The third in the MassivePost Revision Series- Psychology, again, Unit 4, AQA, A. Enjoy! It’s a work-in-progress so I will try and have it finished before tomorrow (my exam, hehe).
A good way to begin to define what an addiction is, is to first differentiate it from a similar concept: what is a habit, and what is an addiction, for example. Can something that is a habit progress into an addiction? When do habits become addictions? Can addictions be controlled until mere habits?
HABITS OR ADDICTIONS?: Eating sweets/mints and ice cream, watching TV programmes(Channel Surfing) and movies, completing crossword puzzles- all arguably pleasant behaviours. There are unpleasant ones, too: biting fingernails, itching cuts/abrasions when healing, biting your lip, hoarding objects, illegal drug use, prescription drugs, overeating, caffeine, slot machines and gambling.
The key is control; a behaviour is classed as a habit when the person enacting it still has control. A behaviour becomes an addiction on a most basic level, when it is in an extreme form(e.g. obsession) as (the main point) there is a loss of control. This is mainly shown when the behaviour influences your day to day life. Another means of addiction, is when a person becomes ‘hooked’ onto a chemical substance(they can no longer function with out it. In some extremes a person who is ‘hooked’ onto a chemical substance or to a behaviour can become sick- the first, a physical illness of the body which in extremes can lead to shock or physical damage of the body as e.g. it may have become reliant on the input of the substances to function; the second, can cause emotional and mental damage which can be both easier or much more complex an issue to heal afterwards.
-A good way to remember addiction is a matter of control (Self control, discipline or lack thereof):
“Control your bad habits, before they control you.”
A Other means of determining that something has progressed into addictive behaviour: -the significance of the detrimental affect on a person, the addictive behaviour is most likely to spawn from/as a method of coping with, for example, stress or as a form of escapism, -the person in question spends a lot of their day/time on enacting or thinking about the behaviour/obsession, -could see a decline in health or a number of health issues spring up due to the addiction directly or indirectly (e.g. someone addicted to drugs could develop a series of mental, behavioural and physical conditions as well as personality changes, whereas someone addicted to a branch of the internet e.g. blogs, could over/under eat, and so become obese or very thin/anorexic and or any other illnesses from insufficient nutrients- like anemia- and develop mental issues e.g. depression/anxiety/apathy possibly due to the change in appearance and treatment in response to these changes and not get enough sunlight.) and of course, finally, the first way mentioned -lack of control such as the (possibly extreme) behaviour influences the persons day to day life.
“Addiction is the compulsive uncontrolled use of habit forming drugs”- Websters New International Dictionary.
Marlatt et al (’88): “A repetitive habit pattern that increases the risk of disease and/pr associated personal and social problems. Addictive behaviours are often experienced subjectively as a ‘loss of control’- the behaviour contrives to occur despite volitional attempts to abstain or moderate use.”- So addictions cannot, according to this definition regress back into habit, atleast not initially,- “These habit patterns are typically characterised by immediate gratification (short term rewards), often coupled with delayed deleterious effects(long term costs). Attempts to change an addictive behaviour(via treatment or self initiation/immolation) are typically marked with high relapse rates.” This is an OPERATIONALISED definition of addictive behaviour.
Bullet points from the explanatory jargon and the definition(second one) to consider when identifying an addiction:
-lack of control (due to being…)
-(often) a means of coping with e.g. stress (which becomes or IS)
-extreme behaviour version (so…the next point happens)
-disruptive influences day-to-day life (which has..)
-negative consequences (disease/ill health body, mind/emotional duress; in life)
-lack of volition (even if you want to stop it’s hard; can relapse)
-thinking about it all the time.
Addiction– an increasingly repetitive behaviour, to the point where it does harm(negative consequences, disruptive influence) of some form to your life; where you are dependent upon it and experience a lack of control.
The difference between a habit and an addiction is that you can stop enacting your hobbies/passions if you need to or where appropriate(mostly), and addictions have negative connotations- effects on your life. For example: it may be a student’s passion to paint concept art, but when they need to stop to e.g revise for upcoming exams, it might make them unhappy but they can stop painting to do so. Whereas a person who is addicted would find the upcoming exams intrusive and if they managed to start revising, their need to paint would interfere (e.g. excessive breaks, thoughts are unfocused or distracted from revision topics, no concentration, efforts to revise inconsistent and infrequent and there also may be a significant delay from beginning).
Components of Addictive Behaviour:
- Salience- thinking about the addiction all the time; patterns develop(places/times), inverted(obsessed)
- Mood modification- experience people report whilst carrying out addictive behaviour: makes you feel better/good (“highs”, “buzz”), acts as a stress-reliever or feel in control.
