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Year 13 Psychology - Biological Model of Addiction (Summer Lessons 2)

AO1 Biological Explanations to addiction
by Clare Schulze on 6 February 2014

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Transcript of Year 13 Psychology - Biological Model of Addiction (Summer Lessons 2)

What is included in this unit?

The Biological Explanations (Model)
The Cognitive Explanation (Model)
The Learning Explanations (Model)
Learning Objectives
1. To be able to outline the main biological explanations of addiction.
2. To be able to answer AO1 style questions about this explanation.

A-C Students
1. To use examples of specific genes studied in order to explain addictive behaviour.
2. To begin to link these factors/studies to initiation, maintenance and relapse.
Hello, I'm Anthony the Addict
What have you remembered?!
Initiation:
This refers to the process where individuals start to become addicted

Maintenance:
This is the process whereby people continue to behave addictively even in the face of adverse consequences

Relapse:
This is the process whereby individuals who have managed to give up their addictive habits start to show signs and symptoms of the behaviour again.
Genetics
Overview of the Biological Model
Sees addiction as an illness
The individual does not have control over this
Someone is either an addict or not
Genetic Factors
* Ideally be able to outline the impact of at least one gene on the likelihood of someone becoming addicted.
= DRD2 Gene!
The DRD2 gene codes for D2 dopamine receptors
Within the gene there is an A1 variant
Those with the A1 variant have significantly fewer dopamine receptors
What might this mean in practice?
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that is important for communication in many
parts of the brain, including the reward system.
The Biological model argues that people have a predisposed biological vulnerability to addiction
(its in the genes!)
Research shows addictive drugs stimulate the reward circuit in the brain.
E.G. Nicotine triggers the release of dopamine and effectively tells the brain to ‘do it again’.
What does Chronic exposure to drugs do?





Reduction in the activity of positive reward circuits in the brain (down regulation).
Characterised by withdrawal symptoms.
The user no longer takes the drugs to gain a pleasurable experience, but instead takes them to avoid an unpleasurable state.

As a result of down regulation the drug levels required to trigger the brain reward system increases.
Key Studies
* Schachter (1977)
* Comings et al (1996)
* Noble (1991)

* Caine et al (2007)
Exam Question A - Outline the biological model as an explanation of initiation and maintenance of addiction. (5 marks)

Exam Question B - Outline the biological model as an explanation of addiction. (5 marks)
Homework
* Research Ao2 & Ao3 points about the Biological explanation and come to Fridays lesson with at least 5 bullet points that could be used to evaluate this model.
* What is the suggested impact of the SCL6A3-9 gene on addiction?
* What was the Caine et al study about?
The user now takes them to avoid an unpleasurable state.
Whats the impact of down regulation?
Down Regulation - Reduction in the activity of positive reward circuits in the brain
Withdrawal symptoms.
Schachter (1977) found that smokers who smoked low-nicotine cigarettes smoked 25% more cigarettes than those who smoked high-nicotine content cigarettes.
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