ADDICTION, THEORIES OF. In general, addiction relates to almost any substance or activity where individuals uncontrollably may be "compelled/drawn" to things such as food, gambling, play, sex, smoking, buying, and work. In particular, addiction in our society originally was related to a state of periodic or chronic intoxication and cognitive-function disruption produced by the repeated consumption of a natural or synthetic drug for which one has an overwhelming need or desire/compulsion, and involves the tendency to increase the dosage level, to show higher tolerances with increased usage, and to demonstrate difficulties when attempting to withdraw from the substance where there is always psychic and physical "dependence" on the effects of the drug or substance. There appears to be no single "addictive personality" type, and specific ethnic, familial, peer, inter- and intrapersonal, environmental, constitutional, and genetic factors contribute collectively to one's vulnerability to addiction. However, the addict is typically an individual who experienced early in life one, or several, polarized excesses, inconsistencies, or deprivation in areas such as: discipline, intimacy, parental role models, pas-sivity-aggressivity, frustration tolerance, play-work functions, and ability to delay gratification or to live in moderation. Deterioration and/or destruction of one's control and self-esteem predictably occurs in varying degrees when there is impairment in these areas of personal and social adjustment. It has been observed, also, that the development of addiction involves the transition from casual to compulsive patterns of drug and substance use. The addiction theories, based upon how drug-induced alterations in psychological function cause such a transition to addiction, include the following: the traditional hedonic theory -drug-related pleasure, and subsequent unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, are the chief causes of addiction; aberrant-learning theory - addiction is due to faulty learning patterns, especially the development of strong stimulus-response connections and habits; incentive-sensitization theory - suggests that sensitization of a neural system that attributes incentive salience causes compulsive motivation or "desiring" to take addictive drugs; and frontal cortical dysfunction theory - proposes that malfunctioning of the frontal cortical systems, which normally regulate decision-making and inhibitory control over behavior, leads to faulty judgment and impulsivity in addicted individuals. In attempting to understand and treat addictions, it is suggested that the researcher or therapist go beyond the specific addictive agent and evaluate the multivariant etiologies, dynamics, and interpersonal interactions in an examination of the "addictive process." Additionally, it is recommended that one look for the "addictive complement" (that is, the person, group, or environment that keeps the addictive process alive) and various "trigger mechanisms" (that is, factors and features in the environment that initiate the addictive process). It seems, also, that the addictive process has a life history of its own in which there may be shifts from one addiction to another, or multiple addictions at different stages. See also DECISION-MAKING THEORIES; DELAY OF GRATIFICATION HYPOTHESIS; HEDONISM, THEORY OF; INCENTIVE THEORY; LEARNING THEO-RIES AND LAWS; PSYCHOPATHOLOGY, THEORIES OF; SCHIZOPHRENIA, THEORIES OF; SENSITIZATION, PRINCIPLE OF. REFERENCES
Savitt, R. A. (1968). The psychopathology of the addiction process. Journal of Hillside Hospital, 17, 277-286. Tamerin, J. S., & Neuman, C. P. (1971). Prognostic factors in the evaluation of addicted individuals. International Pharmacopsychology, 6, 69-76.
Wise, R., & Bozarth, M. (1987). A psychomo-tor stimulant theory of addiction. PsychologicalReview, 94, 469-492. Leonard, K. E., & Blane, H. T. (1999). Psychological theories of drinking and alcoholism. New York: Guilford Press. Robinson, T. E., & Berridge, K. C. (2003).
Addiction. Annual Review of Psychology, 54, 25-53.
Was this article helpful?
Alcoholism is something that can't be formed in easy terms. Alcoholism as a whole refers to the circumstance whereby there's an obsession in man to keep ingesting beverages with alcohol content which is injurious to health. The circumstance of alcoholism doesn't let the person addicted have any command over ingestion despite being cognizant of the damaging consequences ensuing from it.