Essay on The Proponents And The Opponents Of The Disease Model Of Addiction

Essay on The Proponents And The Opponents Of The Disease Model Of Addiction

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For the past 200 years, the world has contemplated the question whether addiction is a medical disease, mental disorder, a behavioral condition, a voluntary choice, a moral misconduct or possibly a combination of all of these. None of these concepts alone provide comprehensive and exhaustive definition of substance abuse. Advances in addiction science, fear of wrongly pathologizing individuals without pathologies, the need for more effective treatment and even stronger desire to explore and understand the nature of addiction have fueled this debate, making it even more intense.
Our primary model describes addiction as a disease characterized by a set of signs and symptoms and a predictable prognosis if left untreated. However, this concept has been challenged by many professionals, including health care providers, psychiatrists, addiction counselors, addiction researchers, professor and teachers. As a result, a variety of models and theories of substance abuse have been proposed.
In this essay, I examine the views of the proponents and the opponents of the disease model of addiction. Additionally, I attempt to establish if substance use is a medial disorder.
The traditional model is rooted in the concept of an addiction as a disease, proposed in the late XVIII century by Benjamin Rush. The theory was later strengthened by Professor Elvin Jellinek, popularized by the philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous, applied to The Minnesota Model, the dominant form of addiction treatment in the USA, and finally used by the American Society of Addiction Medicine to create a formal definition of an addiction (Meyer, 1996). According to ASAM, addiction is a primary, diagnosable, progressive, chronic and treatable disease that involve...


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...gic human condition that is subjected to all external and internal influences. It is a powerful and frightening experience that permeates one’s feeling, thinking and doing. It is very subjective, personal reality that incorporates individual’s history, biological uniqueness, emotional reactivity, personality, and environment.
Addiction does not fit one specific category because it occurs along a continuum of natural behavior. When certain experiences lead to repetition of this behavior, it eventually becomes habitual, compulsive and pathological. It does not need to be labeled as a ‘disease’, because, even though it is like a disease, is not a disease.
The cliché ‘more research is needed’ is a typical way to end such a discussion. Efforts to understand addiction should focus on the development of a truly comprehensive, integrative and synthesized theory.

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