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1. <ul><li>APPROACHInitiationMaintenanceRelapseBiologicalDopamine: Special neurons in the reward pathway release the chemical dopamine, which gives you a…
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  • 1. <ul><li>APPROACHInitiationMaintenanceRelapseBiologicalDopamine: Special neurons in the reward pathway release the chemical dopamine, which gives you a sense of pleasure (NA). Your memory tells you that a particular behaviour will make you feel good; the brain tells the body to initiate the behaviour.Genetic Model:Gamblers more like to have lower levels of dopamine receptors VTA areas of the brain (due to A1 variant of the DRD2 gene). Require increased stimulation of this area to reach a ‘normal’ level of excitement.Black et al (2006) – First degree relatives more likely to gamble.Shah et al (2005) – Evidence of genetic factors in gambling in men.Personality Type – Gamblers as high sensation seekers with lower risk of arousal (theory, no evidence). Poor tolerance of boredom linked to pathological gambling.Shinohara et al (1995): Found that raised levels of dopamine and noradrenaline occur insocial gamblers not only when they are gambling, but occur in anticipation of gambling and inresponse to gambling paraphernalia in pathological gamblers, suggesting that learningProcesses and biology are involved in gambling dependency.Reuter et al. (2005): Gambling addicts show less activation in the medial forebrain pleasure circuit during winning than non-gamblers. Continued overproduction of dopamine leads to desensitisation in receptors to compensate. Gamblers ‘want’ it more, but experience less pleasure from a win. This leads to increased desire to engage in the addictive behaviour to return to the same level of ‘dopamine high’ i.e. the subject is becoming tolerant.The near miss: Gambling addicts more likely to see a near-miss as a near-win (Griffiths, 2005). Optimal setting for fruit machines is a near miss 30% of the time for gambling behaviour to become most compulsive.The unpredictable reward: Through normal operant conditioning, extinction occurs quickly when a reward is removed for performing an action. When the reward timing is unpredictable, behaviour continues for a much greater period of time before extinction, and greater activation of VTA area is seen during the anticipation period.The VTA –NA pathways also link to other areas of the brain including the memory areas and help make addicts highly sensitive to reminders of past highs, vulnerable to relapse when stressed and unable to control the urge to repeat the addictive behaviour.Grunberg (1986): Gamblers miss the physiological /psychological rewards of stress reduction or excitement associated with gambling activities/situations.CognitiveExpectancy Theory—Casinos exploit the sight of others winning to encourage positive expectations about the success of gambling.The Self Medication Model – This model proposes that individuals intentionally use drugs to treat psychological symptoms from which they suffer, e.g. AvoidanceRational Choice Theory – Satisfaction, both anticipated and resultant, outweighs the costs, such as financial problems.Attributions— Cognitive distortions and attributions have been applied to the persistence of gambling behaviour in the face of repeated losses.Flexible attributions - where gamblersattribute success to their skill, but failure toExternal influences, bad luck etc.Fixation on absolute frequency -focusing on total number rather than on thefrequency of wins ( and so ignoring losses).Griffiths (1994): 14% of the regular gamblers made ‘out loud’ irrational verbalisations compared to 2.5% of the non regular gamblers. Regular gamblers made significantly more percentage verbalisations in just two categories – these were personifying the machine (e.g. ‘the machine likes me’) and referring to the ‘number system’ (e.g. ‘I got a 2 there’). Regular gamblers believed themselves to be more skilled than they actually were.Expectancy Theory – Brandon (2004) suggests that as an addiction develops, the activity is controlled less by conscious expectations and more by unconscious expectations involving automatic processing.Attitudes/Intentions/Beliefs - many cognitive theories or models aim to explainfailure to abstain from addictive behaviour, e.g.:• Locus of Control - those with an external locus of control may fail to takeresponsibility for changing their own behaviour.• Self– Efficacy - those with low self-efficacy may feel incapable of changingtheir addictive behaviour.• The theory or planned behaviour - One’s own or others unhelpful beliefs and attitudes about the benefits of changing addictive behaviour may negatively affect the intention to do so.BehaviouralSocial Learning Theory—suggests children automatically learn addictive behaviours like gambling through observation of influential role models, eg parents, peers, media celebrities and because they often selectively see positive rather than negative consequences ( e.g. fun and winning, popularity rather than debt). Vicarious reinforcement may lead to the imitation of these behaviours.Operant Conditioning - argues short termpleasure from drugs (e.g. gambling)provides more immediate positive reinforcement(reward) than the longer term effects(punishment) e.g. debt, and thus maintains addictive behaviour. Variable ratio reinforcement pay-out schedules may maintain gambling.Griffiths (1991): Gambling may allow escape from unpleasant realities.Classical Conditioning - suggests environmental cues present during the performance of addictive behaviour may become associated with the pleasure provided by the addiction (e.g. the bar may be associated with the pleasure of gambling on fruit machines). These cues may act as prompts, creating a craving for addictive behaviour and are key factors in psychological dependence and relapse.
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