The disease concept model of addiction centres on the idea that alcohol and drug dependence is an illness that has an underlying pathology that cannot be attributed solely to environmental factors. By defining it as a disease, it is held to be a condition that, if left untreated will progressively deteriorate.
Recognising alcoholism and other drug addiction as an illness implies several things:
- The illness can be described.
- The course of the illness is predictable and progressive.
- The disease is primary – that is, it is not just a symptom of some other underlying disorder.
- It is permanent.
- It is terminal. If left untreated, it results in insanity or premature death.
The Disease Concept
Addiction is treatable but it is crucial that addicts consult with a medical practitioner that understands addiction and withdrawal. Substance addiction is a disease that not only destroys the person, but everyone around them as well.
Addiction is a disease concept, not just a state of mind.