Normative Theories Of Addiction: A Comparative Analysis

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The Debate of Choice and Compulsion Normative theories on addiction tend to feed into the debate of compulsion or choice (Henden, Melberg, & Røgeberg, 2013). On one end of the spectrum, addiction can be described as a medical illness illustrated by relapse, recurring drug use, and compulsive behavior in which the addict has no control over. Sellman, (2010), for example, argues that although often lost on healthcare professionals and other medical providers, addiction to drugs and other addictive behaviors (gambling, pornographic websites, internet use, alcohol, etc.) becomes increasingly compulsive as the addiction progresses. Biological evidence has shown to correlate drug use and dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain. As drug use increases,…show more content…
The components of addiction, mood modification, salience, tolerance, withdrawal, compulsive use, and relapse, helps us to understand the path of a typical addict or drug user, and also that addicts can be in any stage of these components at any point in the recovery process. Comprehending the stigmatizations of addicts and drug users enables one to understand the implications of negative attitudes and behaviors towards recovering persons. Lastly, reviewing the debate of choice and compulsion, while intertwined, provides a complex understanding of the potential decision-making and both voluntary/involuntary behavior patterns that addicts and drug users…show more content…
It is well known that stigmatizations of others in general can lead to negative self-image, a lack of motivation, and a lack of desire to improve upon one’s own circumstances. Researching the impact of prior incarcerations, arrests, medical histories, and recovery programs on a recovering addict, particularly one trying to shed the stigma of drug addiction and morph back into traditional norms of society, could prove beneficial to both the legal system and the recovery process for addicts and repeat drug users. In addition, incorporating themes from both theories of decision-making in addicts, both choice and compulsion, could provide implications for future research. Educating generalized caregivers, the general masses, and addicts themselves that drug related decision-making may be both internally and externally motivated could lead to new ideas in treatment, therapy, and the potential for self-actualization in recovering
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