How to Become a Rehab Therapist

How to Become a Rehab Therapist

Rehab therapists or counselors are people who help people with disabilities to live full and independent lives. Rehab therapists also help those people to accomplish their personal goals. Whether clients hope to return to a much-loved job or move into an apartment, rehab therapists help them acquire the skills and strategies they need to succeed. Rehab therapists also play an important role in raising public awareness about disability issues and achieving social justice for this undeserved population of people.

Rehab therapists quite commonly work with a wide range of people including:

  • People with a mobility impairment
  • People with a mental illness
  • People with traumatic brain injury
  • People with chronic disease
  • People with addiction and substance abuse
  • People with impairment such as blindness and deafness
  • People with language and communication disorders

Rehab therapists understand the social, emotional, and occupational barriers their clients face. To help people with disabilities especially those with addiction and substance abuse, rehab therapists need to explore what they need and prefer. In many cases those people with addiction and substance abuse need sobriety and ways to stay sober. Once that goal is identified, rehab therapists, work together with their client to develop necessary strategies of staying sober. This might involve role-playing, learning new coping skills, job modification and so much more. As needed the counselor connects the client with helpful organizations and community resources such as 12 step programs or outpatient programs. Rehab therapists also will work with employers to help them accommodate to on the job needs of people with disabilities.

So how do you become a rehab therapist?

  • Most vocational rehabilitation counselor jobs require a master’s degree in vocational counseling, rehabilitation counseling, or counseling psychology. A bachelor’s degree in social services, counseling, or psychology is a good foundation for this career choice. Graduate coursework leading to a master’s degree in rehabilitative counseling can typically be completed in two years. Courses will include disability studies, the theory and practice of counseling, psychology, rehabilitation, case management, and educational and community services. Before enrolling, students should check to see if the university or online program is accredited by the Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE). A degree from a CORE-accredited program opens up more career options.
  • After completing their coursework, vocational rehabilitation counselors put in at least 600 hours of clinical training with a qualified rehabilitation counselor. Many schools help to arrange an internship or counseling job for their students.
  • Counselors can find employment without having a professional credential, but will broaden their opportunities by obtaining a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) or Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) credential. Most state and federal rehabilitation programs will only hire CRC counselors, as will be the case with other select programs.
  • Another option is to be certified as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). This involves qualifying to take a state licensing exam (usually a master’s degree and a specified number of hours of supervised clinical experience) and passing it. Be sure to check licensing regulations for counselors in the state you plan to work as they vary greatly from state to state.
  • Good communication and problem-solving skills are required in order to work in counseling jobs, as well as empathy and the desire to help people fulfill their goals. Counselors must also have good listening skills, compassion, and patience while working with clients.

Negative People in Recovery

Negative People in Recovery

We all know those people who only have bad things to say. Who like to gossip about other people and seem to take delight in others’ struggles – those negative people in recovery. Or maybe you are the negative one among your group of friends and acquaintances. Just because someone has stopped abusing drugs and alcohol does not mean that they are now mentally healthy. There will always be negative people in recovery and it’s important to identify them if you want to be successful in your recovery.

Addiction and Negativity

People who abuse or have abused alcohol and other drugs often have an extremely negative mental attitude. Often times, we get caught up in the grip of addiction because of the negative experiences we have had in the past. As addiction takes root, we begin to feel a lot of shame and guilt about using drugs and alcohol thereby feeding our negative attitudes. Addicts then become trapped in a negative mindset and that way can continue to justify their drug using behaviors: by only seeing the bad things in life, they can then use these as excuses to abuse alcohol and drugs.

Dangers of Negative People to Those in Recovery

Once you get clean and sober, it is not only important to shift from being a negative person but to also identify and avoid negative people in recovery. This is because humans are social beings and therefore we have a significant impact on each other. The people you surround yourself with will definitely influence your success, or lack thereof, in sobriety.

