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What Biological, Psychological and Social Facts Underlie Addiction?

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Clinical health psychology can be defined as the study of psychological and behavioral processes in health and illnesses. In other words health psychology is a branch of study that examines the interrelationship between biology, social factors and behaviour. A health psychologist is interested to know more about the person with the disease, to understand the educational or socioeconomic background, the behaviour that may influence the disease, like compliance for taking medication and the biological reason for the disease.

Health psychology might be best explain with the concept of different addictions.

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The purpose of this essay is to determinate the biological, psychological and social factors that underline addiction and the interrelationship between the factors. Differences exist among cultural groups across time in their laws and attitudes to drinking and drug use, for example the Netherlands a country where the use of cannabis is not a criminal offence, in this case the consumption decreased since the 1970s, according to Nadelman, (1989).

A country’s legal position in relation to substance use can influence the individual consumption , the restriction for example can increase the use of substance because is forbidden and for some persons the excitement and risk may attract them towards this activity.

“Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. (National Institute on Drug Abuse , NIDA), more over there are three definitional categories for addiction: a disease, self-choice and self-medication. (Mind the brain[online]). However science suggests that alcoholism and addiction are anything but simple phenomenon, they appeal to be multifactorial in origin, stemming from pharmacological, biological, psychological and social factors. From biological point of view, the addiction is seen as disease which proves that the addict is victim of an illness.

For example a heart disease, where there is no cure for aliment only control, there is no single pill or remedy for curing the illness, but rather a series of choices that can minimize the harm created by the disease, if there is a cure the individual must nonetheless continue to make significant life changes in order to prevent the disease form resurfacing. Furthermore the chemical abuse is not freely chosen, rather the excessive drinking or drugging seen to be beyond the control of the sufferer.

When addiction is seen as a disease the logical conclusion is the need of help, compassion and treatment, in comparison with the addiction seen as a self-choice, where the individual should be punish for the harm that causes to the family and society, it is not just using substance or drinking that results in problems but the consequences of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Addiction is not an all-or-none phenomenon, and can be thought to exist along a spectrum of severity use continuing with misuse, harmful use/abuse and dependence. The cause when a person moves from one category to another is often not clear, and is not necessary to pass through all the stages before reaching dependence. The term, misuse in biology indicates that the substance is either not legal or used in a way that does not comply with medical recommendation.

One of the curious observation associated with human misusing psychoactive drugs is the difference between persons when one can use a drug recreationally ,while the other one can become dependent on it. Clearly this suggest that there are factors which vary between people, as family history and influence how they react in contact with different substances. One of the most important fact can be the biology of individual , the abuse of drugs appear to act on different regions of the brain as well as on different neurotransmitters systems.

Even though research has demonstrated that despite these differences, all drugs that are known to be abused, after a while affect a common pathway, a brain region that is essentially in movement control. Richards, D et all (2007) Furthermore there are many reasons why people first start using drugs, but most are centered around pleasure or the expectation of increased efficiency or creativity. Initially most substance produce an effect such as euphoria or relief from anxiety, sadness and tension.

This may be intensified by social circumstances that the individual confronts and many of the substances allow him to forget adverse life circumstances. In addition alcohol or the use of drugs can also give self-confidence and access to a new group of friends. In time many substances create new problems, difficulties are ignored, minimized or wrongly attributed to another causes and the user have difficulty in evaluating the advantages and disadvantage of continuing to use them.

The addicts often describe their drug or alcohol use to ‘uncontrollable urges and cravings‘, craving is a desire for the substance and an urge is the internal drive or the stimulus to act on the desire, if a craving cannot be satisfied, for example understanding , an individual may turn to another such as substance use. Richards, D et all (2007) The psychological approaches to addiction are based on behavioural factors, which suggest the frequency of a behaviour is influenced by its consequences or reinforces, and the likelihood of behaviour being reinforced depends on the balance between rewards and punishments.

Family and social factor also have an impact that can determinate a learn behaviour on using drugs and alcohol consumption , people will vary in their drinking and drug use according to the company they have, besides messages about drinking and drug use are passed on from parents to children, rules are set up about what is and what is not an acceptable behaviour. In the same way the person’s lifestyle will have an impact upon substance use , issues including money or how a person organizes his or her time in respect of work and different activities.

In addition environmental factors have a role based on the area of leaving, for example in the rural area drinking alcohol may required more effort than in the cities because the pubs and supermarkets are far and fewer . In the same way behavioural skills are also important, if a person is engaged in various activity may have less need and time to drink or use drugs than a person without such preoccupation. Moreover the way a person thinks and feel can determinate the use of different substance, this will include beliefs that alcohol can manage moods and emotion such as anxiety , tension.

