The word ‘addiction’ these days is used to refer toa chronic condition where there is an
unhealthily powerful motivation to engage in a particularbehaviour. This can be driven by
many different factors – physiological, psychological,environmental and social. If we say that it
is all about X, we miss V, W, Y and Z. So, some people thinkaddicts are using drugs to escape
from unhappy lives, feelings of anxiety and so on; many are. Somepeople think drugs become
addictive because they alter the brain chemistry to create powerfulurges; that is often true.
Others think that drug taking is about seeking after pleasure;often it is. Some take the view that
addiction is a choice – addicts weigh up the pros and cons ofdoing what they do and decide
the former outweigh the latter. Yet others believe that addictssuffer from poor impulse control;
that is often true… And so it goes on.
When you look at the evidence, you see that all these positionscapture important aspects of
the problem – but they are not complete explanations.Neuroscience can help us delve more
deeply into some of these explanations, while the behavioural andsocial sciences are better at
exploring others. We need a model that puts all this together in away that can help us decide
what to do in different cases. Should we prescribe a drug, give theperson some ‘tender loving
care’, put them in prison or what? Theory of Addictionprovides this synthesis.
The first edition was well received:
‘Throughout the book the reader is exposed to a vastnumber of useful observations...The
theoretical aims are timely, refreshing, ambitious and above allchallenging. It opens up a new
way of looking at addiction and has the potential to move the fieldof addiction a considerable
leap forward. Thus we wholeheartedly would like to recommend thebook for students as well
as scholars. Read and learn!’ Nordic Studies on Alcoholand Drugs
‘The book provides a comprehensive review of existingtheories - over 30 in all - and this
synthesis of theories constitutes an important contribution in andof itself... West is to be
commended for his synthesis of addiction theories that spanneurobiology, psychology and
social science and for his insights into what remainsunexplained.’ Addiction
This new edition of Theory of Addiction
builds on the first,including additional theories in
the field, a more developed specification of PRIME theory andanalysis of the expanding
With this important new information, Theory of Addiction willcontinue to be essential reading
for all those working in addiction, from student to experiencedpractitioner – as urged above,
Read and learn!