Characteristics of Negative People in Recovery

Once you are aware of what we mean as being negative, it is important to be aware of negative people in recovery so that you can not only be successful at sobriety but also have an overall better quality of life. Now that you are clean and sober, you deserve to be happy and have a more peaceful life. Negative people in recovery can keep you from having this.

 Negative people in recovery tend to share the following characteristics:

  • They are pessimistic, in general, and especially about the future – “the glass is always half empty;” they expect bad things to happen to them
  • They don’t other people; always think others have an ulterior motive even when being extended help
  • They seem to lose friends easily; almost always have somebody in their life who they aren’t talking to
  • They blame other people for all the bad things that happen to them
  • They constantly criticize others and the world, in general
  • They tend to be passive aggressive or even openly aggressive
  • They blow things out of proportions (always have some kind of drama)
  • They enjoy hearing about other people’s misfortunes, such as when someone relapses
  • Negative people in recovery tend to be completely self-centered
  • They are easily offended yet are oblivious to the fact that they often offend or hurt other people

Resentments and Relapse

You may have heard this one quite a bit: holding on to resentments will take you back out (into active addiction). There is a lot of truth to those words of caution. It is important to let go of resentments in order to heal and be successful at sobriety. Negative people in recovery, although they may be sober for the time being, are like a ticking time bomb. They might be off the drugs and alcohol but they are emotionally unwell. They hold onto anger and resentment towards the people that they feel have wronged them. Negative people in recovery are bitter about their past experiences and are not willing to let go and forgive. They get hung up on focusing on other people’s faults and shortcomings but are unwilling to look at their own. And, even if they pass themselves off as being your friend, negative people in recovery resent the success of other people and this includes you. You need to have true and positive friends in your corner if you are serious about your success at recovery.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.mentalblox.com/

http://www.helpguide.org/

 

Relapse Prevention Techniques

Relapse Prevention Techniques

Many individuals who make it into recovery will relapse at least once within the first few months. This is why in many treatment centers there is so much emphasis put on providing relapse prevention techniques to those who are new in recovery and those who have also relapsed already. Returning to addiction can mean many more years of additional suffering for the addict. And some people who relapse will never have another opportunity to quit and could even die due to their drug use. This is why focusing of relapse prevention techniques is so helpful; it literally can reduce the risk of relapse and death.

Relapse prevention techniques include any tool that an addict can use to avoid a return back into drug use and drinking. The causes of relapse are usually broken down into three categories. Relapse prevention techniques have been developed to combat all of them. The three categories of relapse usually are:

  • Emotional causes: This is when the addict usually goes back to using drugs because they can’t cope with their thoughts and emotions.
  • Developing unhealthy patterns of behavior, and this makes them more prone to relapse.
  • External situation can also increase the chance of a relapse. Perfect example of this would be an individual who has halfway house roommates that are all using drugs and drinking.

Another part of relapse prevention techniques is identifying different triggers which can be precursors for relapse. By identifying relapse triggers a person can find different coping mechanisms they can use to combat them all. Here are some examples of relapse triggers:

  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling happy
  • Looking at veins
  • Going to football games
  • Driving down certain streets
  • The car or wherever the individual used
  • Certain T.V shows and music

Recognizing also what precedes the relapse is also an important relapse prevention technique. These things are kind of behaviors, thoughts or ideas an addict would have before they relapsed and there is usually a pattern with these:

  • The individual can experience overconfidence . This can mean that they are not prepared when things get hard.
  • Life in recovery can take a bit of getting used and some people may experience periods of self-pity. This is a dangerous emotion because it can sap motivation.
  • Those people who have unrealistic expectations can become disappointed.
  • If the individual_ behaves dishonestly_, it can lead them right back to addiction.
  • Occasionally, people in recovery will experience periods of depression. This can take a lot of the satisfaction out of sobriety.
  • Those who continue other types of substance abuse will be increasing their chances of relapse.
  • Taking recovery for granted leads to complacency. This then means that the individual is no longer doing those things they need to do in order to remain sober.

