November 24, 2006, Newsletter Issue #107: Medical Model

Tip of the Week

The medical model of addictions takes the view that addictions are a disease of the brain. This model has been in use for several decades and has its critics, but when it first became popular it was a revelation to alcoholics and other addicts who had been told for centuries that they had a moral failing.

Most treatment today is based primarily on the medical model, and focuses first on getting the patient detoxed, then on building the foundation for an abstinent life through therapy, support groups, and sometimes medication. Thus, a California alcohol rehab center based on this model would have doctors and medical staff as well as therapists.

The medical model is also the driving force behind research into new medications and drug treatment centers, with the goal of improving the rates of abstinence and reducing social harms.

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