior can be cyclical; for example, an individual who self-isolates as a symptom of depression may experience increased depressive symptoms as a result of isolation.

Participation in meaningful activities was necessary for the informants’ feelings of normality. The activities varied from ordinary jobs and work training to activities like yoga and self-help groups for people with mental health and substance use problems. All the informants had received professional support or therapy after they left inpatient SUD treatment, including economic support, work training, housing, trauma therapy, detox or inpatient treatment. They underlined the importance of having access to such treatment and support because it helped them to cope with difficult emotions, thoughts and life situations without using substances, or it provided support to stop using substances after relapses. Along with genetics, another contributing factor to the risk of addiction is one’s psychological composition.

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In other cases, we believe the arguments have less validity, but still provide an opportunity to update the position of addiction as a brain disease. Our overarching concern is that questionable arguments against the notion of addiction as a brain disease may harm patients, by impeding access to care, and slowing development of novel treatments. Indeed, Bandura elaborated extensively on the role of agency in his model of receptible determinism. Specifically, he argued that agency is defined by intentionality, forethought, self-reactiveness, and self-reflectiveness. Agency should not be equated with “free will”, which Bandura argued was a throwback to medieval terminology.

This genetic condition only plays a major role into increasing the risk of addicting and not necessarily inheriting the full terms of the disease. Although these evolving technologies have only just started to be applied to the field of substance abuse and related disorders, they have significant potential for having a marked impact on the field. Indeed, as Boyer et al.91 convincingly argues, these approaches could allow for real-time, unobtrusive psychophysiological measurement, and on-demand, continuous access to tailored support, education and interventions targeting substance abuse. For example, ubicomp tools may allow one to obtain real-time data of physiological and environmental factors that precede and follow drug use (or abstinence) and provide in-the-moment interventions responsive to these factors.

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They can also be complex and require considerable staff training to be properly applied. Even if evidence-based interventions are initiated by treatment programs, it may be difficult to ensure their fidelity. This may be due to the significant staff turnover in many programs and/or the high patient caseloads maintained by program counselors and their limited contact time with any one patient. In addition, travel to treatment programs may be a barrier to accessing evidence-based care for many patients, especially in rural areas. Thus, the limited compatibility of research-based interventions with treatment agency realities presents numerous operational barriers to the transfer of evidence-based practice into community-based settings.

  • Psychologists would later argue that this type of selection works primarily at the level of the individual.
  • The multifaceted disorder needs a multifaceted conceptualization, and we find that in the biopsychosocial model of addiction (Marlatt & Baer, 1988).
  • Perhaps most significantly, once these substances made their appearance in the archeological record, they did not vanish, but remained a permanent fixture of society.
  • For instance, John Locke argued that we are born a “blank slate”, and that knowledge is based exclusively on direct experience with the sensory world.

Some of them had used substances for a couple of days, and others had more extended periods of use. Ethical issues were considered during the recruitment, the interviews, the analysis, and the data interpretation. Conducting in-depth interviews about sensitive subjects requires great awareness and respect for the ‘informants’ emotions and boundaries [12]. The informants were encouraged to contact their therapist, family, or friends if they needed anyone to talk to about stressful thoughts and emotions following the interviews. The following quotations were translated by the authors and anonymised, but retain the content and meaning of the original narratives.


As Gillett (2009) remarks, “a decision is…not a circumscribed event in neuro-time that could be thought of as an output, and an intention is not a causal event preceding that output, but both are much more holistically interwoven with the lived and experienced fabric of one’s life” (p. 333). Many individuals who have serious addictions live in impoverished environments without suitable resources or opportunities. Thus it is the limited option for choice that is one prevailing variable, not only the reduced ability to choose alternatively.

Serious complications can cause health concerns or social situations to result in the end of a life. Just that they are present, much like genetic factors related to mental health disorders. Similar to most existing diseases, addiction can be treated and cured as long as the patients are willing to get help. The medical history has seen many addicts who manage to recover and never look back to the previous temptations. And while everywhere around us it is so popular to talk about much needed integration and acceptance, in today’s society some issues still remain heavily stigmatized. A great first step would be a decision to understand the root of the biopsychosocial problem itself and to acquire additional information about the numerous existing options for a treatment.

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