Hi and welcome to our blog which marries empirical neuroscientific evidence of what happens to the brain – how various functions and regions of the brain are “hijacked” – in the transition to full blown alcoholism – so that the alcoholic (or addict) ends up having limited control over choice on whether to drink or not, with ancedotal “evidence” from hundreds of alcoholics we have met in “recovery” to illustrate how this “lay” experiential wisdom can help provide invaluable insights into this neurobiological disease called alcoholism.
In this blog you will find a comprehensive worldview of what we believe addictive behavior to be in terms of altered neurobiology and in terms of cognitive-affective mechanisms such as stress and emotion dysregulation.
You will also be shown how these models contribute to a comprehensive understanding of craving and relapse.
If you have any questions or comments please feel free to contact us via the comments section – we would love to hear for you!
Issues with diagnostic definitions of Addiction:-
These two blogs highlight some of the issues with DSM V definitions of Addiction –
Now we consider the two main neurobiological theories of addiction before critiquing them and combining them into one comprehensive neurobiological theory of addiction.
We then set out another cognitive-affective theory of addiction to show how this impaired neuro-biology is affected by and affects the stress and emotion dysregulation to initiate, sustain and perpetuate the addiction cycle.
We complete our worldview of addiction in terms of theoretical contributions by providing a theory of craving and relapse using these models.
We believe all one needs to know about the manifestation of addictive beahviour can be found in these three theoretical, but interacting, models of addiction.
We will also link to blogs with highlight the inherent commonalities in all addictive behaviours.
Neuroscientific Models of Addiction
The following blogs are taken from this Comprehensive Neurobiological Theory of Addiction –
Diagrams of above Neuro-endocrinological Model of Addiction (to follow)
Our Stress-Emotion Dysregulation Model of Addiction
Addiction as a Brain Disorder of Affect Regulation
This Neuro-Psychological (Affective) Model of Addiction overlaps with the above Neuro-Biological Model Of Addiction, to illustrate that the inherent stress dysregulation in Addiction is prompted and perpetuated by the pathomechanism of affective dysregualtion.
Our Cognitive-Affective Model of Craving and Relapse
After all, the role of science is to help predict behaviour, such as e.g. reasons for relapse, and to describe the phenomenological experience of a psychopathology in order that diagnostic definitions of a psychopathology may, via accurate assessment, result in effective treatment. We discuss how successfully science has done and is doing in respect to these objectives.
As alcoholics in “recovery”, we are aware, regardless of the massive strides that have been made in the last quarter of a century, that neuroscientific models sometimes fall short of describing “what it is like” to be an alcoholic, particularly a sober one.
We attempt to critique, challenge, praise and modify existing thinking and models of addiction so that they may better describe our own experiential realities and more effectively aid therapeutic management for our underlying condition.
There is one thing we can say with some certainty at the onset. There is more to alcoholism than drinking alcohol and the subsequent effect of alcohol on the brain, although there are dire consequences of this, of course.
What these underlying conditions are will become more evident in due course, via various blogs.
It is by discussing this underlying condition, we hope, that we may help those who suffer from alcoholism, who love and care for alcoholics and research into or treat alcoholics in clinical, treatment and other settings, to contribute to your sum of knowledge so that you are better placed to understand why alcoholics do the things they do, behave the way they do and feel less inclined to strangle them.
Alcohol did not solely make us alcoholics, a predisposition to an underlying condition did.