Emerging conceptual models of excessive behaviors


The clinical assessment of a common behavior that disrupts a person's life only when it becomes excessive is controversial. The inclusion of pathological gambling in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Third Edition (DSM-III) in 1980 was one of the initial formal attempts to develop diagnostic criteria for this type of behavior. The diagnostic criteria for pathological gambling were based on substance dependency, but the disorder was classified as an impulse control disorder. One attempt to resolve the controversy has been the development of a general psychological model of addiction that includes both substance related behaviors and excessive behaviors. An example is the Griffiths component model that describes salience, mood modification, tolerance, withdrawal, conflict and relapse as the central features of addiction. An addictive disorders section including excessive behaviors and substance use disorders is one of the proposals for the DSM-V, scheduled to be published in 2012.

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