The disease model has become a common methodology which has been adopted by the National Institute on Drug abuse (NIDA). This agency is funded by the U.S. government to the tune of billions of dollars, and in my opinion is a complete waste of taxpayer’s money! If you visit the (NIDA) you will find countless CT Scans and cross sections of human brains displaying the chemical effects of drug addiction. Now, I am not disputing the fact that drugs, alcohol, nicotine and other substances are psychoactive in nature and do alter the brain, however, that’s not what caused the addiction in the first place! Furthermore, there is not one shred of clinical evidence to prove it!
Let’s examine the disease theory by beginning with the definition of disease!
Disease – a condition in humans, plants, or animals that results in pathological symptoms and is not the direct result of physical injury.
Now let’s break disease down to three models that are recognized by the medical establishment and society:
1. Physical Disorders
This model is generally comprised of illnesses and afflictions that can be pathological diagnosed and treated such as bacterial and viral infections, cancers, or any malady creating a physically adverse change in the body.
2. Mental Illness
This model is comprised of varying degrees of mental disorders ranging from psychotic disorders, anxiety disorders, adjustment disorders, and factitious disorders. If you examine these disorders you will find that none of the can be pathological diagnosed. Diagnosis is purely a matter of opinion based on the behavior of the patient.
Addiction is unlike a physical disorder such as cancer, and is also unlike a mental disorder such as schizophrenia since the first is pathological diagnosed and the second is diagnosed by disordered thinking. The addiction model strays furthest from the original definition of disease because addictions are known purely by the behaviors they describe! One cannot tell if a person is addicted in the absence of habitual behavior, so when a person that has been labeled as an alcoholic hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol in 5 years why are they still an alcoholic! Plain and simple, addiction does not fit the description of a disease, nor should it be listed in this category!
Unfortunately, most psychologists, psychiatrists, interventionists, drug and alcohol abuse counselors, and specialists still believe that addiction is a disease, and an incurable one at that! They believe that there is no cure and there is no such thing as completely overcoming addiction. However, I have a different take on addiction, and I have proven time and time again that addiction is not a disease! And, I believe that treating it as such is not only counterproductive to recovery, but it prevents people from getting help with addiction. Think about it for a moment. If someone is given the grim prognosis that they have an incurable brain disease, what motivation do they have to find the courage to stop their behavior?
In my opinion, treating addiction as a disease has not only exacerbated this health crisis, but it has in turn fostered another disease, which I like to call “wounditis!” I have proven time and time again that addiction is a psychological and emotional issue that is rooted in a low self-esteem, so accepting this disease prognosis only worsens the situation. This problem is further exacerbated by support groups and 12-step groups that teach people they are powerless and helpless over their addiction! Quite the contrary, you have all the power in the world to stop your habitual behavior. So, what exactly is “wounditis?” Well, it’s no secret that most people feel an incredible amount of shame and guilt for their behavior. Without question, partaking in habitual behavior not only causes you pain but, it inflicts pain on the people around you as well. However, do not allow what you have done in the past, to cause you to wallow in your own misfortune and to seek comfort from others who share your plight. The past is the past, it is over, and living in it does not serve anyone well. Live in the present moment, be kind to yourself, and learn to love yourself. How can you love someone else if you don’t love yourself? The answer is you can’t!!! It isn’t a big secret that you’re feeling shame and guilt for what you’ve done. In fact, you’re probably questioning right now as to whether you should be punished for your past actions. Well guess what, its ok! God doesn’t punish people, we punish ourselves. God is a loving and forgiving being. So if you thought that you would continue to punish yourself with shame and guilt before God gets a hold of you, you can stop right now! We do not have defects of character, are not full of shortcomings, and we certainly are not powerless! On the Contrary, we are all the same, we are all connected, and we all have the same power to change!
Consequently, addiction is not the disease that the medical community has deemed it to be. In fact, it is not a disease at all! Addiction is a choice, or what many view as a solution to temporarily remove their underlying emotional pain! Someone that is suffering from addiction merely has a co-dependency to a substance or compulsion in response to removing their emotional pain. This temporary solution quickly becomes a trap because the body and mind adapt requiring more and more of the addictive behavior or substance to remove the pain! However, if you understand why you made this choice in the first place, you can make another by choosing a better solution that will remove the pain, permanently! Yes, there is a better solution! One that you can work through in the privacy of your home, and one that will give you what you truly desire, happiness!
The Addiction Freedom Coach