The psychological and genetic factors of the addictive behaviors PGA study PMC

Ultimately, the Biopsychosocial Model highlights the need for a holistic understanding of addiction and a multifaceted approach to care in order to effectively support individuals on their path to recovery. In conclusion, the Social Model of addiction offers a valuable perspective on the role of social, cultural, and environmental factors in the development and maintenance of addictive behaviors. By addressing these factors through community-based interventions and public health policies, we can create more supportive environments that promote healthy behaviors and reduce the risk of addiction.

In recent years, the conceptualization of addiction as a brain disease has come under increasing criticism. When first put forward, the brain disease view was mainly an attempt to articulate an effective response to prevailing nonscientific, moralizing, and stigmatizing attitudes to addiction. According to these attitudes, addiction was simply the result of a person’s moral failing or weakness of character, rather than a “real” disease [3]. To promote patient access to treatments, scientists needed to argue that there is a biological basis beneath the challenging behaviors of individuals suffering from addiction. This argument was particularly targeted to the public, policymakers and health care professionals, many of whom held that since addiction was a misery people brought upon themselves, it fell beyond the scope of medicine, and was neither amenable to treatment, nor warranted the use of taxpayer money. The behavioral economics model references some concepts and mechanisms from
several non-competing approaches.


But, unlike in disease, the brain changes that occur in addiction are not a malfunction of biology. Rather, the changes reflect the brain’s normal processes of changeability—called neuroplasticity—its capacity to change in response to every-day experience, which is the basis of all learning. Unlike other organs, the brain is designed to change, because its mission is to keep us alive, and in order to safeguard us, it needs to be able to detect and respond to the ever-changing dynamics of the real world.

The theory of planned behaviour states that addiction can be overcome by setting an intention to change addictive behaviour. Meanwhile, Prochaska’s model says that recovering from addiction is a gradual process that can go back and forth between stages. Psychological therapies can help explore the individual’s attitude and beliefs about subjective norms and then create changes to intentions and behaviour. Swami says this study does not provide any evidence that some people have a more “addictive personality” than others. They do note that there are some links between certain personality traits and addiction, but these are far more complex than the “addictive personality” claim often indicates.

A brain disease? Then show me the brain lesion!

If not from the brain, from where do the healthy and unhealthy choices people make originate? To resolve this question, it is critical to understand that the ability to choose advantageously is not an all-or-nothing phenomenon, but rather is about probabilities and their shifts, multiple faculties within human cognition, and their interaction. Yes, it is clear that most people whom we would consider to suffer from addiction remain able to choose advantageously much, if not most, of the time. However, it is also clear that the probability of them choosing to their own disadvantage, even when more salutary options are available and sometimes at the expense of losing their life, is systematically and quantifiably increased. There is a freedom of choice, yet there is a shift of prevailing choices that nevertheless can kill. For alcohol addiction, meta-analysis of twin and adoption studies has estimated heritability at ~50%, while estimates for opioid addiction are even higher [44, 45].

  • From a contemporary neuroscience perspective, pre-existing vulnerabilities and persistent drug use lead to a vicious circle of substantive disruptions in the brain that impair and undermine choice capacities for adaptive behavior, but do not annihilate them.
  • Though a genetic component seems likely, exactly what the gene codes for has not
    been elucidated.
  • Therefore, attempts at grounding psychodynamic theories on replicable methodologies and objective data are important.
  • By addressing the emotional and cognitive factors underlying addiction, treatment approaches informed by this model can support individuals in developing healthier coping strategies and more adaptive beliefs, ultimately promoting lasting recovery.

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