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Models of Addiction Essay

The three models of addiction examined in this week’s readings include the medical model, the psychosocial model, and the disease of the human spirit model. The medical model “rests on the assumption that disease states are the result of a biological dysfunction, possibly one on the cellular or even molecular level” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 333). Many consider this model and “maintain that much of human behavior is based on the interaction between the individual’s biological predisposition and the environment” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 333).

Individuals under this model view free will “as an illusion” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 33). There is controversy regarding this model as “to the degree to which the individual’s genetic heritage actually serves to predispose the individual to a substance use disorder, and how much of this is the result of psychosocial factors” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 344). The disease model does appear to govern the way in which substance abuse disorders are considered and treated in the United States. The psychosocial models of substance use proponents suggest that it is interlinked with the medical model in that both “admit that there is a major psychosocial component to the addictions” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 345).

Psychosocial proponents state that “addictions are learned behavior(s), poor psychosocial functioning, or the result of maladaptive thinking” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 345). It is suggested that the pharmaceutical industry may be responsible for ‘disease mongering’ to help promote the sales of drugs said to cure proposed diseases, therefore promoting the disease model. Some believe we are obscuring unacceptable behavior and calling them diseases suggesting that we have “become a nation of blamers, whiners, and victims, all too happy, when we get a chance, to pass the buck to somebody else for our troubles” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 46).

Multiple theoretical models were offered: moral model, temperance model, spiritual model, dispositional disease model, educational model, characterological model, general systems model, and the medical model. In considering all the models that propose to offer insight in the factors to consider with addiction, “each perspective fails to completely explain all of the facets of the SUDs adequately” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 352). The third model of substance use disorders presented is the disease of the human spirit.

This model suggests that as we enter the burdens and trials of life and become ungrounded with pain or voids in our lives we allow ourselves to feel pity and open ourselves up to our inwardly sinful nature. “It is at this point that some recoil in horror and become spiritual narcissists: self-centered, unwilling to see any reason to deny the “self” any desire or pleasure” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 357). This model believes that all individuals “all start out with hope, faith and fortitude” but when exposed to the ills of the world some “turn to chemicals to fill the perceived void within or to ease their pain” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 61).

When considering spiritual bankruptcy and void in the life of an addict, despair comes to mind. When an individual feels despair they are unable to consider anything else but what is happening in the present and often appear desperate. Literature supports that “people are also spiritual beings who are either actively or passively involved in a relationship with a Higher Being” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 353). When a person is spiritually bankrupt they have lost moral direction and often begin to make poor, self-pleasing choices and have chosen a passive relationship with their Higher Being.

Addicts are searching for something to fill them with the joy and wholeness they have replaced with the unconditional love of Christ. The prevalence of addiction based on my readings suggests that illicit drugs, marijuana, and narcotics are readily available on the streets. “ In the United States it has been estimated that 2000 people use cocaine for the first time each day” and that “nationally 5-10% of the population, or about 30 million people, have abused cocaine at least once” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 110). It is disturbing that the literature is able to quote statistics on children using these substances at such a young age.

Literature supports that the use of hallucinogens seems to be declining in the United States, however, “it was estimated that 943,000 persons over the age of 12 abused a hallucinogenic compound for the first time in the year 2007” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 166). Also mentioned was “the average age at which individuals begin to smoke marijuana in the United States is around 18-19 year of age” (Doweiko, 2012, p. 124). Another disturbing fact regarding substances on the streets is the consideration that many of the substances vary in amount of substance such that individuals may not realize the quantity or quality of the substance they are ingesting.


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