Also knowing the different stages of a relapse because a relapse is not merely the use of drugs and alcohol again it is also everything leading up to, is another great relapse prevention technique. Here are the stages of a relapse:

  • During the emotional stage the individual will be struggling with recovery, but not actually thinking about a return to substance abuse. The most appropriate relapse prevention tools here would be those that can restore emotional equilibrium.
  • During the mental stage of relapse, the person is thinking about drinking or using drugs again. The urge to return to addiction can be strong. Various techniques are needed to combat this before it is too late.
  • All is not lost at the relapse stage. If the individual has the right resources, they may be able to return to the recovery path right away.

How to Become a Sober Companion

How to Become a Sober Companion

Sober companions are probably best known by their work with celebrities as almost “glorified babysitters” but of course there is much more to it than that. Also, not all sober companions are watch dogs for celebrities. Sober companions work with slews of addicts and alcoholics sometimes 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to help them remain abstinent.

What is a sober companion?

A sober companion or sober coach provides one-on-one assistance to newly recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. The goal is to help the client maintain total abstinence from alcohol and drugs, and to establish healthy routines outside of a residential treatment facility. Controversy exists between sober companions, not only in their name (sober companion vs. sober coach vs. recovery coach), but over the use of any situation placing them in contact with other enablers. Also, some sober companions strongly agree with 12 step programs; other sober companions do not support the 12 step process and use alternative methods.

So how can you become a sober companion if you want to be one?

In keeping with several other forms of drug rehabilitation, some sober companions have no formal training or qualification. Most (but not all) companions are recovering addicts who have themselves been able to maintain multiple years of sobriety. While some companions will have some training in psychology, sociology, or medicine, in addition to a strong personal program of recovery, some may have taken the Recovery Coaching certifications offered by Recovery Coaching International (recoverycoaches.org) or the very inexpensive (sometimes free) training offered by the Connecticut Center for Addiction Recovery (CCAR.org) training in a model for peer recovery support specialist roles and responsibilities. A few independent providers, such as Sober Champion require literature study and in-person training by an experienced professional.

There are growing recovery associations (Sober.com, crossroadscoaching.com, RCI.org, ICF.org, OASAS.org) and boards established to set standards or monitor the state of the field recovery coaching, that overlap some of the roles of a sober companion. There is no formal sober companion oversight and accountability as yet. Since early in 2011, Faces and Voices in Recovery has been working on developing standards, credentialing and more clearly defined roles of a recovery coach, peer support specialist, and a sober companion. One can see why there is a concern according to the California Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, as it is a process that is just underway.

The Sociotherapy Association certifies and trains Support Companions, Recovery/Sober Companions, Elderly Companions, and Adolescent Companions. The Sociotherapy Association in America created the Support Companions program to offer real support and relationship to those in need.

If you really want to be a sober companion the best place to start is with someone who already is. So go out and find people who are already doing what you want to do. If you can’t find anyone who is a sober companion go ahead and get on your computer. You can be sure to find ways to become a sober companion online.

The Most Addictive Drugs

 The Most Addictive Drugs

A team of researchers led by Professor David Nutt of London’s Imperial College recently set out to determine which drugs were most harmful based on their addictive properties. Dutch scientists replicated the London study and devised a “dependency rating” that measured addictive potency of the biggest drugs out there on a precisely calibrated scale of 0-to-3 to see how the most addictive drugs rank.

#10 GHB: 1.71 Dependence Rating

Last on the list is a depressant and club drug that may itself be a neurotransmitter. It has cross-tolerance with alcohol—if you drink regularly, you’ll need to ingest more GHB to get high—as well as a short half-life in the body and a brutal withdrawal syndrome that causes insomnia, anxiety, dizziness and vomiting. The combination is nasty: Take a lot of GHB to make up for your tolerance to alcohol and you could be hooked.

