Professor Jim Orford

Addiction as excessive appetite: principles and implications

The basic principles of the excessive appetites model of addiction are presented. These include: substances are only a sub-set of the human activities that have addiction potential; the determinants of excess are highly diverse, from genetics to cultural and spiritual values; restraints are as important as incentives; positive learning mechanisms are central, leading to attachment in the form of emotional-cognitive-behavioural schemata; a variety of secondary and tertiary processes, of which neuroadaptation is only one, compound attachment; much of the exp~rience of addiction is a consequence of conflict generated by excess. The general implication of the model is that much present addiction research and treatment activity is misdirected. Specifically, the field is currently over-focused on substances, on behavioural and other mental health oriented paradigms, and on specific, named treatments.