Throughout history, we’ve understood addiction in many ways that are fundamentally different. For a long time, the perception of addiction as a moral failing was uncontested. However, the scientific literature universally refutes this concept and many new ideas have replaced it. Modern behavioral models of addiction provide great insight into what drives addiction and how we can treat it more successfully.
What is a Behavioral Model of Addiction?
When it comes to the basic idea of what drives addiction, you have a theory. For instance, some theorize that the primary driving factor behind addiction is avoiding the severe discomfort of withdrawals. Others hypothesize that addiction is a purely medical phenomenon and that the reason some become addicted to a substance while others don’t is a matter of genetics and exposure.
Once a theory has more work behind it and can offer fuller, richer explanations for addictive behavior, it grows into a behavioral model of addiction.
While the moral model of addiction is outdated, many still uphold it and it features in many rehab clinics around America and the world. The basic foundation of this model is that addiction is a matter of moral weakness and that the cure to addiction is responsibility. Of course, no rigorous studies back up this idea and it’s essentially a relic.
Addiction is inarguably a disease, and the disease behavioral model of addiction elevates the elements of addiction that make it such. However, viewing addiction as nothing more than a disease is often problematic for understanding what drives people to addiction and how they can get better.
The only antidote to addiction that the disease model has to offer is abstinence, which doesn’t incorporate many of the effective, therapeutic treatments that are increasingly popular today.
The sociocultural model of addiction takes a big-picture approach to the problem of addiction and identifies underlying, systemic causes of addiction. Discrimination, lack of opportunity, poor quality of life, and similar problems that are common in marginalized communities consistently explain the occurrence of drug addiction. Under this model, the idea is to treat addiction by tackling housing and economic inequality.
While further research may indicate that this theory is fundamentally correct, it’s not so applicable to individual rehabilitation.
The Psycho-dynamic model of addiction looks into our traumas and mental illnesses as a cause of addiction. As such, it looks to therapy to understand and address the root of why addiction happens. Statistics on addiction bear this out, as childhood trauma and mental illness put someone at a much greater risk of drug addiction.
Learn More About Addiction
All of the modern models of addiction that replaced the moral model have gaps, but they each serve to explain a part of addiction. By applying these behavioral models, Hickory Treatment Centers is better able to understand and treat addiction. Follow our blog to learn more about addiction and keep up on recent news.