Interactions and Addiction

Published In: APA Addiction Syndrome Handbook, Volume 1: Foundations, Influences, and Expressions of Addiction / Edited by Howard J. Shaffer, Debi A. LaPlante and Sarah E. Nelson (Washington, DC: American Psychological Association, 2012), Ch. 11, p. 211-228

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2012

by William G. Shadel, Deborah M. Scharf

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At its core, the addiction syndrome model seeks to answer fundamental questions about both the etiology and the treatment of addiction: Who becomes addicted and why? Once addicted, who has the most difficulty quitting, and how can they best be helped? In guiding the field toward answers, the model advances the notion that the relationship or interaction between specific features of individuals and particular features of specific objects over time in specific contexts is what creates the conditions necessary for stopping problematic use. Interactions are a critical feature of the model. In this chapter, we examine the nature of interactions in the addiction syndrome model. We accomplish this exploration in two ways. First, we review models and perspectives within the health behavior literature that treat interactions as a core feature of their conceptualizations. Second, we review, using a cast study approach, interactions in the development of nicotine dependence via cigarette smoking using the addiction syndrome model as a guiding framework. We conclude the chapter by evaluating how well the addiction syndrome model captures interactions in a way that advances understanding of the etiology and treatment of addictive behaviors.

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