Defining addiction & exploring unhelpful media messages

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Abbeycare Group

Recovery & Mental Health Matters

The term
The root of the term addiction may have come from the Romans’ ‘addictus’,
which is arguably “addiction’s modern sense as (the) enslavement to a
habit” (Maté, 2012, p. 128). However, a single definition from one field of
health does not cover the complexity of addictive behaviours. A combined
perspective encompassing research from psychology, medicine,
pharmacology, to name a few, is required to gain a robust understanding of
the challenges found within addictive behaviour.
The theory
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR)
(2000) lists almost 300 mental disorders, without ever using the term
‘addiction’, but rather ‘substance dependence’, which incorporates
tolerance, withdrawal, an increase in use over time, unable to cut down
despite there being a desire to, a preoccupation with the substance – using
or obtaining, a period of recovery, a lack of interest in activities/people, and
continued use in spite of harm to self (Moss & Dyer, 2010).
There are a number of dysfunctional beliefs found within Cognitive
Behavioural theory that further complicate addictive behaviours and in
reaching a definition applicable to an individual. Beck et al. (1993, p. 38)
list seven, summarised below:
1 – I need the substance to maintain a balance in my psychological and
emotional state
2 – The substance improves my social and intellectual ability
3 – I will gain pleasure and excitement from the substance
4 – I will be energised and have increased power
5 – I will be soothed
6 – I will not be bored, anxious, tense or depressed after use
7 – I will be in a negative state of mind if I do not use the substance
These dysfunctional beliefs are broad, but do not encapsulate self-justification
– such as, ‘I’ve had a terrible day, I deserve this’, which Beck et
al. (1993, p. 38) refer to as “permission-giving beliefs”.
Media bite
Permission-giving is a message frequently replayed across social media, and
we’ve all seen them on greetings cards: ‘wine o’clock’ and more recently,
‘one Prosecco, two Prosecco, three Prosecco – More!’. Harmless, or peddling
a myth that drinking is a light-hearted choice for all to enjoy? Can we
examine addictive behaviours and greetings cards together, or is that going
too far? are currently campaigning about the range at John
Lewis – you can read about it here.
American Psychiatric Association (2000) Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of
Mental Disorders (4th edn.) Washington, DC: American Psychiatric
Freeman, D. (n.d.) ‘Health Risks of Alcohol: 12 Health Problems Associated
with Chronic Heavy Drinking’, Retrieved:
(Accessed: 4 Apr 2018).
Maté, G. (2008) In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts – Close Encounters with
Addiction. Random House: Toronto.
Abbeycare Specialist Recovery
Clinics – Scotland & Newmarket
Murdostoun Castle Wishaw, Lanarkshire,
Kentford Manor Kennett,
Cambridgeshire, England
Admissions: 01603 513 091
Moss, A. C. & Dyer, K. R. (2010) Psychology of Addictive Behaviour Palgrave
McMillan: Basingstoke.
Soberistas (2018) ‘Scrap greeting cards in John Lewis that promote harmful
levels of drinking’, [Online.] Retrieved from:
&utm_campaign=share_petition (Accessed: 4 Apr 2018).

Thanks again // sharing is caring!
Have a great weekend, folks.
Kate 🙂 

Abbeycare Foundation

Kate Hillier 2018
Addiction Counselling, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Psychotherapy, Recovery Counselling

You can find Kate Hillier on our Newmarket listing HERE









The opinions expressed by the guest writer/blogger and those providing comments are theirs alone and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Suffolk And Norfolk Therapists or Yvonne Davey-Croft. Suffolk And Norfolk Therapists or Yvonne Davey-Croft are not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the Guest writer/bloggers. This work is the opinion of the writer/blogger. It is not the intention of Suffolk And Norfolk Therapists or Yvonne Davey-Croft to “malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organisation, company, or individual.

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