Theoretical Concepts Used to Explain Addictive Behavior - Research Paper Example

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The current research outlines the theories of addiction as to how they attempt to explain important characteristics and documented stages of addictive behavior. This discussion will be followed by a critique of the strengths and limitations of each of these theories of addiction…
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Theoretical Concepts Used to Explain Addictive Behavior
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Download file to see previous pages A key component of this concept of addiction involves the loss of control of one’s impulses or desires to modify or abstain from the addictive behavior. The need for immediate gratification removes from consideration the long-term costs of the behavior. Historically, definitions of addiction have focused on the concept of substance ingestion (Burglass & Schaffer, 1984; Heather, 1998). More recently, there is increasing consensus among researchers that addiction encompasses a far broader spectrum of behaviors with a compulsive manifestation that may be potentially addictive (Orford 2001a & b; Miller 1980). Developments in the conceptualization of addiction have led to broader, more encompassing theories which are multi-disciplinary in nature incorporating psychological, biological and social explanations of addictive behaviors (West, 2006).
Two prominent theories that attempt to explain the origins of addictive behavior are reviewed in this paper: Orford’s Excessive Appetite Theory and the Disease Model based on the American Medical Association (AMA) assessment (Coombs, 2004). The underlying principles of each of these general theories of addiction will be presented in detail, along with empirical evidence that is relevant to each viewpoint. The theories chosen for analysis in this paper are different in nature. A contemporary eclectic theory- Orford’s excessive appetite theory will be compared with the disease concept of addiction which is accepted by the American Medical Association in terms of how they explain the course of addictive behavior (West, 2006). The theories will be discussed as to how they attempt to explain the important characteristics and documented stages of addictive behavior. These areas include the initiation of addiction, the maintenance of addictive behavior and the processes involved in changing the course of addiction.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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