April 04, 2016
How does using substances such as drugs and alcohol become an addiction? There are quite a few responses to that particular observation. The two models or theories we will be looking at are the learning theory and the multicausal model. These two theories have very different reasons why people have an addiction to drugs and alcohol. An inclusion of a summary about the model that is the most useful in intervening addictions. Knowing the reason is half the battle, knowing how to intervene is a helpful beginning to a better life.
The learning theory is the theory in which a person smokes or drinks substances to relieve stress, tension, anxiety, and any other psychological problem (McNeece & DiNitto, 2012, pp. 27). The substances become a reinforcement for their psychological problem therefore, causing that person to depend on substances to make them feel better. The learning theory consists of three fundamental types of learning which include classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and social learning (CenterSite, LLC, 2016). Classical conditioning is when a person makes a connection between a substances effects and their own emotional state. For instance, when someone uses smoking as a stress reliever they will always use that connection whenever they feel stressed.
Operant conditioning pertains to the after effects of the first experience with the substance. An example would be when a person has an enjoyable experience with smoking marijuana, they will repeat the experience over and over again. As for social learning, it involves the observation of the environment. When a teenager sees their friends and other people drinking alcohol they will most likely join the crowd and drink as well. The learning theory on addiction can be used to treat people with addiction by helping them unlearn all the negative behaviors.