However, this whole range of factors that influence behaviour must be taken into account in any approach to understand addiction. Psychological theories give a large understanding in the processes by which these factors bear influence. Just as Ivan Pavlov’s dog in the nineteenth century learnt to associate feeding with the ringing of a bell, eventually the sound of the bell alone would make the dog salivate, in classical conditioning theory the food is an unconditioned stimulus and the sound of the bell is the conditioned stimulus .

Salivation in response to food is unconditioned response and salivation to the sound of the bell is the conditioned response. The importance of conditional responses in the addiction field are specific stimuli, corresponding with substance use, may come to a desire to indulge in substance use. In this case Heather and Robertson (1981) described a hypothetical example of an officer worker who drinks after work and typically arrives home around 9 p. . By the time he gets home , the level of alcohol from his blood is beginning to drop, which leads to the desire for more alcohol to restore the pleasant feeling. His response, therefore, is to go to the pub for another drink. Over time returning home comes in itself to trigger the desire for alcohol. McMuran,M(1994) UNCONDITIONAL STIMULUS ?CONDITIONED RESPONSE Waning blood alcohol levels Discomfort, irritability

CONDITIONED STIMULUS ? CONDITIONED RESPONSE Returning home Discomfort, irritability ( these feelings occur at the time of returning home, and this becomes a conditioned stimulus , like the bell in Pavlov’s experiment) Another psychological theory, operant conditioning that applies to an addictive behaviour drive from the work of B. F. Skinner (1904-1990), whose research was devoted to understanding how behaviour function upon the environment to produce changes that may be reinforcing or punishing.

Reinforcement is where the likelihood of a behaviour is increased, reinforcement may be positive, that is directly rewarding. (physical satisfaction, material gain) or can be negative , that is avoiding or escaping aversive experience, (relief of psychological or social discomfort. ) Punishment is where the likelihood of behaviour is decreased , punishment also can be positive , for example material loss or social disapproval or negative which is preventing the acquisition of positive outcomes ( psychological or social satisfaction).

For example the drinking may be positively reinforced by the “buzz” a person gets from alcohol, and may be negatively reinforced by the relief of boredom. A hangover would be a positive punishment and negative punishment would occur when a drinker who wish to have sex is denied the pleasure through physical incapacitation. Both reinforcement and punishment are defined by the relationship between a behaviour and its consequences, in the time where behaviour increase the consequences are reinforcing, and where the behaviour decrease the consequences are punishing.

In the same way the Social learning theory (Bandura , 1977) can be consider an interactionist theory , where the person, the environment and the behaviour all interact with each other to exercise influence in all direction. A person has the capacity to develop cognitive models of experience that serve as a guide for decision making. An individual can symbolize experience through though and language, which allows the capability of anticipation. A person is able to think and reason in any situation , weighing up the possible outcomes and decide what to do for the best.

Central to social learning theory is the notion of self-efficacy ( Bandura ,1977b). Self-efficacy may be defined as a person’s evaluation to perform a task in a specific situation. Efficacy influence people how much they want to do , what they choose to do, how much effort to put and how long to persist in a task. Self-efficacy is low when a person believes about himself to be unable to perform a task successfully . Abrams and Niaura (1987) summarize social learning principles in relation to alcohol use and abuse.

Where substance use is concerned , social learning theory suggests that people are instructed in cultural norms, and model the behavoiur of parents and generation. Individual differences such as biological, social skills and the ability to manage emotions will interact with socialization influences to determine initial patterns of consumption. Some people may have deficits in social coping skills or low self-efficacy beliefs and for those who have learned that substance will help them cope in the sort term , continued substance use will be likely.

With continued substance use , tolerance to the direct reinforcing effects is acquired and more of the substance may be needed to archive the desired effects. The person consisting reliant upon substance used, to provide short term positive outcomes is likely repeatedly to behave in ways that adversely affects his or her social relationship and environment. In conclusion the biological factors have a part to play through a person being more or less predisposed to develop an addiction, psychological actors are also important in the way an individual behave, influenced by his or her personal experience and learning history. Above all addictive behaviours occur in a cultural and social context and issues relating to rules, norms and values that are important in understanding addiction. In the same time the factors act in different modes and shape a person in different ways. It is impossible to become an addict person without all these three facts that influence all choices that a persons make in his or her life .

Cite this What Biological, Psychological and Social Facts Underlie Addiction?

What Biological, Psychological and Social Facts Underlie Addiction?. (2016, Oct 20). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/what-biological-psychological-and-social-facts-underlie-addiction/

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