Substance Abuse as a Dynamical Disease: Evidence and Clinical Implications
of Nonlinearity in a Time Series of Daily Alcohol Consumption
College of Social Work, The Ohio State University, Stillman Hall,
1947 College Road, Columbus, OH 43210, USA
Raymond C. Hawkins, II
Department of Psychology, The University of Texas, Austin, TX, USA
Julien C. Sprott
Physics Department, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI, USA
(Available online 31 January 2003)
Several authors have suggested that chaos theory, the study of nonlinear
dynamics and the application of the knowledge gained to natural and social
phenomena, might yield insight into substance-related disorders. In this
article, we examine the dynamics of substance abuse by fitting a nonlinear
model to a time series of the amount of alcohol, which an adult male with
a diagnosis of substance abuse consumed on a daily basis. The nonlinear
model shows a statistically superior fit when compared to a linear model.
We then use the model to explore a question that is pertinent to the treatment
of substance abuse, whether controlled drinking or abstinence is a preferred
strategy for maintaining sobriety.
Ref: K. Warren, R. C. Hawkins, and J. C. Sprott,
28, 369-374 (2003).
The complete paper is available in PDF format.
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