Week 1: The Field of Addictions

Published by Brenda I. Belcher

Apr 4, 2021


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Week 1: The Field of Addictions

Substance related and addictive disorders have a long and complex history. There is evidence that shows that some Peruvians in the 1450s deliberately ingested charred oyster shells to slow down the absorption rate of cocaine found in cocoa leaves (Inaba & Cohen, 2007). And early American colonists viewed alcohol as a healthy substance with curative capabilities. But terminology and our understanding of addiction have changed over time. One has only to look at how terminology surrounding alcohol has evolved over the years in the United States alone to see how attitudes toward substance use have changed, from “temperance as moderation” in the 1820s to “temperance as abstinence” in the 1840s.

Likewise, gambling goes back to ancient times. In many instances, it was also considered illegal. The Roman Emperor Augustus was believed to have had a gambling addiction, yet he imposed laws that prohibited gambling except during Saturnalia, a week-long festival honoring the God of Saturn.

This week, you apply terminology related to addictions. You also examine historical events and emerging trends in the field of addictions.


Inaba, D. S., & Cohen, W. E. (2007). Uppers, downers, all-arounders (6th ed.). Medford, OR: CNS Productions, Inc.

History of Gambling. (n.d.). The popularity of gambling in ancient cultures. Retrieved October 25, 2013, from http://www.thehistoryofgambling.com/

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Apply terminology related to addictions
  • Analyze historical events contributing to the field of addictions
  • Analyze trends related to the field of addictions

Learning Resources

Note: To access this week’s required library resources, please click on the link to the Course Readings List, found in the Course Materials section of your Syllabus.

Required Readings

Miller, G. (2015). Learning the language of addiction counseling (4th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

  • Chapter 1, “Introduction” (pp. 1–7)

Focus on the influences of addiction.Barry, C. L., Huskamp, H. A., & Goldman, H. H. (2010). A political history of federal mental health and addiction insurance parity. The Milbank Quarterly, 88(3), 404– 433.

Focus on the factors instrumental in eliminating the differences in insurance coverage for mental health and addiction treatment.Grant, J. E., Potenza, M. N., Weinstein, A., & Gorelick, D. A. (2010). Introduction to behavioral addictions. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 36(5), 233– 241.

Focus on the terminology and how behavioral addictions and substance use disorders are alike. Note their differences from obsessive-compulsive disorderLee, P. R., Lee, D. R., & Lee, P. (2010). 2010: U.S. drug and alcohol policy, looking back and moving forward. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, 42(2), 99–114. 

Focus on how language can play a role in the public’s understanding of addictions, dependencies, and diseases.National Alliance of Advocates for Buprenorphine Treatment. (2004). Substance use disorders: A guide to the use of language. Farmington, CT: Author. Retrieved from NAABT website: http://naabt.org/documents/Languageofaddictionmedicine.pdfFocus on how language can play a role in the public’s understanding of addictions, dependencies, and diseases.

Required Media

Laureate Education (Producer). (2012). Addictions terminology [Video file]. Retrieved from https://class.waldenu.edu“Addictions Terminology” Transcript

Optional Resources

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2006). Definitions and terms relating to co-occurring disorders. Rockville, MD: Author. Retrieved from Addiction Treatment Forum website: http://www.atforum.com/pdf/DefinitionsandTerms-OP1-4.pdfHarrington, M., Robinson, J., Bolton, S., Sareen, J., & Bolton, J. M. (2011). A longitudinal study of risk factors for incident drug use in adults: Findings from a representative sample of the U.S. population. Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, 56(11), 686–695.National Institute on Drug Abuse. (n.d.). About NIDA. Retrieved November 30, 2013, from http://www.drugabuse.gov/about-nidaFocus on the resources this website offers to addictions professionalsWhite, W. L. (2008). Alcohol, tobacco and other drug use by addictions professionals: Historical reflections and suggested guidelines. Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly, 26(4), 500–535.

Focus on the ethical, legal, and clinical issues surrounding a person’s right to personal privacy as it relates to professional duties and obligations.

Discussion: Terminology Related to Addictions

Consider this passage from a psychology textbook, Ethical Conflicts in Psychology (Bersoff, 2008): “The method of adjudication for a recommended sanction of expulsion issued under Subsection 7.5 of this part is a formal hearing before a three-member Hearing Committee.”

