Common Criticisms of the Disease Model of Addiction The disease model of addiction has received numerous criticisms despite its contribution to understanding addiction. Over the past, the National Institute on Drug Abuse classified addiction as a relapsing brain disease which results from repeated abuse of drugs and substances (Volkow, 2007). However, the declaration has been criticised by social scientists who argue that the proclamation does not take into account the social context and individual values (Hammer, et al., 2013). Proponents of the disease model of addiction often argue that biological view debunks the moralised argument that addiction is associated with people who are weak-willed (Buchman, Skinner & Illes, 2010). Opponents of the model, on the other hand, argue that biological understanding removes the burden of personal obligation and moral culpability and as a result, patients will use their condition as an excuse (Dinge et al., 2012). However, research by Hammer et al. (2013) established that many patients believe that the disease model is useful in the treatment of addiction. The patients interviewed believed that a disease diagnosis alters moral judgment but also supported the idea that sick people also have a responsibility in managing their condition and seek intervention (Hammer et al., 2013). Other scholars have argued that considering addiction as a disease is mainly supported by those who are recovering since it creates the notion that allows an individual to own and also disown the deviant actions that they committed while addicted (Reinarman, 2005).
BRAIN DISEASE MODEL OF ADDITION 6 Another criticism is raised by Acker (2010) who argues that a disease model should provide a scientific lustre, implying that it should provide a clear explanation of the natural world, it should also provide diagnostic robustness, basis for developing new treatments and also provide a platform under which the disease prevalence and incidence can be brought under control. Based on the criteria established by Acker (2010), the current disease model has a scientific lustre and also lays the basis for finding new treatments. However, according to Hammer et al. (2013), it does not have epidemiologic utility and diagnostic robustness. While addiction can be considered as a brain disease with a molecular framework, its lack of molecular diagnosis has raised many criticisms from scientists and other opponents. Addiction is currently classified by the DSM as substance dependence based on psychological and behavioural symptomology that occur within a one-year time frame (Hammer et al., 2013). As a psychological and behavioural disorder, diagnosis of addiction primarily depends on the patient interview response to determine quit attempts, tolerance, preoccupation with the substance, intake, and persistent use regardless of the disrupted lifestyle and harmful impact (Hammer et al., 2013).
- Summer '18
- Brett Gordon
- Psychology, Disease model of addiction