Therapeutic Strategies in Alcohol and Tobacco Addiction

The Psychology of Motivation and Change in Addiction: From Neuroscience to Clinical Practice


Additions define neurobehavioral disorders in which the brain circuits responsible for pleasure, motivation, stress and decision-making are structurally and functionally disturbed. In this section we will talk about how people become addicted and how the activation of the reward system of the brain by alcohol and drugs not only generates rewarding sensations associated with these substances, but also triggers changes in the way a person responds to associated stimuli.

The psychological therapies traditionally used in the treatment of addictions, namely motivational, cognitive and behavioural therapies, are also founded on the same principles of learning and motivational reward systems of the brain that are involved in the aetiopathogenesis of additions. Hence, in the following parts, we will focus on the psychological management of motivation in clinical practice. We talked about how people move along different mental states of change, from absolute denial to acceptance, and how therapists should deal with different stages of motivation to change, and also according to the different settings of clinical intervention.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clinical Division of Social PsychiatryMedical University Vienna, Department of Psychiatry and PsychotherapyViennaAustria
  2. 2.Caritas der Erzdiözese WienViennaAustria
  3. 3.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Connecticut Health CenterFarmingtonUSA
  4. 4.Neuroscience DepartmentHospital de Santa MariaLisboaPortugal

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