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Models of Addiction and Current Treatment

 Models of Addiction and Current Treatment

Addiction occurs when people are dependent on drugs and other substances despite their negative effects on the individual. The addict's body becomes tolerant over time to the substance, with withdrawal episodes from time to time. Besides, the person has little or no control over his will. Addiction is an illness affecting both the brain and behavior (West, 2013). The knowledge that addiction is a disease enables scientists to develop effective prevention as well as treatment models. There exist numerous models in the treatment of addiction. This paper will focus on the 12-Step-Model/Disease model of addiction in treating of alcoholism and identify how the approach supports current treatment alternatives. A peer review article describing the model is put into perspective, to gain more understanding of the approach.


Overview of the model

The 12-Step Model is a broad, multidisciplinary methodology in the treatment of addictions. Its key concepts include abstinence and anonymous alcoholic principles. Some of the essential elements that the model considers in its treatment include group therapy, talks, having recuperating persons as counselors, multidisciplinary personnel, therapeutic environment and work assignments. Others include family counseling, as well as the application of a 12-step program and regular daily readings. It is important to note that these elements are combined into an organized daily routine. The alcoholic anonymous groups offer the backbone of the rehabilitation phase of the alcoholics (Guthmann, 2012).

The Strengths of the model in treating alcoholism

The author agrees that the approach is by far the most popular treatment model in the U.S, focusing on chemical addiction as the chief problem. The fact that it is neither blaming nor castigatory gives the treatment an appropriate response. Many alcoholics would embrace it in their journey to seek redemption from their problems.

Alcoholism is a progressive illness, having numerous stages, with the final step manifesting in the liver as well as the nervous breakdown. As such, this stage needs medical observation of the withdrawal symptoms, which result when one tries to keep off alcohol. Nonetheless, recent studies establish that not many alcoholics come to this stage (Guthmann, 2012).

In utilizing this model, the alcoholics go through the process of understanding alcoholism and the nature of its complications. An emphasis is made on the importance of relying on high power or purpose rather than mere willpower. According to the author, alcoholism is a disease; hence, treatment options include accepting powerlessness over alcohol and recommends embracing the norms and values of a better social affiliation; the Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) groups. Individuals in these groups stand the chance to benefit from others' experiences as well as spiritual orientation.

How the model supports current treatment approaches

Some of the current approaches of treatment in this model include the inpatient detoxification as well as rehabilitation services provided by hospital-based medical programs. Others include day/evening outpatient services spread over a long duration of time to suit the individual patient’s needs. It is clear that the model does not just support therapeutic programs. Other programs intended to build the participants include attending to the physical and health needs of the clients. The model recognizes the need to address other health problems of the addicts since most of them normally come to the therapy having neglected their physical and health care. Therefore, a routine symptomatic medical treatment is extended to the clients to address malnutrition, liver problems, and other care concerns.

Evolution of the model towards a solution-based approach

The model recognizes that the fundamental organizing concept guiding addiction treatment is shifting from long-standing pathology and management guidelines towards a solution-based recovery construct. The medical model appreciates this by extending the current acute care of withdrawal symptoms of alcohol addiction to a model of continuous recovery management. Effective linkage processes between the treatment of addiction and recovery mutual aid societies, widening the access to new methods of peer-based recovery support mechanisms. There is an overgrowing interest in the aftercare support services to ensure that once an alcoholic can control himself, there are low incidences of relapses (White, Kelly, & Roth, 2012).

The 12-step programs emphasize treatment activities, which include the twelve step meetings within the society and taking part in physiotherapy groups covering topics such as working through the steps and how to write an autobiography. The desired results in this activity are to make the alcoholics come to the point of accepting themselves with the alcoholic identity, admitting the loss of control and sticking to abstinence as a means of treatment.


Another important component of the model's treatment plan is the elaborate aftercare strategy aiming to maintain ongoing recovery even after the completion of the treatment. Specifically, the aftercare plan comprises of having a safe place, sober living surroundings, attending AA meetings as well as counseling sessions. Failure to have these mechanisms would jeopardize the progress made while in the treatment program. A holistic approach to care is thus maintained through continued support of the alcoholics in the society.

In conclusion, the 12-step approach is well equipped in addressing the real problems of addicts. The systematic approach in the model helps the alcoholics in identifying their problems and giving them the purpose of a better life. Continuing the program long after the treatment is over enables the addicts to get back on track and reduce cases of relapse.

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