#9 Benzodiazepines: 1.89 Dependence Rating

There’s a reason your doctor will tell you to taper off these prescription anti-anxiety drugs (Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, et al) after taking them for a while. Each one increases the effectiveness of a brain chemical called GABA, which reduces the excitability of many other neurons and decreases anxiety. Because benzodiazepines cause rapid tolerance, quitting cold turkey causes a multi-symptom withdrawal that includes irritability, anxiety and panic attacks—enough to make just about anybody fall right back into benzo’s comforting arms.

#8 Amphetamines: 1.95 Dependence Rating

Adderall users beware: Regular amphetamine including Adderall and Dexedrine might not be quite as addictive as meth, but because it acts on the same reward circuit, it still causes rapid tolerance and desire for more if used regularly or in high doses. Quitting cold turkey can cause severe depression and anxiety, as well as extreme fatigue—and you can guess what extreme fatigue makes you crave

#7 Cocaine: 2.13 Dependence Rating

Cocaine prevents the reabsorption of dopamine in the brain’s reward areas. After you use enough blow, your brain reduces the number of dopamine receptors in this region, figuring it’s already got plenty of it. You can see where this is going. Because there are now fewer receptors, stopping the drug makes you crave it—after all, the body needs its dopamine. Cocaine doesn’t destroy dopamine neurons like methamphetamine, which makes its effect less powerfully addictive, but the fast method of use (snorting), short high (less than an hour) and rapid tolerance put it in the top ten.

#6 Alcohol: 2.13 Dependence Rating

Because alcohol is legal and often consumed in social settings, alcohol addiction is complicated. But as an addictive agent, it’s remarkably simple—and effective. Alcohol’s withdrawal syndrome is so severe that it can cause death, and its effects on the brain’s reward system cause well-documented and intense craving in heavy drinkers. Regardless of the mechanism, 17.9 million Americans (7% of the US population) were classified as being addicted to or abusing alcohol in 2010.

#5 Crystal Meth: 2.24 Dependence Rating

Directly mimicking a natural neurotransmitter “teaches” your brain to want a drug—that’s how nicotine and heroin work. Crystal methamphetamine takes it to the next level: it imitates the reward chemical dopamine and the alertness chemical norepinephrine, causing your neurons to release more of both—all the while training your brain to want them more. What’s worse, the drug can damage dopamine- and norepinephrine-releasing neurons, which leads to a drastic decrease in their production, thereby making you crave more meth. It’s an addict’s nightmare and a marketer’s dream. That is why meth is one of the most addictive drugs.

#4 Methadone: 2.68 Dependence Rating

In a clinical setting, tolerance to this drug is actually considered a good thing when treating a heroin addiction. A junkie getting treated with methadone will quickly become resistant to its euphoric effects and use it to keep heroin withdrawal symptoms at bay. The problem is this: tolerance to methadone is a sign of an addiction to it and methadone withdrawal is nightmarish and longer-lasting than kicking heroin. This combination puts methadone in the top 5 most addictive drugs.

#3 Nicotine: 2.82 Dependence Rating

This might be surprising to most. But nicotine ranks high – in the top 3 most addictive drugs. The reason: though nicotine doesn’t cause the rush of heroin or crack, it’s biologically similar in a crucial way: it mimics a common neurotransmitter—so well that scientists named one of the acetylcholine receptors after it. Smoking regularly reduces the number and sensitivity of these “nicotinic” receptors, and requires that the user keep ingesting nicotine just to maintain normal brain function. There are a shocking 50,000,000 nicotine addicts in the US, and one in every five deaths nationwide are the result of smoking.

#2 Crack Cocaine: 2.82Dependence Rating

Although crack cocaine and powder cocaine have similar chemical compositions and effects, smoking processed crack causes a faster, higher rush that lasts for less time (about 10 minutes, versus 15-30 for powder cocaine). The intensity of the high combined with the efficient method of ingestion—smoking—are the big reasons why addiction rates are dramatically higher for crack than they are for snorted powder. In 2010, there were an estimated 500,000 active crack cocaine addicts in the United States.

