Evolution meets biopsychosociality: an analysis of addictive behavior


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Abstract

Evolutionary theory can inform the biopsychosocial approach to addictive behavior through the use of adaptationist thinking, or how natural selection has shaped the mechanisms and processes underlying addiction. Covering how evolutionary theory relates to biology, psychology and sociality, this paper examines three components to drug use and abuse: a biological mechanism (mesolimbic dopamine), a developmental trajectory (attachment) and a social phylogeny (dominance, submission, social dependence). The paper argues for a salience (or wanting) view of the function of dopamine; outlines how attachment affects time perspective, closure of internal models and self-regulation; and examines how inequality affects drug abuse and how social dependence and manipulative behaviors can play a role in relationships with drugs. The article concludes with an analysis of how the adaptive approach applies to interventions against addictive behavior.

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