Psychology of substance abuse

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Over the decades, addiction has been hypothesized and described as originating from a variety of
sources. In ancient times, addiction was attributed to demonic possession, during the 18th century it was attributed to a weak constitution, and during the 1960s it was described as originating from the desire to expand one’s mind. In recent times, researchers have proposed several diverse psychological theories and models of addiction. Addiction has been variously described as a fourth
drive, a compulsive desire, a biological adaptation, a function of personality, and a product of social

Your task in this essay is to compare and contrast the theory of ‘the drug career’ (Frykholm, 1985) with your choice of one other theory or model. What are the strengths and limitations of ‘the drug career’ and your selected theory or model? How well do these theories/models explain the observation that the effect of a substance varies according to the nature of the substance, the characteristics of the
individual taking the substance and the social and cultural context in which the substance use takes

In your answer, be sure to use examples from the existing relevant literature on harmful substance
use and addiction to illustrate and support your argument/s. Remember too to provide any definitions
(e.g. what is meant by addiction as opposed to substance use?) that can help you clarify your position
on the topic and set the scene for your argument.
In writing this essay, you are free to choose not only the second theory or model you discuss alongside Frykholm’s theory, but you are also free to choose the focus. For instance, you might have a particular interest in adolescent drug use, in which case you might like to limit your discussion to this topic.

In deciding what you should cover, bear in mind the relationship between breadth and depth in relation to length. If the focus is broad, then the depth of your argument by necessity will be superficial. Alternatively, if the focus is narrow, then the depth can be greater.

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