August 09, 2013
Substance Abuse Theories
There are several theoretical methods that can help an individual with a substance addiction recover from this illness that affects millions of people. In this paper I will discuss three of these theories and how they can help individuals who suffer from these addictions.
The sociocultural view proposes that substance abuse and dependence are more likely to appear in families and social environments where substance abuse is valued or at least accepted (Cromer, R.J., 2011, chapter.10). It has been found that substance abuse often occurs in areas where there are higher levels of unemployment and also in middle-class communities. Alcohol abuse is also found in higher rates in the teenage community. The types of therapies that are generally prescribed under the sociocultural theory are preventative programs such as: Alcoholic Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and self-help programs.
The cognitive-behavioral view is that operant conditioning can contribute to substance abuse. Under this theory it is believed that patterns of substance abuse occur because an individual uses in order to relive pressure during times of stress. When an individual uses they receive a release for their life stressors gaining a “reward”. Therefore, the individual will in turn begin to use alcohol or other substances during all times of stress in order to achieve the release they are seeking. This in turn creates a pattern of abuse.
Treatment programs under the cognitive-behavioral view are using therapies such as aversion therapy which is an approach that is based on classical conditioning. Individuals are repeatedly presented with an unpleasant stimulus at the moment they are taking the drug (Cromer, R.J., 2001, chapter 10). This is done in hopes that an individual will find the act of abuse so repulsive they will refrain from it. Two other types of therapy used are relapse prevention training and behavioral self-control training (BSCT). With BSCT training and individual is encouraged to write down times and locations of where the abuse takes place. This in turn allows the individual to see the patterns and circumstances of their substance abuse, allowing them to change the pattern. In relapse-prevention training substance abusers are taught to plan ahead and manage their abuse, often lowering their levels of intoxication.
The biological view asserts that there is a genetic predisposition to substance abuse. It also asserts that there are biochemical factors that come into play in