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The role of the environment in aiding recovery from addiction


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The APA defines addict as "a person who has developed a substance dependence" (VandenBos & American Psychological Association., 2007, p. 18). The craving for substances as experienced by addicted individuals is considered a formidable obstacle to recovery from a dependency. According to Lowman, Hunt, Litten and Drummond (2000), there has been an uncritical assumption that merely reducing an individual's cravings through the use of pharmaceuticals is enough to prevent relapse into substance use. Many scientists and lay people assume that cravings are the driving force behind addictions (Rhodes, Ryabinin, & Crabbe, 2005; Tiffany & Conklin, 2000). However, according to Tiffany and Conklin (2000), many clinicians, drug addicts and alcoholics can testify that eliminating cravings is not enough to prevent relapse. Furthermore, although cravings indicate a dependence problem, the presence of cravings are not necessary to establish a diagnosis (Lowman et al., 2000). Physiological cravings only take into account the biological environment, without consideration of other environmental factors.
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