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Bshs 445 - Conceptualizing Addiction Paper

Autor:   •  December 14, 2015  •  Term Paper  •  1,248 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,142 Views

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Conceptualizing Addiction Paper

Marisel Jewell


October 19, 2015

Sheila Dupuis

Conceptualizing Addiction Paper

Addiction is often likened to substance abuse.  While both of them still deals with the use of drugs and/or alcohol, they are actually different. Substance abuse is when a person uses but does not become addicted.  These persons can be thought of to be what is called a social user and can use and quit at their own discretion.  “[They] may be viewed as retaining some voluntary control over drug seeking and drug taking; they are willful abusers” (McNeece & DiNitto, 2012).  Those who suffer from addiction have become dependent on the drug and so it is harder for them to stop using. “[They] may be viewed as having a medical disease in which changes in brain structure and brain chemistry play a central role. These people are drug dependent (drug addicts)” (McNeece & DiNitto, 2012).  

There are a lot of theories and models concerning what causes a person to have an addiction to drugs and alcohol.  They are psychological, socio-cultural, and biological explanations with the intent to help understand what goes in within the human body to keep a person wanting more after the initial intake of the drug and/or alcohol.  They also attempt to explain what causes a person to try them in the first place. “The most obvious fact about alcohol and drug addiction is that there is no single theory that explains this phenomenon” (McNeece & DiNitto, 2012).  This paper will discuss two of those theories or models and will compare and contrast them as well.  Also to be discussed will be a summary about which model the writer feels is most useful for helping intervene on addiction.

Some theories that discuss drug and alcohol addiction maintain that a person does so for psychological reasons.  One such theory is the cognitive-behavioral theory.  This theory explains the reason behind the initial intent of using drugs is because a person wants to experience variety and pleasure.  “Drug use is associated with a variety of activities—for example, religious services, self-exploration, altering moods, escaping boredom or despair, enhancing social interaction, enhancing sensory experience or pleasure, and stimulating creativity and performance” (McNeece & DiNitto, 2012).  Another reason that a person uses drugs or alcohol, according to this theory, is because it is said that it relaxes them. “Social drinkers and alcoholics both report using alcohol to relax, even though tests of actual tension-reducing effects of alcohol have yielded quite different results; scientific observations of persons using alcohol actually show them to become more depressed, anxious, and nervous” (McNeece & DiNitto, 2012).


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