Alcoholism and the Disease Model

Greetings! I found a video that explains the science of addiction perfectly, and with a little humor.  I majored in Psychology which required that I take the course, Drugs and the Nervous System.  My professor did a great job explaining how the body processes substances and would end every class with a little tidbit about Sigmund Freud’s cocaine addiction.  One thing bothered me.  Professor believed addiction is not a “disease” and explain his disbelief in the disease model. Honestly, his words surprised me as it was not my decision to seek oblivion.  Yes, I decided to take that first drink in high school and was unaware of the biology of addiction.  I simply wanted to have fun with my friends, many of whom are not alcoholics today.

The Disease Model looks more at the medical aspect of addiction. This model believes that individuals do not have control over the number of substances they put into their bodies.   The Disease Model believes addiction is incurable but treatable.  Furthermore, addiction can be controlled with proper assistance and abstinence.

My body reacts differently to alcohol compared to a number of relatives.  Mom, Dad, siblings, and most of my extended relatives are not addicted to alcohol, for instance.  The professor’s criticism of the Disease Model felt personal, somehow. In June 2000, I checked in to a treatment center to “dry out”.   I finally understood the medical explanation.

For a female to drink excessively, the stigma can be brutal.  There were moments when “friends” would call me a drunk, lush, or alcoholic.  Those were the days, insert sarcasm.  Since June 19, 2000, my life changed for the better.  I was no longer physically addicted to alcohol.  Incredibly grateful for the formal and informal supports:  treatment, sober living home, recovery support groups, and therapies.

Feel free to watch this video that talks about the science of addiction.  It’s a good one!