- Tolerance- the addict has to have more and more for the same effects.
- Withdrawal Symptoms- unpleasant feelings and physical effects that occur once behaviour is stopped(stages; replaces with something else, agitated manner, fidgets, becomes cranky.)
- Relapse- When get into a stressful situation ( for e.g.), unable/feel you are unable to cope, so behaviour regresses to something you know is a given comfort: the addictive behaviour you had been fighting against recommitting. Barriers/Reservations fall.
- Conflict(internal and sometimes, external if e.g. vocal)- the development of conflicts with people around them(the ‘addicts’ e.g. for substances), causing social misery and internal conflicts; they are re-addicted and not set on this new path(but are convinced they are because they ‘failed’ at stopping) so are aggressively defensive (overcompensating) towards others. At this stage can break/break down and attempt again after a period of time, or move onto next stage.
- Apathy- The continual choosing of ST pleasure and relief leads to disregard of adverse consequences and LT damage of self, so resolve has hardened, which in turn increases need (input) for substances/obsession (e.g.) as a coping strategy.
Factors affecting addictive behaviour
- Personal vulnerability exps–> substance abuse by people displaying a ‘rebellious’ personality trait or ‘less conventional attitudes’ McMurran, personality neuroticism, psychoticism, extraversion abuse drugs Eyesenck, also same with Teeson(alcohol, heroin, nicotine).
- Self Esteem
- Addictive personality
- individual differences.
- Attribution attitude(and theory of addiction) where explain behaviour of others to make sense of the world. Theory enabled psys to show how use of word ‘addiction’ can promote irresponsibility (relapse/conflict/apathy), learned helplessness and passivity Preyde and Adams. Addict -lead to self-fulfilling prophecy fostering hopelessness, dependency and low self-efficacy. SO….What People Think About Addiction Is Important.
- addiction availability Social Context: Addictions and Availability
- media effects The Media’s Influence/The Role of the Media in Addictive Behaviour
- advertising effects
Models of Addictive Behaviour
Disease model Disease model- changes in brain due to continued exposure to a substance. Suggests that addiction originates from a malady or disorder of the body such as a neurochemical imbalance. As such the individual has little control over the resultant addictive behaviour (e.g. same way an individual can control whether get measles or not)
Genetic Model- Suggests there is a genetic predisposition/disposition towards addictive behaviour. E.g. Known that if both parents smoke biggest risk factor for you too to become a smoker, but does this mean it’s a genetic predisposition or is it the environment influencing you (family)? Evidence higher incidence of specific genes with individuals exhibiting addictive behaviours.
Experiential model- Addictions much more temporary: depend on situational circumstances at present time than either previous two models suggest. Suggests people often move on/grow out of addictive behaviours as life situs change.
Moral Model- Suggests lack of character is key issue; weakness or moral failure is why an individual becomes addicted. Clearly to repent and develop moral strength is the only solution.
Key Terms: Susceptibility, operationalised
Approach Explanations of Addiction:
Biological Approach to Addictive Behaviour: Neurotransmitters, Disease and Genetics
- Neurotransmitters- Chemical transmitting messages between nerve cell gaps. If blocked/replaced, message changes and there is an effect on physiological systems and cognition, mood and behaviour. Commonly implicated is dopamine(“creativity hormone” makes you want to create, to have a buzz, unlike seratonin), Potenza(2001). Not just chemical addictions, also implicated in behaviours such as gambling- behaviours e.g. gambling and gaining(Comings et al 96, Koepp et al 96).
- Genetics– Until recently main way to study genetic factors through studying family relationships. Recently genetic analysis allows study to find differences between genetic structures of people with or without addictive behaviours. Different answers. Family studies environmental influences on development of ABs: MZ (monozygotic twins- identical) and DZ (dizyotic- fraternal) Twin studies(Agraval and Lynskey 08), and family studies(Han et al 99- est. contribution of genetic and environmental factors towards substance abuse in adolescents, concluded that behaviour of substance use out of over 300 MZ and just under 200 DZ twins was due to environmental influences rather than genetics). However, Personality Traits(Jang 2000) -some family studies, involved 300+ MZ and DZ twins, looked at connection between -specifically- alcohol abuse and personality. Showed that there is a connection b’tween genetics and antisocial personality traits(inc. attention seeking, not following social norms and violence); these personality characteristics and alcoholism. Similar findings for behavioural addictions -gambling, Comings. EVALUATIVE POINT: Slutske(10, pronounced: sl-tsKa)- perfect storm eval Addiction for right conditions- has the genetic predisposition, but also the right social situation for addiction.
