The Concepts of Addiction

Different Concepts that Continually Surround the Addiction Discussion

Concepts of Addiction

Anyone who has worked with or struggled with it knows that alcohol and drug addiction is something that is not entirely understood. The cause of the ever present substance addiction problem in this world is not one that is perfectly known. Now programs have different ways of treating individuals with an addiction issues. These different ideas or concepts have led to much debate and questions over what addiction really is. With all of the approaches and different concepts it can be tough to find addiction treatment for those who truly need it. An alcoholic or addict can go through a few treatment centers before they find the concept that helps them to kick the habit. For others it only takes one. When it is time to get the alcoholic or addict help one should not be afraid to explore all the concepts and treatment options. Below are three of the concepts of addiction often discussed and used in rehabilitation efforts.
  1. Addiction as a Disease / Disorder Concept:

    This concept is the most looked at and debated concept. Ironically it is also the most practiced and used treatment modality. The disease concept is an altered state of central nervous system that comes from an inability to quit abusing drugs and alcohol. The result of which is sickness in the brain caused by this inability. This altered state of the mind is ever present in alcoholic or addict and can only be lessened through sobriety. The disease concept is found in most 12-step based and recovery-oriented programs and is utilized as the standard treatment practice by a majority of drug rehab facilities. Why the debate? Because people have a hard time seeing a self-inflicted problem like addiction as they do with contracted diseases. Still, most governmental treatment officials do refer to the addiction problem’s "disease" like symptoms when discussing addiction.
  2. Addiction as a Choice Concept:

    A lesser concept used in treatment, the choice concept is the idea that a person has fallen into drug addiction because they have chosen to do so. Interestingly enough, the choice to quit the addiction is also up to the individual. Treatment is then tailored to help that person make the changes in their life to make that choice. With this they look into a person's background and address some of the social and behavioral situations that have made this choice possible. A drug rehab that uses this type of concept can use many diverse forms of therapy to look at the alcoholic or addict's lifestyle and address why they have chosen addiction. Treatment then addresses changing the behaviors that lead to those choices.
  3. Addiction as a Product Concept:

    This concept focuses on the underlying issues that cause addiction. Alcohol and drug addiction are a product of other factors. This concept will use therapy and sometimes hypnotherapy to look into the emotional and psychological factors that fuel the addiction. These influences can be caused by childhood trauma, medical factors, and can even be a psychiatric disorder. The feelings in this concept are that the results of these influences can create the desire to use alcohol and drugs to suppress such issues. A continuance of therapy can help the individual to come to terms with the underlying factors and thusly help them with their addiction problem.

Treating Individuals

So what is the answer to the question? Is addiction a disease? A choice? Or a product of underlying traumatic things? The most correct response is "Yes." No one perfectly understands why a person abuses drugs and alcohol. And when you are dealing with distinct individuals, it is hard sometimes for particular concepts to be effective. If you tell a heroin addict that there problem is their own choice to get out of, and they still struggle with losing control. Maybe the disease concept would work better. Let's take a person who has had an alcohol problem for a number of years, and one day they decide to put the bottle down for good, and everything is just fine. A person like this may struggle with the whole disease concept.

In the rehabilitation effort you are working with individuals. They have different wants, needs and thoughts when it comes to their problems and addiction factors in their life. It can be elements of an underlying issue. It can be factors due to a psychiatric disorder. A person should find a treatment effort that best aligns to their needs. At Cirque, we are founded on the 12-step program that focuses on the disease concept of addiction. As a leading treatment center, we have also incorporated many additional therapies like one-on-one therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy and an experiential program to help individuals address all the areas that cause the addictive struggle.