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Lecture 1

PSY240H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 1: Benzodiazepine, Family Therapy, Covert Conditioning

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Norman Farb

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Biological Theories
Genetic Factors
oFamily history, adoption, and twin studies all suggest that genetics may
play a substantial role in at least some forms of addiction.
o In alcohol addiction, the genetic link is stronger in men
Alcohol Reactivity
oThe sons of alcoholics have a lower reactivity to moderate doses of
Alcoholism as a Form of Depression
o70 percent of people with alcohol dependency have depressive symptoms
severe enough to interfere with daily living.
Pleasure and Reinforcement
oThe brain’s pleasure centre and the neurotransmitter dopamine seem to be
especially important with regard to certain substances.
Biological marker studies attempt to show that alcoholism is inherited.
Low monoamine oxidase (MAO) activity has also been found in alcoholics.
None of these markers is clinically useful in diagnosing disordered substance use.
Biological markers can be considered an indication of vulnerability and value
further investigation.
Psychological factors, such as certain personality characteristics are associated
with alcoholism.
Behavioural disinhibition is associated with alcohol problems, as is negative
Behavioural and Cognitive Theories
Children and adolescents learn alcohol-related behaviours from the modelling of
their parents and important others in their culture.
People who expect alcohol to reduce their distress and do not have other means
of coping they more likely than others to drink alcohol when they are upset
Predisposing personality traits:
oAnxiety sensitivity, introversion, impulsivity, and behavioural under-
The tension-reduction or anxiety-relief hypothesis
Suggests that drinking is reinforced by its ability to reduce negative emotions
The alcohol expectancy theory suggests that drinking behaviour is largely
determined by the reinforcement that an individual expects to receive receive (For
example, social and physical pleasure, increases in sexual performance, etc.).
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