family drug intervention

Models of Addiction

In the addiction field there are many models from which the treatment community view AOD (alcohol and other drug) problems. This is important, as these are the ways that people think of drug and alcohol abuse (AODA). The perspective of the potential client and that of the family tend to indicate which approach will benefit the person long term. A less categorical approach is currently favored, in which the problem is viewed from many perspectives, and at this time is the trend in AODA treatment.

Below are some of the major categorical classifications of Alcohol and other Drug Abuse perspectives in a developmental context and will familiarize you with some of the most common and prominent philosophies in AODA. Each section will discuss causal factors, or the theory that states the cause of AODA; suggested courses of treatment, or what is recommended in the intervention of AODA; and treatment specialists, or who specializes in each model.

Moral Model

This is perhaps the longest standing view of AODA, it's suggested course of treatment and sources of it's causal factors. From the viewpoint of the Moral Perspective AOD abuse is seen as an infringement of societal rules by the abuser. Proponents feel it is a punishable crime and the individual is responsible for his or her choices. Many in the religious community take this viewpoint and criticize AOD use as a sinful act and a crime by the laws of society.

Causal Factors

  1. Spiritual Deficit
  2. Conscious Choice

Suggested Courses of Treatment

  1. Clergy Intervention (Spiritual Guidance)
  2. Moral Persuasion
  3. Imprisonment/Social Consequences

Treatment Specialists

  1. Clergy
  2. Law Enforcement

Temperance Model

The temperance model has habitually been confused with moral approaches. This perspective began with a prohibition movement in the late 19th century. The movement emphasized the idea of moderation as primary to the shortcomings of treatment. The conviction was that moderation was an impractical task. Abstinence was asserted as the only alternative. The core assumption of the temperance movement was that the addictive and destructive power of the drug is strong and that it is the drug itself that is the problem.

Causal Factors

  1. The actual drug in itself

Suggested Courses of Treatment

  1. Abstinence
  2. Prohibition

Treatment Specialists

  1. Abstainers
  2. Legislators

Disease Model

After the successful repeal of Prohibition in the United States, a new viewpoint from which to view AODA was needed. In 1935, the same year Alcoholics Anonymous was founded by Bill W. and Dr. Bob, the American Disease perspective was developed primarily from the assertion that AODA is a unique, irreversible, and progressive disease. The belief of those who support this model is that while alcoholism and addiction cannot be cured, however, such conditions can be arrested by abstaining from the substance the individual is addicted to.

Causal Factors

  1. Abnormal traits inherent in the individual
  2. Constitutional disease or disorder

Suggested Courses of Treatment

  1. Identification and confrontation of the condition
  2. Lifelong abstinence

Treatment Specialists

  1. Other Recovering Individuals
  2. Peer Support Groups (Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous)

Psychological or Characterological Model

The characterological approach to AODA views chemical dependency as rooted in abnormalities of personality or character. The proponents of this model follow that an "addictive personality" exists in such individuals and is inherent with a degree of deficit in personal and psychological boundaries. Traits associated with the "addictive personality" are poor impulse control; low self-esteem; an inability to cope with stressors; egocentricity; manipulative traits; and a need for control and power, while feeling impotent and powerless. The belief in treating AODA from this viewpoint is that a complete restructuring of the individuals personality is key.

Causal Factors

  1. Personality or disposition ("addictive personality")
  2. Low Self-Esteem
  3. Poor Impulse Control

Suggested Courses of Treatment

  1. Psychotherapy
  2. Identification and modification of self-esteem, interpersonal skills, impulse control, improved boundary setting

Treatment Specialists

  1. Psychotherapists
  2. Social Workers with training in advanced practice

*Social Education Model

The Social Education Model represents an integrative approach that borrows principles from the school of classical and operant conditioning, wherein AODA is seen as a learned behavior stemming from cognitive processes, modeling influences and behavioral as well as genetic influences. Although, not all proponents of this model agree wholeheartedly, a cohesive philosophy retains that AODA is maintained by precursory causes (classical conditioning or expectancies) and further reinforcement of that behavior through operant conditioning ("I do A-action and get B-effect, B-effect reduces stressors, therefore A-action reduces stressors").

Unlike aversive conditioning and some earlier models related to the Social Education Model, the Social Education theorists extend their thinking to place an emphasis on human-environment interactions as key to shaping AODA behaviors. They stress, in particular, socialization processes, imitation of observable behavior, as well as the influence of modeling (role models) in both the forming of an AODA behavior, but also in the successful treatment thereof.

Causal Factors

  1. Poor Socialization
  2. Poor Modeling
  3. Poor Coping Mechanisms and Skill Deficits

Suggested Courses of Treatment

  1. Correct estimation and realistic goal setting
  2. Appropriate Modeling
  3. Cognitive Exercises and Reconditioning
  4. Skill Training
  5. Impulse-Control Training

Treatment Specialists

  1. Appropriate peer modeling
  2. Cognitive / Behavioral counseling

Summary

While most contemporary addiction professionals and treatment centers do not fit precisely with any one of the above models, each can be termed as such, by talking about their general philosophy and your background. Determining which modality of treatment is best is best left to the family and the individual needing treatment. Narconon has qualified addictions counselors who can help you decide what is best for you or your loved ones, and offer referrals to many centers across the country, as well as helping to determine if Narconon might be the best option for you.

For a free online consultation, click here. If you would like to talk to one of our admissions counselors live on the phone, call us toll free at 800-874-3197.

* Narconon's philosophy of AODA care fits into the Social Education Modality, is a non-profit 501(3)c corporation and has been offering long-term treatment to chemically dependent persons for over a decade.