Psychoanalytic and Behaviorist Theories of Drug Abuse
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This paper reviews the Psychoanalytic and Behaviorist Theories of Drug Abuse. It discusses the major differences between the psychoanalytic and behaviorist theories in explanations of drug abuse>
Psychoanalytic and Behaviorist Theories of Drug Abuse According to Jeff Ratliff-Crain the focus by psychodynamictheorists in treating drug addicts has been on the role of underlyingconflicts unconscious motivations and early developmental events thatwould predispose an individual to an addiction to drugs A psychoanalyticview of drug addiction emphasizes that substance use is a symptom ofpsychological disturbances combined with an inability to cope with thosedisturbances This theory suggests that certain traumas conflicts andmotivations push individuals to engage in drug-abusing behaviors Apersonality-based theory of substance
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Apersonality-based theory of substance abuse must accept that certainpersonality characteristics were in place prior to the substance use, andthat these characteristics contributed to the inappropriate or uncontrolleduse of drugs (Ratliff-Crain, 2 4, Online). Once the factors responsible for the problem are identified, adrug counselor or trained therapist can manipulate either the environmentor the individual in order to correct the problem. Frequently, a personchooses to use chemical substances as a means of modifying how they feelabout themselves by self-medicating, or in response to social stresses orpressures. Available: http://www. On the other hand, a behavioristbelieves that the environment controls over drug addictive behavior. Ifthis is true, drug addicts will need long-term therapy to address theunderlying issues that prevent them from coping with life in modernsociety. According to Jerald Cilenta in his article "Cognitive Theory andTherapy in Substance Abuse Treatment," (2 3), the behaviorists' theory ofaddressing individual drug abuse involves an evaluation of the individualin their environment in order to determine what factors are responsible forthe problem. Behavior therapy is,therefore, an attempt to ensure that the desired behavior is immediatelyand appropriately rewarded and that undesired behavior is not rewarded.Ultimately, patients must learn to develop the skills necessary to be awareof what has led to their substance abuse in the past, and the warningsignals of a possible relapse. Available: http://www.mental-health-matters.com/ articles/ article.php?artID=593Ratliff-Crain, J. Alcohol MD [Online]. [Online]. alcoholmd.com/fam/treat/psycho.asp (2 4). (2 2). University of Minnesota [Online]. According to Cilente, the dynamics of substance abuse arefertile ground for the cognitive-based therapies. Drugs and Human Behavior. The psychodynamic perspective is that a drug addicted person may noteven be aware of the reasons why they have chosen to engage in this type ofself-destructive behavior. (2 3). A psychoanalyticview of drug addiction emphasizes that substance use is a symptom ofpsychological disturbances combined with an inability to cope with thosedisturbances. Once this is accomplished, the patient mustlearn effective ways of coping which allow a choice not to use drugs(Cilente, 2 3, Online) ReferencesCilente, J. Psychoanalytic and Behaviorist Theories of Drug Abuse According to Jeff Ratliff-Crain (2 4) the focus by psychodynamictheorists in treating drug addicts has been on the role of underlyingconflicts, unconscious motivations, and early developmental events thatwould predispose an individual to an addiction to drugs. Under the psychoanalytical view of drug abuse,the abuser will have deep-seated disturbances leading to poor coping skillsand ultimately to using drugs to supplement the person's coping skills. Available: http:// www.mrs.umn.edu /~ratliffj/ psy1 81.htmWesson, D. This theory suggests that certain traumas, conflicts andmotivations push individuals to engage in drug-abusing behaviors. Instead, behaviorists believe that drug addictstake drugs avoid or eliminate negative reinforcement (Wesson, 2 2,Online). Abehaviorist believes there is an emotional imbalance in a drug addict, andthe people use drugs to correct this imbalance when they are unable to findanother way to cope with it. Cognitive Theory and Therapy in Substance Abuse Treatment Get Mental Health, Inc. Psychotherapy and the Treatment of Alcohol Dependence. Behaviorists believe that drug addicts arenot motivated by drug induced excitement which would take the form ofpositive reinforcement. According to Dr. Donald Wesson in his article "Psychotherapy and theTreatment of Alcohol Dependence" (2 2), the difference between thepsychoanalytic and the behavioral perspectives on drug abuse centers on theidea that from the psychodynamic point of view, motivations are generatedby or within the addicted person.
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