Addiction

Addiction

Weston Lampe

Theory of Addiction

Monday October 1, 2012

Disease Model

The oldest and possibly most talked about theory of addiction in the disease model. The disease model basically states that substance addiction is similar to any other disease in that it is genetic, progressive, and often times fatal. The symptoms of substance abuse such as alcoholism are similar for everyone who suffers, and they are easily recognizable.
One problem with the disease model is that it is not backed by any strong scientific research. You cannot give someone an X-ray or a CT scan to see if they suffer from drug addiction. Another problem is that if it was a disease then one would assume that some sort of medicinal or therapeutic device would have been developed that can help cure the disease. No such device has been created or is even close to being introduced.
The disease model has had serious implications when it comes to treating substance abuse. Alcoholics Anonymous (commonly referred to as AA) was created by psychiatrists specifically to treat substance abuse as a disease. AA is a long process in which participants use self-help methods in order to battle the disease for their entire life. It was founded in the United States in 1935 and has since exploded worldwide and is as prevalent as ever.
I believe that substance abuse as a disease makes sense because it seems to be so natural. Alcoholism is commonly passed down through generations and is very common, similar to many other diseases. Substance abusers are usually not able to stop cold turkey because the disease is intertwined with their own flesh and blood. It is inside of them and they have very little control over the symptoms and outcomes. Stopping the use of substances seems to be the only way to be “cured” and you would think that such a clear-cut way out of the disastrous lifestyle that so many substance abusers have would seem very attractive to them. Quitting might sound quick and easy, but it...

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