Psychology Module 1
Addiction, Research Methods & Schizophrenia
1) BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS
This approach suggests that we become addicted to something because doing without the stimulus is very unpleasant. Tolerance is an important concept in biological explanations of addiction. The more we use a substance or carry out certain behaviours, the more tolerant we are to its effects, so addicts must continue the addictive behaviour more and more to maintain the subsequent positive feeling it creates. Withdrawal occurs when the addict stops engaging in the addictive behaviour, but a range of unpleasant physical symptoms arise, known as withdrawal symptoms. Neurotransmitters play a role in both chemical and non-chemical addictions, as the addictive substance or behaviour causes changes in the brain chemistry following repeated use. Dopamine is the main subject of research. INITIATION Lehrman et al. (1999) found people with the SCL6A3-9 gene are more likely to take up smoking than those without it, suggesting that it is because of genetic predisposition that we initiate the addictive behaviour of smoking. (-) reductionism (-) some that smoked did not have the gene (+) Noble referred to the DRD2 gene as the reward gene, claiming that those with alleles of DRD2 that lead to fewer dopamine receptors in the brain were more likely to become addicted, as certain drugs that increase dopamine levels compensate for the receptor deficiency. (+) Comings et al. (1996) found that the DRD2 variation was found in higher frequencies in smokers, pathological gamblers and alcoholics than the normal population. (-) genes are not the sole explanation (-) Determinism: the fact that some people may be more likely than others to become addicted so substances/behaviours may allow us to ignore the element of free will in the initiation of addictive behaviour.
MAINTENANCE According to the biological model, the reason for continued smoking is chemical addiction to the highly addictive substance, nicotine. There is clear evidence that nicotine is highly addictive and produces changes in how the brain works. (+) Schachter (1977) found that smokers who smoked low-nicotine cigarettes smoked 25% more cigarettes than those who smoked high-nicotine content cigarettes. (-) ethical considerations (-) demand characteristics (-) cause and effect Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is important for communication in many parts of the brain, including the reward system. Nicotine increases dopamine release, providing a positive, rewarding feeling . (+) Corigall and Coen (1991) found that mice would self-administer nicotine into the reward centres of their brain, unless their dopamine release system was inhibited. (-) animal study (-) dopamine affects many areas of the brain RELAPSE Long-term use of nicotine leads to a high tolerance to it. Stopping this use can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, so to avoid this, the addict relapses. (+) Lehrman et al. (2007) found that when someone abstained from smoking for one night, they experienced increased blood flow to areas of the brain associated with memory, attention and reward. 2) BIOLOGICAL EXPLANATIONS PATHOLOGICAL GAMBLING
Shah et al. (2005) found evidence of a genetic transmission of gambling behaviour in men, suggesting that there is a biological basis for gambling addiction. (-) only in men (+) Black et al. (2006) found that first degree relatives of pathological gamblers were more likely to suffer from pathological gambling than more distant relatives. (-) other factors, i.e. SLT
INITIATION This is closely linked to the physical experience caused by gambling, explained in terms of a positive reward theory. Gambling floods the body with adrenaline, which is thought to be highly addictive due to the rush it provides. (-) Bergh et al. (1997) claims that there is a link between gambling, the reward system and impulsive behaviour. (-) Comings et al. (1996) showed that pathological...
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