Excessive Appetites: A Psychological View of Addictions

By Jim Orford | Go to book overview

CHAPTER FIFTEEN
Excessive Appetites: A Social-
Behavioural-Cognitive-Moral Model

neither one person, nor a number of persons, is warranted in saying to
another human creature of ripe years that he shall not do with his life for his
own benefit what he chooses to do with it … No person ought to be
punished simply for being drunk; but a soldier or a policeman should be
punished for being drunk on duty. Whenever, in short, there is a definite
damage, or a definite risk of damage, either to an individual or to the public,
the case is taken out of the province of liberty and placed in that of morality
or law.

(J. S. Mill, 1859/1974, pp. 142, 149)

Most theoretical explanations of addiction are provincial, attending only to
the unique characteristics associated with specific objects (e.g. alcohol,
heroin, cocaine, lottery) and a narrow pattern of behavior (e.g. alcoholism,
heroin dependence, cocaine dependence, pathological gambling). As the
opportunities to engage in potentially addicting activities (e.g. gambling)
become more prevalent because of widespread access, a more cosmopolitan
model of addiction will be necessary …

(Shaffer, 1996, p. 462)


A SUMMARY OF THE MODEL
The argument of the preceding chapters may be summarised as follows.
1. There exists a range of appetitive activities which can become so excessive that they spoil the quality of people's lives, seriously affect and give rise to concern among family and friends, are costly to communities as well as to individuals and families, attract terms such as 'addiction', 'dependence' and 'disease', and provoke the setting up of mutual-help and expert-treatment systems. This range of activities certainly includes drinking alcohol, gambling in various forms, the taking of a variety of different kinds of substance including 'hard

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