Explanations for specific
addictions
1.1 Addiction to
smoking.
1.2 Addiction to
gambling.
Smoking

“An uncontrollable dependence on ciggerattes to
the point where stopping smoking would cause
severe emotional, mental or physical reactions”
(Leshner 1999)

Most want to stop but don’t.
Cigarettes contain a psychoactive drug which
stimulates brain activity….Nicotine.

Smoking cont…

Smoking activates the pleasure centres of the brain which
may explain the pleasure & addictiveness of smoking (Berke
& Hyman 2000) - Mesolimbic dopamine system.

Smokers develop tolerance to nicotine and subsequent
withdrawl when trying to stop.

This tends to begin in adolescence…severe addictions occur
and the smokers finds it difficult to give up (Griffiths 1996)

It is also thought to be possibly genetic (see Thorgeirsson
et al 2008).
There are mediating social-psychological factors- such as initial exposure, this could then lead
to pharmacological
effects that tap into our reward centres!!
Could it be learned?

Through the senses (all 5!) the experience of
smoking is rewarding. This is an example of
conditioning.

Environmental cues + smoking = CS experience

When present at another time they elicit
anticipation of the said drug (nicotine) thus
generating massive craving (Lashner,1999)
Learning cont…

The process becomes linked to relief of
withdrawl. They serve as signals/triggers for
the urge to smoke at certain times e.g.
anger.
dinner
coffee
meeting
Evaluation of explanations to addiction
to smoking.

Biological approaches are too simplistic- Addiction involves an
interaction between many factors…not science alone.

Psychological vs. physiological- Out of date facts! Is nicotine physically or
psychologically addictive?

Biological underpinnings similar to other addictions-

Relapse can be caused by environmental factors- The cues can be
cellular and
molecular changes in the brain circuits and genetic basis for addictive behaviour. but these
changes are sometimes similar to other divisions (Leshner 1999)
conditioned as we have seen those who are addicted at home can kick the habit in other
environments…thus exposure to cues can see a addict go into relapse.
Explanations of addiction to gambling



As we saw earlier it could be cognitive bias and
any other number of explanations.
Classical/ operant conditioning appears to be
the
People gamble as a result of becoming
conditioned to the excitement and arousal
associated with gambling (Anderson &
Brown,1984). They become bored and under
stimulated without the gambling.
Situational Characteristics





Features of the environment:
Locality
Venue
Internal (décor heating, lighting).
May influence & encourage gambling
(Griffiths & Parke 2003).
Structural factors (Griffiths 1999,2002)





Slot machines have been known to
encourage gambling due to some unique
(sneaky...some may say) features….
Fast game speed
Large jackpots
To keep people gambling once they begin.
Other factors are also associated including
lighting, colour and music and sound effects.
Evaluation of explanations of
addiction.


Addiction is addiction whatever the focusBehavioural is the same as chemical and
vice versa.
Bio-psychological factors are not the only
factors involved in gambling- These
factors are not the only influences in the
development of addictive behaviour…could
be structural too.
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Explanations for specific addictions