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Week 2: Theories and Models of Addiction

April 4, 2021
Brenda I. Belcher

Week 2: Theories and Models of Addiction

“I can quit any time I want to.”

How many times have individuals with potential addictions spoken these words? If you know anyone you suspect has an addiction, you have probably heard this statement before with skepticism. How an addictions professional interprets these words depends on his or her theoretical perspective. If addiction is perceived to be a combination of behavioral and physical aspects, then the validity of the statement above might depend on whether the approach to addiction follows a particular theory or model, such as biopsychosocial, medical, or psychological.

This week, you apply addictions theory to factors that contribute to addiction.

Learning Objectives

Students will:
  • Apply addiction theory to factors that contribute to addiction

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. 7-12)
    Focus on the theories of addiction and the models that define addiction.
  • Chapter 2, “Theories of Counseling Related to Addiction Treatment” (pp. 13-30)
    Focus on the theoretical framework for addiction counseling.
  • Chapter 9, “Elaboration on Specific Therapies and Techniques Relevant to Addiction Counseling” (pp. 266-292)
    Focus on the five aspects of therapy approaches, both past and present.

Potik, D., Adelson, M., & Schreiber, S. (2007). Drug addiction from a psychodynamic perspective: Methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) as transitional phenomena. Psychology & Psychotherapy: Theory, Research & Practice, 80(2), 311–325.

Focus on the role of a theoretical framework for counseling during an individual’s recovery from drug addiction.Stanbrook, M. B. (2012). Addiction is a disease: We must change our attitudes toward addicts. Canadian Medical Association Journal, 184(2), 155.

Focus on the societal misconceptions towards addictions.Young, K. S. (2011). CBT-IA: The first treatment model for Internet addiction. Journal of Cognitive Psychotherapy, 25(4), 304–312.

Focus on the detection and treatment of Internet addiction

Optional Resources

Liu, C.-Y., & Kuo, F.-Y. (2007). A study of Internet addiction through the lens of the interpersonal theory. Cyberpsychology & Behavior, 10(6), 799–804.

Focus on the relationships and state of minds that influence addiction to the Internet.Vallejo, Z., & Amaro, H. (2009). Adaptation of mindfulness-based stress reduction program for addiction relapse prevention. The Humanistic Psychologist, 37(2), 192–206.

Focus on identifying stress and its role in relapse prevention.


Discussion: Explaining Individual Nature of Addiction Through Theories

Do you ever wonder what causes addiction in some individuals and not others? Can some individuals stop using a substance or behaving in a certain way through force of will while others cannot? These are few of the many questions that theorists in the field of addiction attempt to answer.

Theories consist of ideas and explanations generated through research of the subject matter. No single addiction theory perfectly explains human behavior. Empirical evidence supports many different theories. Therefore, understanding a variety of theories is essential to create a proper set of tools to treat addiction.

Some theories of addiction focus on physical aspects. The belief is that addiction is a disease primarily involving brain circuitry that contributes to a person addictively seeking a substance or a behavior. Other theories focus more on environmental or social aspects. These particular theories focus more on factors such as self-efficacy, learned behavior, coping skills, personality, and social support. Perspectives on addiction may be called theories, models, or frameworks, and there is overlap in the definitions and usage of these terms.

In this Discussion, you apply addiction theory to answer a challenging question.

To prepare for this Discussion:

  • Review Learning the Language of Addiction Counseling, Chapter 2, “Theories of Counseling Related to Addiction Treatment” (pp. 19–35).
  • Review Learning the Language of Addiction Counseling, Chapter 9, “Current and Evolving Therapy Approaches and Techniques” (pp. 243–267).
  • Review “A Study of Internet Addiction Through the Lens of the Interpersonal Theory.”

By Day 4

Post your response to the following question:

Why do some individuals develop addictions while others do not? Provide three answers, each based on a different theory of addiction. Be sure to reference factors that contribute to addictions. Which theory resonates the most for you and why?

Use the week’s Learning Resources in your response.

By Day 6

Respond to at least one of your colleagues’ postings in one or more of the following ways:

  • Provide a different perspective.
  • Offer a different theory not mentioned by a colleague to support the colleague’s post.
  • Expand on a colleague’s post with research or a different learning resource.

Submission and Grading Information

Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:Week 2 Discussion Rubric

Post by Day 4 and Respond by Day 6

To participate in this Discussion:Week 2 Discussion


Assignment: Theories Into Practice

When learning about a topic such as addictions, an initial step is to understand theories that contribute to the knowledge base that informs the field. For this Assignment, you will begin to translate theories into the questions you might ask to better understand factors contributing to an individual’s addiction. 

To prepare for this Assignment:

  • Review Case 1.2 in your course text, Learning the Language of Addiction Counseling, (p. 11).
  • Choose a theory from among this week’s Learning Resources to use for this Assignment.

By Day 7

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

  • A list of at least 7 questions that you might ask the individual in the case to determine the main factors contributing to the individual’s addictive behaviors
  • A rationale supporting each of your questions based on the theory you selected in this week’s Learning Resources

Submission and Grading Information

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

  • Please save your Assignment using the naming convention “WK2Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” as the name.
  • Click the Week 2 Assignment Rubric to review the Grading Criteria for the Assignment.
  • Click the Week 2 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 “WK2Assgn+last name+first initial.(extension)” and click Open.
  • If applicable: From the Plagiarism Tools area, click the checkbox for I agree to submit my paper(s) to the Global Reference Database.
  • Click on the Submit button to complete your submission.
Grading Criteria

To access your rubric:Week 2 Assignment Rubric

Check Your Assignment Draft for Authenticity

To check your Assignment draft for authenticity:Submit your Week 2 Assignment draft and review the originality report.

Submit Your Assignment by Day 7

To submit your Assignment:Week 2 Assignment


Week in Review

This week you applied addiction theory to factors that contribute to addiction.

Next week you will analyze the relationship between the hallmarks of addiction and the physiological effects of substances. In addition, you will evaluate the dangers of physiological effects of addictive substances and develop a communication strategy to warn against them.

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