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About this book

Part of the Palgrave Insights in Psychology series, this highly accessible text presents the main theories, evidence and ideas in psychology, pharmacology and medicine most useful for learning about the psychological and physical experience of addictive behaviours. Unique in their approach, Authors Moss and Dyer employ an innovative explanatory framework for conceptualising the onset of psychopathology, drawing upon not only the biological, but the social and psychological determinants most useful for understanding behaviour. This book undertakes an interdisciplinary analysis of how psychology thinks about the onset and treatment of addictive behaviours such as drug use, drinking alcohol, gambling, internet use and sex. This is an engaging and informative guide to understanding the main approaches to treatment and strategies of prevention for addictive behaviours.

This title stands as part of the Insights series edited by Nigel Holt and Rob Lewis, containing versatile, quick guides to the cornerstone theories, main topics and debates of their subjects and are useful for pre-undergraduate students looking to find incisive introductions to subjects that they may be considering for undergraduate study or those looking for helpful preparatory reading for undergraduate modules in the prospective subject.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. What is addictive behaviour?

Abstract
Addictive behaviours are challenging — they can affect anyone, they develop slowly, often without our awareness, they touch all aspects of our lives, and they can be very difficult to treat and prevent. Throughout this book we will present the theories, evidence and ideas, drawn from the fields of psychology, pharmacology, medicine and allied health, that are most useful for understanding addictive behaviours. The purpose of the present chapter is to introduce some of these key ideas, issues and arguments, and provide a foundation for understanding the rest of the book. We use the term addictive behaviours to capture not only drug and alcohol dependence (both physical and psychological), but also to include other behaviours, such as gambling, internet and sex, that people can become dependent upon. While at times there may be a focus on drug dependency in this text, it is important to remember that some key concepts apply to all addictive behaviours, and not just those that involve the administration of a drug.
Antony C. Moss, Kyle R. Dyer

Chapter 2. The biology of addictive behaviour

Abstract
Many addictive behaviours involve the administration of drugs such as alcohol, nicotine, heroin or cocaine. The effects of these so-called drugs of dependence have been studied extensively and we know much about the biological effects of these drugs on the body and brain. The brain is a complex organ that strives for balance, and whenever we introduce a drug to the brain we upset that balance. The brain will seek to adapt to redress this imbalance, by minimizing the effects of the drug. Furthermore, addictive behaviours that do not involve the administration of drugs still involve the release of endogenous chemicals (neurotransmitters) in the reward pathway. This in itself causes an imbalance which the brain will seek to counter. Understanding these processes is key to understanding addictive behaviour.
Antony C. Moss, Kyle R. Dyer

Chapter 3. Understanding addictive behaviour as a learned phenomenon

Abstract
One of the most dominant approaches to the study and treatment of addictive behaviour has conceptualized it as a process of learning. That is, addictive behaviour is something that is learned, and therefore can be unlearned. Applying the principles of human and animal learning is the basis of many useful treatments and theories of addictive behaviour, and provides us with a good way of exploring non-drug dependence.
Antony C. Moss, Kyle R. Dyer

Chapter 4. Understanding addictive behaviour as a problem of control

Abstract
This chapter will focus on the idea that, in some way, all behaviours are chosen by the person doing them. If we take an extreme example, such as somebody holding a gun to your head and demanding that you do something you would rather not do, it is clear that the option remains to choose not to do whatever is being demanded. Admittedly, your sense of self-preservation may be a very strong motivator for you to abide by your tormentor’s demands, but the point is that a choice exists nonetheless — it may just be a very difficult choice to make.
Antony C. Moss, Kyle R. Dyer

Chapter 5. Understanding the automaticity of addictive behaviour

Abstract
The previous chapter started with the idea that any behaviour that a person engages in, including addictive behaviours, must to some extent have been ‘chosen’ by the individual. The theories and ideas discussed in that chapter, and indeed in the preceding chapters, give us some idea about the factors that can impair an individual’s control over their own behaviour. We have seen that, while in principle choices almost always exist, these choices can sometimes be extremely difficult to make, and there are many factors that can conspire against us, which can make some choices seem almost like they are being made for us.
Antony C. Moss, Kyle R. Dyer

Chapter 6. Treatment options for addictive behaviours

Abstract
In this chapter we will be turning our attention to some of the treatment options available to help those who have developed an addictive behaviour. While most people will attempt to deal with their addictive behaviour by themselves, and indeed many will be eventually successful, there are those who may find that they need some additional support. For some, the addictive behaviour may have led to serious health, legal, social or other problems that will require professional assistance.
Antony C. Moss, Kyle R. Dyer

Chapter 7. Primary prevention options for addictive behaviours

Abstract
In the previous chapter we provided a brief overview of some of the different treatment options that are available for people attempting to stop their addictive behaviour. However, treatment is designed to aid individuals who have already developed a problem. As the adage goes, prevention is better than cure, and this will be the focus of the present chapter.
Antony C. Moss, Kyle R. Dyer

Chapter 8. Integrating addictive behaviour

Abstract
Throughout this book we have described a broad range of theoretical perspectives that attempt to explain various aspects of the development, maintenance, treatment and prevention of addictive behaviour. Each model has its own strengths for some aspects of addictive behaviour, but to date there has been no single unified theory that adequately covers all the determinants and consequences of addictive behaviour. If one thing is certain from all the material we have covered, it is that addictive behaviours are complex, and our tools for both treating and preventing them need to reflect this. This inherent complexity reflects the fact that a complete understanding of addictive behaviour absolutely has to include an appreciation of the biological, psychological (cognitive and behavioural) and environmental factors that are involved.
Antony C. Moss, Kyle R. Dyer
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