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Discuss Psychological Explanations Of Two Or More Types Of Addiction

826 words - 4 pages

Discuss psychological explanations of two or more types of addiction. (9+16 marks)

Addiction to smoking occurs when a smoker has developed an uncontrollable dependency on cigarettes so that they find it almost impossible to stop smoking. A gambling addiction is usually termed pathological gambling, which indicates a progressive addiction characterised by increasing preoccupation with gambling and a loss of control over their gambling behaviour.

Experimenting with smoking usually occurs during adolescence and is governed by mainly psychological motives. In some groups, smoking is seen as a rite of passage into adulthood, and so in a smoker's peer group the message conveyed is that ...view middle of the document...

This prompts them to have another cigarette in order to avoid the ill effects and to experience the feelings of pleasure again. Smokers then repeat this cycle, suggesting that they are behaving according to classical conditioning – they associate pleasurable feelings with smoking and so repeat the behaviour. A recent ( Canadian study lends further support to the possibility that long term smoking may have an adverse effect on mood because of brain chemistry. This, therefore, shows that psychological explanations are limited and reductionist because they do not take into account other explanations of smoking addiction such as biological, that have good research support.

Pathological gambling is perhaps better explained by psychological methods than smoking addictions. This is because gambling is wholly behavioural, and does not have an addictive substance like nicotine involved. ( Zuckerman (1979) claimed that there are individual differences in the need for optional amounts of stimulation. Sensation seekers look for varied or new experiences, whereas high sensation seekers have a lower appreciation of risk and anticipate arousal as more positive than low sensation seekers. Zuckerman suggested a relationship between sensation seeking and gambling: sensation seekers entertain the risk of monetary loss for the positive reinforcement of high states of arousal. The pathological gambler is seen as one who needs this intense stimulation and excitement.

However, the claim that pathological gamblers should be higher sensation seekers than normal has received little support from research. For example, ( Coventry and Brown found...

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