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The BERSC Model

What causes and influences addiction

Addiction is more than simply biological or psychological, it is influenced by biology, emotion, relationships as well as society and culture.

bersc model

Biology – Brain development and brain chemistry – both cause and effect of addiction.

Emotional – Addiction used as a way of soothing negative emotion and creating positive emotions.

Relational – Addiction used as a way of regulating intimacy and managing fears and anxieties around peers and loved ones. Also, a symptom of difficult relationships.

Social – Addictive substances and behaviours widely accepted by society. E.g. the prevalence of alcohol and pornography and the ‘normalisation’ of drunkenness and erotica.

Cultural – Specific cultures that may support or encourage addiction, for example work environments or peer groups. Also, cultural environments that might suppress sexuality to the point where rebellion may result in addiction.