The Disease Model of Addiction

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Frequently asked questions

What are Some of the Behavioral Models of Addiction?

  • Moral Model. 
  • The Disease Model.
  • Socio-Cultural Model.
  • Psycho-Dynamic Model.

What is the disease theoretical model of addiction?

The disease theory of addiction identifies drug-seeking behaviour as compulsive rather than a conscious choice due to chemical changes in the brain that happen with regular substance abuse. This model compares addiction to other medical diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Is drug addiction a brain disorder?

Addiction is a chronic brain disease that's more about the neurology of the brain than the outward manifestations of behavioural problems and poor choices, according to the disease model of addiction.

How does addiction affect the brain?

The brain receptors of an addicted person get overloaded. When noise becomes excessively loud, the brain responds by creating less dopamine or deleting dopamine receptors, which is similar to dialling down the volume on a loudspeaker.

How does the disease model work?

Addiction is a brain disorder, according to the disease model. It is defined by changes in brain structure and function. When people with this condition are exposed to certain substances or activities, their brain anomalies cause them to become addicted to them.

What are the problems with the disease model?

Critics of the disease model, particularly those who subscribe to the life-process model of addiction argue that labelling people as addicts keeps them from developing self-control and stigmatises them.

How do addictive substances affect our genes?

Addictive substances cause adaptive changes in gene expression in reward regions of the brain, including the striatum, implying a mechanism for tolerance and habit building, as well as seeking and negative effects that last long after use. Relapse is characterised by these neuroadaptive alterations.  

What is the role of the environment in addiction?

Environment, which is defined as family beliefs and attitudes, peer group, community, is also believed to affect and influence addiction because these are typically the factors that lead an individual to try drugs or alcohol initially.
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