Disease Model VS. Psycho-Social Model

I’ve been going over it in my mind- disease model vs. the psycho-social model of addiction. With the disease model, the belief is  that there are symptoms and a prognosis, possibly even a bad gene. Also embedded in this conceptual framework is the belief that once the person has succumbed to addiction, they are always an addict and at the mercy of this disease. Advocates of this conceptual construct would also suggest that the only treatment for this “disease” is a medicalised one, and the only real “treatment” is abstinence. I am not one of those people. I follow the psycho-social theory- leave it to me to take the road less traveled.

I get irritated when family members who say they think that addiction is a disease, mention ‘bad character’ in the same breath. They don’t mention bad character when referring to cancer patients. (And you could be the biggest most ungrateful son-of-a-bitch, and still get your chemo.) But you must shape your character when battling addiction, which according to the disease model, you will never win. Now followers of the psycho-social model of addiction would argue that their construct for addiction looks upon the issue of addiction as a life choice which is influenced by society, environment and the psychological makeup of the substance user- a choice which is made by the individual. This choice is then influenced by the subjects psychology, environment, social discourse both personally and societal, and other factors such as physical / mental health, developmental abnormalities and learned behavior. They also embrace the concept of a natural limit to an addictive episode that exists, and that “spontaneous recovery” is the proof of this concept, and an attainable state for the addict, contrary to the notion that the addict will always be an addict.

I am a harm reductionist. I believe moderation can be taught and dis-eased bodies can be brought back into harmony. I also believe that moral bankruptcy can be halted and turned around and brought into balance as well, and balance is the key to health.  Perhaps traditional rehab should have less pity parties, and more of the following;

  • gratitude sharing- focus on the gifts of life and gain a sense of well being
  • metaphysical training- dowsing, energy signature patterns, sacred geometry- learn to solicit and respect the universe
  • community service- getting lost in the act of giving takes your mind off your self

 never announce to a group that you are an addict- as                                             you say you are,  is as you will be.

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