Defense Date

3-21-2014

Graduation Date

2014

Availability

Immediate Access

Submission Type

dissertation

Degree Name

PhD

Department

Clinical Psychology

School

McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts

Committee Chair

Marco Gemignani

Committee Member

Will Adams

Committee Member

Jessie Goicoechea

Keywords

addiction, interpretative phenomenological analysis, prescription drugs, social construction

Abstract

This study presents an interpretative phenomenological analysis of the experience of becoming addicted to prescription medications. In addition, a constructionist analysis of the cultural, sociopolitical, and historical aspects of addiction are examined. The modern concept of addiction did not begin to come into being until the late nineteenth century. The twentieth century saw the beginning of government regulation and restrictions on the prescription, possession, and use of pharmaceuticals. The latter half of the twentieth century saw not only the boom of the pharmaceutical industry, but the explosion of addictive disorder and the rise of the Twelve Step program for addiction. Addiction, as a culturally constructed phenomenon, is still a hotly contested issue, with extreme views on opposite ends of the spectrum, even among treating professionals. Prescription medication addiction, in particular, has been on the rise for several decades. Toward the exploration and understanding of prescription pill addiction six male participants were recruited and interviewed for the research data and an interpretative phenomenological analysis was applied to this data. The following superordinate themes emerged and were explored: early experiences with drugs, a perception of prescription drugs as safer than street drugs, a movement away from an ideal self, denial and avoidance, and a sense of powerlessness. In addition, cultural factors impacting the experience of the participants' addictions were investigated.

Format

PDF

Language

English

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