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The theoretical explanations put forward to explain alcohol dependence: The rationale for prevention programs for hazardous drinkers

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  1. Introduction
  2. Three main approaches that can be used to explain theories of addiction
    1. The psychological approach
    2. The biological approach
    3. The 'environmental approach'
  3. Benefits of understanding the theoretical framework of addiction
  4. Brief intervention strategies
  5. Conclusion
  6. References and bibliography

Although the term ?addiction? is still widely used current theorists and scholars are tending to use the term ?dependence? in modern research and studies. People can become dependent not only on external substances that are ingested but also to risky behaviors such as gambling, extreme sports etc. In this respect anything that induces a pleasurable physiological change has the potential to lead to dependence or addiction. Brain cells have a central core covered by a sheath; at one end of the cell are roots at the other end ?fronds?. A charge is passed through the fronds to the fronds of another brain cell and neurotransmitters are released, these neurotransmitters are responsible for feelings of euphoria and heightened pleasure. Some substances mimic neurotransmitters or may cause receptors to cut out; the use of some substances (such as alcohol or opiates) may cause the brain to stop producing neurotransmitters leading to dependence.Orford and Heather (2003) have identified the puzzling aspect of addiction, the fact that although the addict wants to give up the addiction they often find themselves returning to the substance or action that they are dependent on.

[...] The cost?effectiveness of treatment for alcoholism: A second approximation. J Stud Alcohol 57:229? Flory, L. (2001) Understanding borderline personality disorder, London: MIND. Goodman, A. (2005) Addiction definition and implications. (online) available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?cmd=Retrieve&db=PubMed&list_ui ds=2285834&dopt=Citation Accessed on Gupta1, Derevensky J. (1997) Familial and Social Influences on Juvenile Gambling Behavior. Journal of Gambling Studies, Volume 13, (Number 3). pp 179-192. September Hall,W. Carter, L. (2004) Clinical evidence symposium on drugs. Ethical issues in using a cocaine vaccine to treat and prevent cocaine abuse and dependence. [...]


[...] (Guptal and Deverensky, 1997) It is common with people, who have a reliance on a substance or an action to have other psychiatric diagnosis, all theories should take into account co-morbidity i.e. a number of reasons for behavior, there is a high incidence of people who are alcohol dependant suffering from mental illness. There is often doubt as to what came first, the mental illness or the dependant behavior for instance it is widely debated by scholars and psychiatrists whether drug use is predetermining for schizophrenia or whether schizophrenia leads to drug use. (Ogden, 2004) The biological approach to addiction defines the individual as having a biological predisposition to substance dependency. [...]


[...] Identification of what stage the individual is at is important when ascertaining which type of treatment will be effective: For example, a smoker who has been identified as being at the preparation stage would receive a different intervention to one who was at the contemplation stage. (Ogden p.23.) John et al (2002) cited evidence of brief opportunistic interventions as being effective in the prevention of alcohol misuse. Young men attending accident and emergency units to have stitches removed from facial injuries were given ten to twenty minutes of brief intervention. [...]

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