This passage is not meant to be understood in the context of this course, but to demonstrate that, similar to the field of ethics in psychology, the field of addictions also has its own terminology employed by professionals. For example, although the terms alcohol abuse and alcohol dependent sound familiar, they have very specific and important differences in meanings within the field of psychology, and depending on which term is applied to an individual, it may affect everything from screening to treatment. Everyone may not agree on definitive definitions of terms because there are many gray areas and degrees of addiction. There are also many perspectives regarding commonly used operational definitions of terms. Even so, addictions professionals need to be familiar with the terminology of their field in order to practice effectively.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review Learning the Language of Addiction Counseling, Chapter 1, “Introduction.”
  • Review the articles “Introduction to Behavioral Addictions” and “Substance Use Disorders: A Guide to the Use of Language.”  
  • Listen to the media titled Addictions Terminology, featuring four scenarios of individuals making telephone calls to addictions professionals.
    • Choose one of the four scenarios to discuss.
    • Choose from among the following terms that might be applied to individuals or situations in the audio recordings: (Note that not all of the terms will be used.)
      • Problematic use
      • Alcoholic
      • Dependent
      • Functional
      • Recovering
      • Abuse
      • Addict
      • Social user
      • Defense mechanism
      • Tolerance
      • Withdrawal

Note: In this Discussion, you are not being asked to diagnose the individual on the telephone call or the person he or she is calling to discuss, but merely to demonstrate your understanding of common terms in the field of addictions. There are no right or wrong answers.

The media is only a demonstration and does not simulate real-life scenarios. Remember that while you are not diagnosing the individual on the telephone call, if this were a real situation, the person who is answering the call, some cases, is committing a HIPAA violation by speaking with someone other than the person with the problem.

By Day 4

Post a description of one of the scenarios using two or more of the terms provided. Provide your rationale for selection of these terms. Finally, select one term that might be applicable across multiple scenarios and explain why.

Be specific and use the week’s Learning Resources in your Response.

By Day 6

Respond to at least one of your colleagues who used a term other than the ones you used in one or more of the following ways:

  • Offer polite agreement or disagreement with the usage of the term and explain why.
  • Reply using a term from this week’s Learning Resources not included in the list provided.
  • Expand on your colleague’s posting.

Bersoff, D. N. (2008). Ethical conflicts in psychology. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:Week 1 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 4 and Respond by Day 6

To participate in this Discussion:Week 1 Discussion

Assignment: Significant Events in the Field of Addictions

The history of the field of addictions brings to mind the idiom “all or nothing.” In earlier times, moderation appeared to have few proponents. The pilgrims in the United States widely accepted drinking as healthy. By the early 1800s, clergymen ushered in the temperance movement, which stigmatized drinkers as “corrupt.” Acceptability of practices such as drinking is one aspect of significance in the field of addictions that has evolved over time. Other considerations include types of addictions, treatment, intervention, and populations engaging in addictive behavior.

Familiarity with historical events in the field of addictions provides addictions professionals with a foundation for understanding emerging trends.

To prepare for this Assignment, read the following articles from the Learning Resources:

  • “A Political History of Federal Mental Health and Addiction Insurance Parity”
  • “2010: U.S. Drug and Alcohol Policy, Looking Back and Moving Forward”
  • Optional readings as you see necessary

By Day 7

Submit a 2- to 4-page paper that includes the following:

  • Describe two historical events that you believe contributed most to the field of addictions.
    • Explain the contribution of each event to the contemporary field of addictions.
    • Explain why you chose each event as being one of the most significant.
  • Research two websites dedicated to some aspect of the field of addictions (see Learning Resources for ideas). Analyze 2–3 trends that emerged from your review.
    • Cite the sources you used following APA guidelines.

Submission and Grading Information

To submit your completed Assignment for review and grading, do the following:

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  • Click the Week 1 Assignment link. You will also be able to “View Rubric” for grading criteria from this area.
  • Next, from the Attach File area, click on the Browse My Computer button. Find the document you saved as “WK1Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
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Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:Week 1 Assignment Rubric

Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity

To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:Submit your Week 1 Assignment draft and review the originality report.

Submit Your Assignment by Day 1

To submit your Assignment:Week 1 Assignment

Week in Review

This week you analyzed historical events and trends and applied terminology relative to the field of addictions.

Next week you will apply addictions theory to factors that contribute to addiction.


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