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Flashcards in Addictions Deck (10):

Define addiction as a behaviour

A repetitive habit pattern that increases the risk of diseases and/or personal and social problems that may be associated with the behaviour.

Individual has a loss of control, immediate gratification with deleterious effects, and experiences relapses when trying to quit.


What are the three ways addiction is defined?

Attachment disorder


Define addiction as an attachment disorder

Addiction is induced by a person's misguided attempts at self-repair because of deficits in psychic structure



Illegal/illicit drug/alcohol taking which causes a person to experience psychological, physical or legal problems related to intoxication, regular excessive consumption and/or dependence


Substance misuse

Drug/alcohol taking which causes harm to the individuals, others or the wider community.


How is dependence diagnosed?

3 or more of the following present during the past year:

- Strong desire or sense of compulsion to take the substance
- Difficulties controlling substance taking behaviour (onset, termination or levels of use)
- Physiological withdrawal
- Evidence of tolerance
- Progressive neglect of alternative pleasure or interests
- Persisting with substance abuse despite evidence of harmful consequences


How is pathological gambling defined?

Persistently repeated gambling which continues and often increases despite adverse social consequences e.g. impoverishment, impaired family relationships, disrupted personal life


Describe the biological component of drug abuse

All drugs of abuse target the reward pathways in the brain either directly or indirectly by increasing dopamine levels.

Dopamine regulates movement, emotion, cognition, motivation and feelings of pleasure (rewards our natural behaviours)

The overstimulation of this system in drugs of abuse produces euphoric effects and teaches people to repeat the behaviours.


How does the natural survival instinct influence substance misuse?

Life-sustaining activities (food, water, sex, nurturing) are associated with pleasure or reward. Activities inducing pleasure are associated with sustaining life and need to be remembered and repeated.

Drugs and alcohol release 2-10x the amount of DA than natural rewards, this can occur immediately and effects are longer than those from natural rewards.

Drug-induced stimulation of reward pathways overpowers the effect produced by natural rewards. The brain interprets taking drugs as essential for survival


What are the psychosocial factors involved in addiction?

Pleasure seeking: having a high/buzz, feeling numb, pleasantly drowsy, full of energy and confidence

Self-medicating for anxiety, anger, pain, boredom, lack of motivation, self-confidence and withdrawal symptoms.

Pressure from peers or others

Addictive personality: sensation seeking or impulsive behaviour traits. People with obsessional, dependent or anxious characteristics find it hardest to stop

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