biological approach to addictive behaviour

  • Created by: athinaP
  • Created on: 12-05-16 19:33
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  • biological approach in explaining addictive behaviour
    • initiation
      • genetic predisposition, genes involved is the A1 variant of the DRD2 gene
        • involved in the regulation of dopamine levels. this gene may increase sensitivity to action of dopamine
        • SLC6A3-9 may also be involved.
    • maintenance
      • meso-limbic dopamine system involved in maintenance of addiction.
        • normally cells produce small amounts of dopamine but addictive substances increase dopamine levels in the synapse
      • addicts continue because in order to feel the same highs they need to maintain increased levels of dopamine
        • falling levels of dopamine leads to withdrawal symptoms
    • relapse
      • substances such as nicotine activate dopamine reward pathway and (neuroadaptation)
        • when substance is discontinued the adaptation is no longer needed and is experienced as withdrawal symptoms which are relieved by re-using the substance
    • evaluation
      • advantages
        • has lead to affective treatments eg nicotine replacement therapy for smoking
      • disadvantages
        • does not explain initiation as well as behavioural and cognitive approaches
        • if causes of addiction are due to genetics, addicts don't take responsibility for their addiction + treatment is less likely to be successful
      • bio-psychological model
        • involves an interaction of factors
          • biological vulnerability through brains reward system
          • family/peer attitudes that support addictive behaviour
          • high levels of impulse/ cognitive distortions


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