- nature vs. nurture, argues that addicts born with and predisposed/vulnerable to certain conditions(addictions), chromosome 18&19 associated (not clear cut however, to get addictions) doesn’t mean will get addicted. (Sarafino 90)- children of alcoholic parents 4 times more likely to develop drinking issues themselves.
Brain Structure- PET scans, autopsies, Corsakoffs Syndrome, Neurotransmitters
- Reinforcement – overlaps with the behavioural approach. Positive(rewards), negative(punishments), aversive therapy (negative e.g.) Something that will increase the chance of the behaviour occurring again. Learned associations, classical or operant conditioning
An Evaluation: EVALUATIVE POINT: Slutske(10, pronounced: sl-tsKa)- perfect storm eval Addiction for right conditions- has the genetic predisposition, but also the right social situation for addiction. Agraval (08)…. DRD2(Dopamine D2 respond to antipsychotic. + Help exp susceptibility -neurotransmitter’s effects not properly understood. -Interaction with social context is neglected(unlike with cognitive approach exp) -Genotypes not whole story; reductionist explanation, over-simplified.
Cognitive Approach: Self-medication, Irrational Thinking, Rational Choice Theory and Expectancy theories: GAMBLING EXAMPLE
Cognitive focus on FAULTY THINKING processes, particularily during the maintenance phase of addiction. Assumed that we all have the potential to develop an addiction but the faulty thinking is what allows for development. It is assumed there are three stages for development of addictive behaviour: initiation, maintenance and relapse. The cognitive approach provides understanding for behavioural addictions more so than organic (chemical) ones. (this model’s basic assumption is that a person’s thoughts are responsible for their behaviour. As such, deals with how information is processed in the brain and the IMPACT it has on behaviour; the individual? Is an ACTIVE PROCESSOR of information. How a person perceives, anticipates and evaluates events rather than the events themselves which have an impact on behaviour is where the cognitive approaches interest lies)
Faulty thinking and Irrational Biases= Irrational Thinking.
- Faulty thinking:the cognitive approach focuses on the way we process information. According to this approach addictive behaviour is the result of ‘bad judgements’, with gambling for example, people think they will win despite odds being against them. Associated in those who believe in luck.
- Irrational Biases (Griffiths 94): gambling is maintained through irrational beliefs despite odds for gambling.
- Heuristics: “rule of thumb”- A term used to describe how gamblers justify their behaviours. Hindsight bias justifies that they know what was going to happen, flexible attribution means attribute winnings as own skill and losses to ‘other’ factors. Gamblers only focus on winnings and not losses- frequency bias. Heuristics: Usual common sense. Follow something to get from A-B, follow set steps.
KEY CASE: Gamblers’ irrational Cognitive Biases (Griffith 94)
An Evaluation: +help exp individual differences, -irrationality erratic predictor of addictive behaviour, -cognitive exps may be limited to particular addictions, -experiential factors may play a role, -skill perception varies across individuals, -need to control variations in percieved skill.
Self Medication(Gelkopf): individuals intentionally use drugs to treat psychological symptoms that ail them.
Initiation: drug not random, perceived as helpful to cure ailment. Therefore initiation of drug use, and choice of drug, depends on the specific affect the individual desires. Drug may not make ailment better, it only needs to be judged as doing so by the individual to become an addiction.
E.G. drug: Alcohol, ailment: anxiety, affect: lessens inhibitions increases confidence, chosen: help individual overcome anxiety. Another example for why a drug was chosen is that they appear to control aggressive urges(violent or urges that are very strong?) or stress-relief.
Maintenance and relapse: Cohen and Lichtenstein 90- smokers reason is stress-relief, but reports show smokers as more stressed than non-smokers, and once they stop stress levels decrease. These rise again when they relapse. Parrott 98- reason for this paradox is that each cigarette has an acute (ST) effect on the stress as relieves withdrawal symptoms which arise when a smoker can’t smoke however there is a chronic (LT) effect from smoking which increases stress. So a build-up effect.
Behavioural (Learning Theory) Explanations for Addictive Behaviour
- Operant conditioning
An Evaluation: +help explain individual differences, -neither conditioning exps is sufficient on its own simplistic, -findings contrary to operant theory, -operant exps are not equally successful -learning theories can not stand in isolation(good and bad: ecclectic approach?)
( EXTRA: The Multi-model ECCLECTIC approach p.449-451)
An Overarching Evaluation of all aformentioned approaches