#1 Heroin: 2.89 Dependence Rating

No surprise here: heroin’s addictiveness is the stuff of legend. As an opiate, it affects opioid receptors throughout the body and mimics endorphins, reducing pain and causing pleasure. Areas of the brain involved in reward processing and learning are stocked with tons of these opioid receptors, so when you inject heroin, you are basically training your brain to make you crave it. Pair that with nasty withdrawal symptoms and high fat solubility (which allows it to get into your brain quickly), and you have the most addictive drug in the world. An estimated 281,000 people received treatment for heroin addiction in the US in 2003, and according to the National Institute on Drug Addiction, 23% of people who have ever used heroin become addicts.

So, there you have it: the list from least to most addictive drugs.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

www.nih.gov

www.niaaa.nih.gov

http://www.thefix.com

 

 

 

What is a Sober Companion?

What is a Sober Companion?

What is a Sober Companion, Sober Coach, or Recovery Coach?

A sober companion, sober coach, or recovery coach provides one-on-one assistance to newly recovering drug addicts and alcoholics. The goal is to help the client maintain total abstinence from alcohol and drugs, and to establish healthy routines outside of a residential treatment facility. Sober coaches assist with the transition from treatment back to everyday living. The sober coach will meet the client at discharge, accompany them on their trip home, and within 24 hours, attend with them their first AA or NA meeting.

What are the Duties of a Sober Companion?

The sober companion’s duties encompass a wide variety, from ensuring that the client remains abstinent to serving as a resource broker and advocate in the client’s home community.

The primary duty of a sober companion is to ensure the recovering addict does not relapse. They may be hired to provide round the clock care, be on-call, or to accompany the recovering addict during particular activities, such as taking them to fellowship meetings at which the recovery coach encourages them to meet people and get phone numbers. They work together with the client in making their home a clean and sober environment, as well support the client in following through with their recommended discharge plan.

A sober companion also acts as an advocate for the newly recovering person and provides new ways for the client to act in their own living environment. Many companions use techniques such as chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, meditation, distraction, massage, diet and proper nutrition, exercise and even prayer and affirmation of sober choices. A sober coach either completely removes the addict from his own environment of hidden stashes, or may search for hidden drugs in their own environment, in an effort to make the living environment safe for the client and to prevent them from relapsing

How Long Does Sober Companion Services Last?

Companions are available to assist clients for as long as support is deemed necessary. Sober companion treatment usually lasts for 30 days however, oftentimes, much longer. The time required to effect a meaningful change varies greatly depending upon the client, their co-occurring disorders, and the family life at home. Ideally, a companion’s presence in the client’s life will decrease as the client’s ability to confront family, work, and legal issues without relapse is proven. Some providers stay with their clients for many months, and some offer only transportation services.

The Benefits of Having a Sober Companion

The first few days outside of the structured treatment setting are typically the most critical – and most trying for the newly recovering alcoholic/addict. This transitional period is often awkward and uncomfortable for the recovering person therefore, sober companionship and coaching offers support, encouragement, and camaraderie during this crucial time.

Other circumstances for which having a sober coach is beneficial are cases where an actor or musician will not attend treatment, but must remain abstinent to complete a film or recording project. Another circumstance might be that the newly recovering alcoholic/addict is in school and thus needs to be back in their own living environment.

 

 

 

 

Sources:

http://en.wikipedia.org

http://www.soberescorts.com/

 

 

Q&A: What credentials do I need to be a recovery coach?

Q&A: What credentials do I need to be a recovery coach?

In most states, you don’t need any credentials in order to be a recovery coach yet. Although, if you want you can get your recovery coach certification by taking recovery coaching classes through some kind of recovery coaching program. Many states do offer courses in order to become a Recovery Support Specialist. This is not necessary for you to be a recovery coach though. You may find it easier to get a job as a recovery coach with some credentials though and the programs and classes to become a recovery coach are fairly inexpensive for what you are getting. There may come a time when recovery coaches are asked to have credentials before working with clients but it has not come yet. Part of this may be because a lot of what recovery coaches do is based on experience and not so much what they learn in a class. Either way the credentials won’t hurt if you want to be a recovery coach but not having them will not and should not hold you back from becoming what you want: a recovery coach.

