The Disease Model of Addiction

Addiction treatment by the disease model means that an addict is “sick” and that someone else knows how to get that addict “well”. In reality, each person has a part of themselves that is perfect and was given to them at birth.

The basic problem with the disease model of addiction recovery is that the medical field calls someone “well” by sending them to take classes about symptoms and this determines the level of “help” that the “well” person will be able to give.

The reality of any emotional/mental help is that the healer can’t help beyond his/her level of recovery. We are all wounded healers but growth only happens after surrender to the need for recovery.

What other field of medicine focuses mainly or only on the symptoms? I mean, where is the cure? Certainly a label can help by identifying what information is needed to lead to a cure. But how does telling someone that they are in denial help that person to understand that their thinking is faulty?

Denial is not about lying but about someone not knowing the truth. Isn’t it more helpful to say that an addict is someone using a learned pattern of behavior to deal with uncomfortable feelings? If there are problems because of the addiction, then the learned pattern has to be given up and a new pattern of behavior has to be chosen for the energy used to be a positive for the addict.

In other words, some of the main issues in addiction treatment are maturity issues. The age at which a person started drinking, using, eating, buying, being overpowering to others, shopping, being preoccupied with sex, etc. is the emotional age he/she still is. If he/she started at age 15, which is pretty normal, then he/she is age 14 emotionally.

So recovery is generally about growing up. Another main issue of why people are addictive is so he/she can continue to live life in his/her head or imagination. No one knows reality–we only have a perception of reality. But the perception of reality with a clear mind away from addictions has a firmer grasp on reality.

  1.  From addictionsandrecovery: “The Tools of Recovery”:

You don’t recover from an addiction by stopping using. You recover by creating a new life where it is easier to not use. If you don’t create a new life, then all the factors that brought you to your addiction will eventually catch up with you again.

You don’t have to change everything in your life. But there are a few things and behaviors that have been getting you into trouble, and they will continue to get you into trouble until you let them go. The more you try to hold onto your old life in recovery, the less well you will do.

Here are the three most common things that people need to change in order to achieve recovery.

Read more here.

2. From addictioninfamily: “Addiction: Nobody Changes a Habit in Just 30 Days”:

Many people suffer from severe addictions that can ruin lives and are extremely difficult to control. Nearly 2 million enter roughly 12,000 addiction treatment programs each year (…).

Adi Jaffe is completing his Ph.D. in psychology at UCLA, where he specializes in addiction issues. A former drug addict who spent almost a year in treatment, Jaffe holds strong views about addictions of all types and the process of rehabilitation. He believes addicts can be treated successfully — but not quickly or easily.

“Treating addicts with 30-day programs is a horrendous idea,” he says. “Almost nobody changes a habit in 30 days. The National Institute on Drug Abuse has long recommended a minimum of 90 days residential treatment. Most people don’t get that, and rehab for a month is just not enough.

“The longer the addiction and the more entrenched, the longer you need to be away from it. You need to give yourself time for all the physical aspects of the addiction, the cravings and triggers to wane. After your mind has quieted down, you can start adapting new routines. Otherwise, you will jump right back into your old routines — that’s all you know how to do.”

The success rate for many rehabilitation programs is less than 25 percent, according to Jaffe. But addicts, and their loved ones, should not be discouraged if their first effort to quit does not succeed, he says.

Read more here.

Photo credit.

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