Abnormal and Clinical Psychology: An Introductory Textbook

By Paul Bennett | Go to book overview

15
Addictions
Ask someone to describe an addict, and they will usually give a stereotypical description of someone addicted to 'hard' drugs such as heroin or cocaine. However, most chemical addictions are to legal drugs such as coffee, cigarettes and alcohol. People may also be addicted to a variety of behaviours, including exercise or gambling. For these people, the neurochemical reaction to their behaviour is similar to that induced by drugs. After a brief introduction to drugs and drug dependence, this chapter considers the aetiology, implications and treatment of three types of addiction: to alcohol, heroin and gambling. By the end of the chapter, you should have an understanding of:
Why people take drugs, and the nature of dependence
Factors leading to alcohol and opiate abuse, and gambling disorders
The types of interventions used to treat each disorder, and their relative effectiveness.

Drugs and drug dependence

Many people take drugs, and start taking them at a relatively young age. In the UK, 41 per cent of 16-year-olds report having used cannabis, in comparison with 34 per cent of US, 10 per cent of Italian and 2 per cent of Greek teenagers (Hibell et al. 1997). Similar cross-cultural differences emerge when considering the use of cocaine in various European countries. Haasen et al. (2004), for example, found the percentage of individuals within a general population sample of people aged between 15 and 64 years having used cocaine on at least one occasion varied across countries: UK 5.2 per cent; Spain 4.9 per cent; Germany 2.3 per cent; Italy 1.1 per cent. Use of cocaine was highest among young people, socially marginalized groups such as the homeless and prostitutes, and opiate-dependent people in treatment programmes. Specific subcultures may also be associated with specific drug use. Participants in the rave culture typically report having used over ten drugs, including alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy, tobacco, LSD, amphetamine and cocaine (Forsythe 1996). Use of drugs among the wider population is considerably less, although about 25 per cent of the population report having used an illegal drug, most frequently cannabis, at some time in their life. Only 3 per cent of the drug-using population injects.

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Abnormal and Clinical Psychology: An Introductory Textbook
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations xiii
  • Acknowledgements xv
  • Part I - Background and Methods 1
  • 1: Introduction 3
  • 2: The Psychological Perspective 29
  • 3: Biological Explanations and Treatments 62
  • 4: Beyond the Individual 86
  • Part II - Specific Issues 111
  • 5: Somatoform Disorders 113
  • 6: Schizophrenia 141
  • 7: Anxiety Disorders 170
  • 8: Mood Disorders 205
  • 9: Trauma-Related Conditions 233
  • 10: Sexual Disorders 262
  • 11: Personality Disorders 289
  • 12: Eating Disorders 318
  • 13: Developmental Disorders 341
  • 14: Neurological Disorders 370
  • 15: Addictions 392
  • Glossary 421
  • References 427
  • Index 485
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