12 Steps to a Relapse

12 steps to a relapse

12 Steps to a Relapse   

The 12 step model for addiction recovery have long been accepted by the addiction treatment community as a way to stay clean and sober in the long term. Another commonly held idea in addiction treatment is that relapse starts long before you ever pick up a drink or a drug. These two ideas come together in the 12 steps to a relapse.

The Alcoholics Anonymous: Big Book says, “What we really have is a daily reprieve contingent on the maintenance of our spiritual condition.” (pg.85) This means that even if we have worked all 12 steps, we can still relapse if we do not maintain our spiritual condition. If we become comfortable in our recovery and “rest on our laurels” we run the risk of relapse.

Sometimes old patterns of behavior begin to come back. This is where we may start to see a relapse begin. We may start working the 12 steps in reverse. This is what is known as the 12 steps to a relapse.

It begins when we get too busy to carry the message. Maybe we have replaced recovery with work, gym or a relationship. We get overconfident. We have less contact with other recovering alcoholics and meeting attendance starts to decline. This is the first step in the 12 steps to a relapse.

Next we may stop praying or meditating. We no longer seek conscious contact with a higher power. It may be subtle at first. But over time, we no longer pray or meditate at all.

The next step in the 12 steps to a relapse is the unworking of steps 10-4.  We stop taking inventory and we stop making amends. Our character defects come back, and we are unwilling to have a higher power remove them. We lose sight of the moral inventory we once made and begin to repeat the same behavior we exhibited during addiction.

The 12 steps to a relapse continue when we take our will back. Not just a little, as we may have done in the past, but the whole thing. We start to try to run the show.  The power we once believed  could restore us to sanity is now out the window. We begin believe we can do it ourselves. We believe we now have the power, and we can manage our own lives. These are unworking steps three, two, and one in the 12 steps to a relapse. At this point, we are likely to pick up a drug or drink. We likely feel irritable, restless, and discontent. The “hole in the soul” has come back, and we seek other things to fill it.

The 12 steps to a relapse can be avoided if we are constantly moving forward and growing in our program. This is why it is especially important to have a home group and get to know the people in it. Others can sometimes recognize when we have become lacking in our program or when we have begun to work the 12 steps to a relapse. They may be able to catch it before it is too late.

Recovery Options for a Chronic Relapser

Recovery Options for a Chronic Relapser

The recovery options for a chronic relapser have to be a little different than for those who have no history of relapses what so ever. A chronic relapser struggles to stay sober. Each time they manage to get any time in recovery they end up using or drinking again. And unfortunately most addicts and alcoholics are chronic relapsers. This does not mean that chronic relapsers cannot stay sober because they can, if they are willing to pick themselves up and try again.

What is a chronic relapser?

Chronic relapsers often get caught in a kind of negative cycle or revolving door syndrome. This means they get caught in a negative pattern of going to rehab, getting sober, leaving rehab and then relapsing again. Chronic relapsers will do this for years and may even just decided that the recovery options out there for them such as rehab just don’t work. There are so many reasons that chronic relapsers get caught in a revolving door syndrome but the realities are they haven’t adequately received recovery options to prepare them for the transition into life again.

So what are the recovery options for chronic relapsers?

A recovery option for chronic relapsers that is effective is a rehab program that combines medication with therapy and counseling. Rehab programs for chronic relapsers should be inpatient and long term programs that begin with detox. A proper recovery option for chronic relapsers is a rehab program that designs the program for each individual case to suit each person’s specific needs and addresses all of their specific emotional, mental and physical issues. A recovery option for chronic relapsers is also a rehab program that offers follow-up options which is imperative for chronic relapsers staying sober in the long run.

