Behavioral and Brain Sciences

Open Peer Commentary

The biopsychosocial and “complex” systems approach as a unified framework for addiction

Mark D. Griffithsa1

a1 Department of Gambling Studies, and Director, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, NG1 4BU, United Kingdom.


The “unified framework” for addiction proposed by Redish and colleagues is only unified at a reductionist level of analysis, the biological one relating to decision-making. Theories of addiction may be complementary rather than mutually exclusive, suggesting that limitations of individual theories might be unified through the combination of ideas from different biopsychosocial “complex” systems perspectives.