PSY 300 Week 2 Individual Assignment Phobias and Addictions Paper
PSY 300 Week 2 Individual Assignment Phobias and Addictions Paper
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Date Created: 11/14/15
Phobias and Addictions PSY300 Phobias and Addictions Phobias and addictions are usually seen together because most people with an addition already had a phobia they may not have been aware of to begin with. To understand this they need to be broken down into both classical and operant conditioning and the effect each has on both phobias and addictions. Classical conditioning occurs when people learn to react to a stimulus in the environment whereas operant conditioning occurs when people react to a reward or punishment. The major difference between classical and operant conditioning lies in the nature of the response to a given stimulus. Addictions Addiction to anything comes from a persistent behavior that despite knowing it can have adverse consequences a person will continue this behavior. Most addictions start when someone has a pleasurable experience and wishes to continue or relive this experience. They will continue the behavior with little or no selfcontrol even when it can become destructive. A person who is addicted will experience urges or cravings to engage in the behavior, which intensify until the he or she carries out the behavior again, usually experiencing relief, and elation (Grant, Potenza, Weinstein, &Gorelick, 2010). Addiction seeks immediate gratification of drives and impulses. Operant conditioning focuses on behavior that is voluntary such as gambling where this behavior is done for a reward. Sex addiction is a behavior pattern that depends on various forms of sexual expression to cope with the stresses of life. Sex addiction is a repetitive pattern of thought processes and behaviors, which continues despite negative consequencesfor the person addicted. Food addictions are different because humans need to eat to survive however; a person starts to eat more than necessary to fill some unseen void it becomes and addiction. Phobia Phobias are irrational fears that cannot be overcome even when the sufferer is fully aware that there is no reason for the fear (Phobias, 2000). Phobias are usually seen as an anxietyrelated disorder. The three basic types of phobias are situational phobias, social phobias, and simple phobias. The phobic fear can be of a specific object or circumstance. Some people with phobias have feelings of depersonalization that leads to periods of depression (Phobias, 2004). Phobias can range in severity and degree to which they affect a person’s life. Simple phobias are specific to a particular object or event. “Studies since Watson and Rayner’s time have proposed classical conditioning as an explanation for some human phobias (Ost, 1991; Wolpe, 1958). For example, through exposure to injections in childhood, many people develop severe emotional reactions (including fainting) to hypodermic needles”(Kowalski &Westen, 2009, p. 161). Some phobias stem from biological preparedness such as a fear of snakes or spiders instead of flowers. Humans are biologically wired to fear that, which may harm us. Fear Phobias “Specific phobias are thought to be caused or influenced by genetics or childhood trauma. A phobia learned through classical conditioning would be if they had a fear of dying from a spider bite then start to think of somewhere that has many spiders. The person experiences uncomfortable fear and anxiety, as if he or she were already there with a bunch of spiders. In contrast, when he or she thinks about avoiding the situation entirely, he or she feels better and the anxiety goes away. This is how classical conditioning and avoidance of the feared object makes a phobia worse”(Hunt, 2007, p. 316,323). Because of feelings of hopelessness, people with acute phobias tend to suffer from clinical depression more often than the general population. They are 50% more likely to abuse alcohol and other moodaltering drugs; they are more prone to thoughts of suicide as well. Feeling as though their experiences make them “crazy” or “weird,” many people with phobias assume that there is no help. Fear is a primitive survival response that has been evolving since our prehistoric ancestors. This is known as “fight or flight response”. Even though the kinds of dangers faced in modern society are usually of a different nature than those of our ancestors, those same physical reactions still occur(Stewart, 2001, p. 1617). Although the strong physical reactions to fear instinctive, it is unclear where the fears themselves come from. Bad experiences can account for many fears but not all of them. Although moderate anxiety and fear can be extremely constructive emotions, phobias are purely destructive. A phobia is also persistent not a onetime fear it continues over a long time. Most realistic fears go away, unless the person receives the message again and again that the feared object is dangerous. Another key element of phobias is that they are disabling. A person with a phobia will find that his or her life is affected by the fear (Stewart, 2001, p. 20). Classical Conditioning In a study by John Watson and Rosalie Rayner a toddler named Little Albert was conditioned to fear a white rat. Before conditioning Little Albert had not responded to white rats they were a neutral stimulus. One researcher made a loud noise that startled Little Albert and he began to cry. His response was labeled as fear. While conditioning, one researcher placed a white rat in front of Little Albert while the other researcher made the loud noise the response was the baby cried. After repeating the experiment of rat and noise the researchers noticed that the toddler would cry just seeing the rat. The study applies the principles of classical conditioning to a human subject and shows how fear can develop. Operant conditioning Operant conditioning is mainly about reinforcement and punishment however, for addictions punishment is not a factor as much as reinforcement. The two types of reinforcement: positive and negative. Positive reinforcement occurs when a child does a chore and for this behavior he is rewarded with a CD or game. As a result the child will be more than likely to do the chore in the future. Extinction “In classical conditioning, the processby which a conditioned response is weakened by presentationof the conditioned stimulus without theunconditioned stimulus; in operant conditioning, theprocess by which the connection between an operantand a reinforcer or punishment is similarly broken“(Kowalski &Westen, 2009, p. 163). Conclusion Today behavior therapy is recognized as the most effective treatment for all three types of phobias as well as most addictions. Either alone or combined with certain medications, behavior therapy has been extremely successful. People who suffer from social phobias feel cut off and alone. This loneliness and frustration often causes them to use and abuse drugs or alcohol as a means of coping with those feelings. Whatever type of phobia the fear is the phobic person must adjust life around it. References EBOOK COLLECTION: Kowalski, R. &Westen, D. (2009) . Psych (5th ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.Retrieved October 16, 2010. Grant, J., Potenza, M., Weinstein, A., &Gorelick, D. (2010).Introduction to behavioral addictions.The American Journal Of Drug And Alcohol Abuse, 36(5), 233241. Retrieved from MEDLINE with Full Text database.Retrieved October 16, 2010. phobias. (2000). In The Royal Society of Medicine Health Encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/rsmhealth/phobias.Retrieved October 16, 2010. Phobias.(2004). In New Harvard Guide to Women's Health, The.Retrieved from http://www.credoreference.com/entry/hupwh/phobias.Retrieved October 16, 2010. Stewart, G. B. (2001). Diseases and Disorders Phobias.Retrieved October 16, 2010. Hunt, M. (2007). The story of Psychology. Retrieved October 16, 2010
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