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Addiction Models Essay

Alexander Dolin

Liberty University
SUBS 505

Dr. Eric Scalise


Addiction Models Essay

The textbook offers three models of addiction: the medical (or disease) model, the psychosocial model and an integration of the two called the Final Common Pathway model. First, the Medical model for substance use disorder supposes that substance use is not a moral failing, but a disease. As a disease, substance use is instead, a biological or genetic dysfunction (Doweiko, 2012, pg. 333). An advantage of the medical model is that it lays the foundation for further research, especially in regarding intergenerational research (Jenkens Jenkins, 2011a). The major disadvantage is that the model almost altogether ignores other (non-biological) factors that may be contributing to the substance use, like social support, peer pressure and environmental factors (Jenkens Jenkins, 2011a).

The second model is the psychosocial model. This model suggests that substance use is a learned behavior (Doweiko, 2012, pg. 345-46). The greater focus of this model is larger on social forces and factors (like peer pressure, social policies, availability, etc.). One advantage of the model is that it deals pragmatically with cognitive and social aspects of addiction, as well as behavioral aspects (Jenkens Jenkins, 2011a). The major disadvantage to this model is that these social forces and factors are very difficult to measure (Jenkens Jenkins, 2011a). This model also almost entirely ignores the biological factors (Jenkens Jenkins, 2011a).

Addiction should be understood as a convergence of several factors. The third theory, the Final Common Pathway (FCP) model puts it all together. The FCP model theorizes that there is not merely one pathway to addiction, but rather, many (Doweiko, 2012, pg. 351). Therefore, every individual client is unique. The FCP model recognizes that there may be multiple pathways to both addiction and to recovery (Jenkens Jenkins, 2011a). One limitation to this FCP model is that is very broad. It attempts to be all-encompassing, although in doing so, it is easy to lose focus. This can make narrowing down the key contributing factor difficult (Jenkens Jenkins, 2011a). It can be easy to get side-tracked sidetracked dealing with issues that are not directly related to the addiction at all. Yet, this 'problem' of comprehensiveness could be useful, leading to holistic care and treatment.

Comprehensive and holistic care is something the world is looking for. Just as there are many pathways to addiction, there are many pathways to recovery, as Jenkens Jenkins (2011) pointed out. This means that for some individuals, a spiritual pathway for recovery could be very effective and appropriate. Unfortunately, the Western Cculture has lost touch with the spiritual aspect of life in this modern age. The spiritual aspect of a pharmacological treatment is often completely ignored. Science has been set on dividing faith from reason in the past 50 years (Doweiko, 2012, pg. 354). An entire generation has grown up ignoring all the traditions that thousands of generations before spent their lives developing. These traditions were important because values were drawn out of these spiritual traditions values. With these values, answers were given to the questions of, "Who are we?" and "Why are we here?" Instead, these values and traditions have been replaced by modern reductionism which suggests that the mind is merely a by-product byproduct of the brain's neural activities and nothing more. This approach leaves out a lot. It leaves people still wondering, "Who am I?" and "Why am I here?" Knowing our purpose is lost along with spirituality in this science-driven approach (Doweiko, 2012, pg. 354-355).

Spirituality does not fit in the modern scientist's research box. Spirituality is unique for each individual. It does not allow for exact replication, at least not in a way that is accurately measured and studied. It requires a personal faith. Faith also cannot be evaluated or measured. The modern scientists believes that anything that cannot be measured or replicated must not exist. So there is a spiritual void in culture (Doweiko, 2012, pg. 355). This void leaves many looking for purpose in life. Without having a true purpose in life, an individual may choice choose to find purpose in something simple as "seeking pleasure." In order to find a thrill or pleasure, an individual may experiment with substances. For another individual, basic survival is the purpose in life. However, life on earth comes with challenges and pains. In order, to find relief and cope from the difficulties in life, an individual could use substances to merely "get by" or "feel better." In both cases, this person is still missing the spiritual element to his or her life.

Research suggests that looking at addictions with a comprehensive model, like this Final Common Pathway mModel, is a good starting point. The research also shows that holding to a spiritual belief system also helps. Protective factors against substance abuse and addiction include religiosity, good family relationships, self-control and higher eco-social status (DiClemente, C., C. 2003, p. 68).

A Christian worldview seems to support an integrated model for dealing with substance abuse. There is room for disagreement among Christians over use of substances that can become addictive and even how much substance use is appropriate. The Bible does shows that Jesus not only, drank wine hHimself, but hHe turned water at a wedding into the finest wine for the masses guests to drink (John 2:1-11). In a letter to the church in Ephesus, the Apostle Paul warns them not to get drunk on wine but instead to be filled with the Spirit (Eph. 5:18). This does not mean that they are prohibited from drinking, but rather it realizes the importance of moderation.

I find hope in the numbers of related to addictions in America. The number of people considered heavy drinkers in America this country is actually quite low. About 35% of Americans don't not drink at all. Of the 65% that do, 73% of them never drink enough to be heavy drinkers. A Typically, a heavy drinker is a male who drinks 14 drinks in a week or drinks 4 four in one setting. A heavy female drinker is a female who drinks 7 seven in a week or 3 three in one setting. This comes down to only about 6.7% of population (Jenkens Jenkins, 2011b).

I also found hope in the "perceptions of risk." A simple way to prevent substance abuse and addiction is to simply educate and inform people of the risk! Use goes down when it is perceived to be dangerous. (And it is really dangerous. Cocaine users are ten more times likely to die from drug use than marijuana users - Hart and & Ksir, 2011, pg. 30. ) It is easy to make fun of the "just say no" campaigns, but when they are done properly and kids see the reality of the risks of drugs, they use less (Hart and & Ksir, 2011, pg. 10).


DiClemente, C., C. (2003). Addictions and change: How addictions develop and how addicts recover. New York, NY: Guilford Press.

Doweiko, H. (2012). Concepts of chemical dependency. (8th ed.). La Crosse, WI: Brooks/Cole and Cengage Learning.

Hart, C., & Ksir, C. (2011). Drugs, society and human behavior (14th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw Hill.

Jenkens Jenkins, D. (2011a).  Models of addiction. COUN 711Class. Notes taken 3/27/13.

Jenkens Jenkins, D. (2011b).  The extent of the challenge and the call. COUN 711Class. Notes taken 3/20/13.

Alex – you make some very good points in your discussion of various models of addiction, as well as the spiritual components. There are still some grammatical and formatting things to note and correct, but this is an improvement from your first Essay. Overall, a nice job.

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Total Score: 47.5

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