Another recovery option for chronic relapsers is a part of drug rehab; it is known as relapse prevention. A great recovery option for chronic relapsers is for them to attend relapse prevention classes. Relapse prevention classes teach a chronic relapser all about the reasons they relapse so they can avoid it happening again. Relapse prevention classes teach how relapse is a process not a single event and is individualized to each person so they recognize their own unique triggers and relapse warning signs. This is paramount to a chronic relapser being able to avoid slipping up again. Once a chronic relapser is aware they can begin to take action to avoid using drugs or drinking again.

Aftercare is an absolute paramount recovery option for chronic relapsers. Aftercare is also a part of follow-ups with drug treatment. Aftercare offers groups, alumni meetings, coaching, and so much more depending on what the chronic relapser needs. Aftercare is way for the chronic relapser to check in with people who will keep them accountable and motivated in their recovery. One of the biggest ways to avoid relapse is to keep accountability and motivation in recovery. Aftercare offers this through the community that is also sober meeting up once a week or so.

The recovery options for chronic relapsers are specifically designed to take the addict and alcoholic out their revolving door syndrome so they never have to use or drink again. While some people say relapse is a part of recovery it does not have to be a part of recovery if the addict or alcoholic takes the right action.

Morality and Addiction

Morality and Addiction

Morality and Addiction

Morality and addiction has long been a cause for discussion. Despite the fact that the AMA has acknowledged that alcohol and drug dependency are diseases over a half a century ago, many still view addiction as a moral failing. This stigma has created barriers for those who may otherwise seek treatment.

Morality and Addiction: Changing Explanations

As human beings, we strive to explain the world around us and our place in it. It is part of human nature and it makes us feel more in control of our circumstances. We do it individually, as well as on a larger scale. Explaining and classifying situations, behaviors, and other people can be beneficial. It can help us identify other people and it provides a framework for understanding complicated issues. But sometimes our classifications are too rigid and our explanations just aren’t right.

In recent years, the biological and genetic model of addiction has taken precedence. Most experts now agree that addiction is a disease, and that it requires treatment like any other day. But one of the first models for addiction, and one that set the tone for the stigma that still persists today. This was known as the moral model.

Morality and Addiction: The Moral Model

The moral model considers addiction to be a result of human weakness. It is considered a defect of character. It doesn’t recognize biological or genetic components to addiction. As a result, it offers very little sympathy to those who suffer from addiction, since it is considered a problem of their own making. The implication is that addiction is the result of poor choices, and that addicts have a lack of willpower or moral strength needed to make better choices.

Morality and Addiction: Impact

The accepted relationship between morality and addiction led alcoholics and other drug addicts to be grouped with others who had demonstrated “moral failings.” This includes other socially undesirable behaviors and situations like crime, poverty, sin, domestic violence, and laziness. Naturally, treatment for addiction was aimed at punishment rather than healing. This idea still persists today in the infamous “War on Drugs,” which advocates punitive punishments for those involved with drugs rather than rehabilitative methods.

The old view of morality and addiction began to lose influence when religion and theology began to fade and science and medicine became more refined. Obviously, this view hasn’t completely faded, as the war on drugs still rages today. Also, doctors began to realize that  people with “good” morals are just as likely to use drugs and alcohol. This is when the “disease” model of addiction was born.

Morality and Addiction: The Disease Model

The disease model goes in the complete opposite direction in terms of morality and addiction. It views addiction as a chronic, relapsing disease, and not a moral failing. Thus, addicts do not deserve to be blamed for their disease any more than a cancer patient would. Critics of the disease model believes that it takes responsibility away from the addicts and instead characterizes them as victims.

There may never be a universal consensus on the idea of morality and addiction, but the disease model has proven far more effective in eradicating drug-related problems. Rehabilitation, not punishment, seems to be the answer,

http://www.sfu.ca/~palys/321OralHistory-Ngo-AddictionAccordingToThreeModels.pdf