Psychology Theories and Models of Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

There's an understood supposition of opposing causal agency at work. No matter what pressures and factors came to bear, the addict could have done something else, but simply decided not to (Choice and Free Will: Beyond the Disease Model of Addiction, 2010).

A more behavioral approach to understanding addiction is the social learning model, which suggests that people learn how to behave by watching others in their environment and by duplicating actions that create affirmative consequences. One learns to take drugs or alcohol through ones connections with family, friends, or even popular media. And through personal experimentation with drugs or alcohol, one learns that they like the way drugs make them feel. Whether it is the elation of a high, the augmented confidence they feel while intoxicated, or a reduced sense of social nervousness, intoxication can be a positively reinforcing state of being.

As one discovers how much they like certain facets of drug or alcohol use, the positive reinforcement of that use leads to even greater use. By the time extreme drug or alcohol use creates considerably pessimistic consequences, one has yielded to a physical or psychological addiction to the substance (Understanding Addiction: The Disease Model vs. The Choice Model, 2009).

In essence, Social Learning Theory (SLT) explains the effect of cognitive processes on goal aimed behavior. It reflects on the human capability for learning inside a social environment by way of watching and communication. Supporters of SLT portray the role of maintenance, cognitive expectancies, modeling, coping and self-worth in influencing substance use and abuse. Reinforcement is a central idea of SLT. The learning element of SLT is the straightforward operant response, where a person will duplicate any behavior that leads to a reward. SLT also distinguishes that dissimilar kinds of drugs put forth different effects and the effects will differ between people and their wishes, depending on things like past history, personality and present life conditions. When a person takes a drug or drinks alcohol, they shape an expectancy of what they will feel like when they take the substance again (Social Learning and Coping Models of Addiction, 2011).

The moral model frames addiction as a consequence of human failing, an imperfection in character. It doesn't distinguish biological or genetic workings to addiction and proposes little understanding for those who exhibit addictive actions. The inference is that addiction is the consequence of poor decisions, which addicts make because of a lack of willpower or moral power. Predictably, looking at addiction as a moral failing led alcoholics and other addicts to be clustered with others who had demonstrated moral failings. "In the 19th and early 20th century, alcoholism was connected with other socially undesirable situations and behaviors such as crime, poverty, sin, domestic violence, and laziness. Rather than recommending treatment methods for alcoholism, the moral model viewed punishment as a more appropriate response. Alcoholics were unresponsive to publicly admit their problem, as society had little compassion for their struggle" (Moving beyond the Moral Model of Addiction, 2011).

"The temperance movement hit its stride in the United States during the mid-1800s, and alcohol became a thing to be feared. While the temperance movement placed the blame on alcohol rather than the user, it also spread the idea that alcohol should be associated with evil and sin. In the years leading up to Prohibition, a quantity of states began passing laws that mandated the sterilization of those they considered defectives, like the mentally ill, developmentally disabled, and alcoholics and addicts. During this time and throughout Prohibition, alcoholism was seen primarily from a social, rather than medical perspective. Alcoholics were put into drunk tanks in the city jail, asylums, and public hospitals, where they were not offered the help they needed" (Moving beyond the Moral Model of Addiction, 2011).

The nature vs. nurture debate is a major foundation of argument between the different advances to understanding human behavior, including addiction. Theories that found their understanding of human behavior on nature center on characteristics that people are born with, like their genetic make-up, established personality traits, and physical tendencies. In contrast, theories that found their understanding of human behavior on nurture, stress those experiences that shape and alter people throughout their lives, such as how peoples parents raised them, what they were taught at school, and their culture (Hartney, 2010).

While most professionals agree that addiction entails a multifaceted interaction between innate characteristics and life experiences, the focal point of research tends to highlight one or the other. For instance, a study looking at the effects of neurotransmitters on the development of addiction leans towards the nature end of the discussion, while a study looking at peer pressure distinguishes that nurture is also significant in people's potential for addiction. There are risks in depending too greatly on either nature or nurture when explaining addiction. If one believes that addiction is a merely physical process, they can lose the belief in people's freedom to make decisions, and to conquer tendencies that might put them at risk. Yet if one believes that addiction is completely reliant on life experiences, they can lose sight of a lot of individual differences that can persuade people's vulnerabilities to addictions including the possibility that medications, like antidepressants, can help deal with mental health problems that may add to addiction (Hartney, 2010).

The nature vs. nurture issue has been around for ages, and researchers have still not figured out which of the two has a bigger effect on a person. Nature, referring to genetics, and the nurture, referring to ones surroundings, are two very rational reasons to why people are who they are. This discussion over whether nature or nurture has a bigger effect on people has been contested and supported very well for both sides. Each side highlights significant details and good explanations for why nature, or nurture, controls how people behave. Experimentation and research has been carried out on these two sides, and each is supported with good theories as to why nature or nurture is the significant influence on people (Guirguis, 2004).

Nature is thought to be what establishes ones personality, looks, and other things because it's all hereditarily passed down. Any matter regarding traits relies upon the notion of innate biology. A lot of parents believe that any bad trait that their child has gotten is because of bad parenting, but it may be more an issue of biology, and genes that run in the family. It has been determined that a newborn doesn't have an empty slate of personality, but does have a set of innate traits. "Tests have been done at the University of Wisconsin to show that dispositions of an infant are influenced more by biology than interactions with their siblings. In a way, an individual's nature is their genetic gift, which gives him or her physical traits such as hair color, eye color, and form of the body. It does also conclude the kinds of emotions and motivations one will experience, which can be never-ending. Any new emotion is not probable to experience unless there is change to ones genetic material. So in a way, genes give people certain traits or behavior characteristics; but it's all a matter of whether or not they carry out their certain inherited qualities" (Guirguis, 2004).

The other side of the discussion claims that nurture is the cause to people's actions as well as characteristics. Even though genes are what give people a particular charm to their personality, the environment has the authority to change it and make one into the exact opposite. Even the way that certain kids are brought up can transform how they turn out. Supporters of the nurture theory believe they in the end don't matter, that people's behavioral facets initiate only from the environmental factors of ones background. Studies on infant and child disposition have exposed the most critical confirmation for nurture theories (Guirguis, 2004).

There is no clear and totally established model for making sense of addiction, but no matter how a person gets addicted to drugs or alcohol, once they are, they face a hard and oftentimes deadly illness. The dispute between supporters of the different theories persists, with no clear end in sight. The dispute is major, with the most established model of addiction pressuring a great deal of governmental policy and research. Of course, no one dealing with an addiction today can afford to wait for the result of a scientific debate before getting lifesaving treatment (Understanding Addiction: The Disease Model vs. The Choice Model, 2009).

Fortunately, there is an agreement that once a person has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, they have a sickness that needs immediate treatment and addiction treatment has a good successes rate. It doesn't really matter how a person got addicted since getting the kind of treatment that's going to help get better is far more vital. Wasting ones time speculating how or why they got addicted won't solve their problems, but…

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