Biopsychosocial Model of Addiction

You will hear about the importance of spirituality to people, whether it is religious or non-religious. It is very important to be respectful around all spiritual dimensions as it is very important to people. Think of it as the therapeutic imagination of what spirituality means to the individual and show respect to each person, so that they can have the freedom to find, explore,  revisit or discover their own beliefs. Semi-synthetic opiates such as heroin mainly activate mu opioid receptors in the central nervous system (Koob, Sanna, and Bloom 1998).

As is evident from the sections above summarizing neural circuitry involved in addiction and chronic pain, the boundary between the neurobiological and psychological aspects of these conditions is somewhat arbitrary. Likewise, the boundary between the psychological and social components is poorly defined, reflecting the central concept of the BPS model, that health and disease involve biological, psychological, and social factors that influence one another in a reciprocal, highly dynamic manner [54]. Meints and Edwards (2018) divide psychosocial variables involved in chronic pain into two main categories.

The Psychodynamic Model of Addiction

Two experimental studies also implicate sociocultural influences in the development of body image concerns in young children. Dittmar and colleagues (2006) found that 5- to 8-year-old girls who were exposed to images of Barbie then reported lower body esteem and greater desire for thinness compared to those who were exposed to Emme (a US size 16 doll) or no doll. This effect was already evident in 5.5- to 6.5-year-old girls, but was more pronounced in 6.5- to 7.5-year-old girls.

  • Notions of a pathologized self, deeply enmeshed with personal identity, may lead an individual to internally negotiate a relationship between the self and the brain (Dumit 2003).
  • The treatment model’s primary focus concerns the dialectic between acceptance and behavior change across four main therapeutic stages.
  • A survey (Grant et al., 2011) in the United States showed that 19% of transgender respondents had been refused care because of their gender identity, and 28% had delayed seeking health care because of experience with health care providers’ negative attitudes toward transgender people.
  • The model was developed by George L. Engel, a psychiatrist at the University of Rochester, and putatively discussed in an article published in 1977 in Science, where he posited “the need for a new medical model” (Engel, 1977).

Although a brain disease model legitimizes addiction as a medical condition, it promotes neuro-essentialist thinking, categorical ideas of responsibility and free choice, and undermines the complexity involved in its emergence. We propose a ‘biopsychosocial systems’ model where psycho-social factors complement and interact with neurogenetics. A systems approach addresses the complexity of addiction and approaches free choice and moral responsibility within the biological, lived experience and socio-historical context of the individual. We conclude with a discussion of the model and its implications for drug policy, research, addiction health care systems and delivery, and treatment of substance use problems.

Non-pharmacological treatments for addiction and chronic pain

This is one path to follow for new opportunities for treatment and intervention directed toward prevention. Accordingly, an analysis of the ethical, legal and social issues around other problems of addiction, such as prescription opiate misuse for pain management, may also be examined within the context of our proposed framework. Furthermore, some communities are targeted more heavily with alcohol and tobacco advertisements and have more availability of drugs of abuse than others, particularly impoverished communities (Primack et al., 2007; Rose et al., 2019). Therefore, the social environment in which one exists contributes to their risk of addiction. The multifaceted disorder needs a multifaceted conceptualization, and we find that in the biopsychosocial model of addiction (Marlatt & Baer, 1988). Rather than pinpoint the one thing that causes addiction, we now understand that a constellation of factors contributes to a person being more or less at risk for addiction.

  • The objective of these trials is to investigate the benefits and risks of administering medically supervised, pharmaceutical-grade injectable heroin to chronic opiate users where other treatment options, such as methadone maintenance therapy, have failed.
  • Addiction consists of interacting biological and psychosocial mechanisms because the mechanism (e.g., the behaviour) contributing to addiction involves action within a social system.
  • You can further explore poverty, race, gender, and other examples of intersectionality that may play a role in a person’s substance use/addiction as you are working with them, ensuring your work is cultural, spiritual, gender-sensitive and trauma-informed.
  • It may further challenge understandings of “accepted” identities, such as health seeking and rational, as opposed to “contested” identities, such as addict, intoxicated, and at-risk (Fry 2008).
  • The multifaceted disorder needs a multifaceted conceptualization, and we find that in the biopsychosocial model of addiction (Marlatt & Baer, 1988).

Finally, Stage 4 promotes the acceptance and normality of human suffering and enhances the life skills necessary to live with contentment and difficulties simultaneously. This final stage includes contingency management, where individuals learn to observe consequences of their own behavior such that workable, adaptive responding is increased, and maladaptive responding is decreased (Linehan et al., 2006). In spite of this strong behavioral focus, at least the language and techniques of DBT borrows heavily from fields far beyond behavior analysis and traditional behavior therapy (e.g., influences from Zen Buddhism; Robins, 2002).

An Introduction to Behavioral Addictions

Repeated drug use reduces baseline activity of these circuits, partly setting the stage for withdrawal/negative affect to drive drug-taking. Acute withdrawal from several drugs, including opioids, involves hyperactive corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF) and norepinephrine (NE) neurotransmitter systems, the endogenous antireward opioid dynorphin, substance P, neuropeptide Y, vasopressin, and nociceptin. The preoccupation/anticipation stage is marked by drug craving, key to the relapsing nature of Top 5 Tips to Consider When Choosing a Sober House for Living the addiction cycle. Compromised cognition, memory, and inhibitory control involve the hippocampus, mPFC and orbitofrontal cortex (OFC; [29]. As the authors discuss below, many of the structures, circuits, and neurochemical mediators that drive SUD are also involved in chronic pain. Many reports support the notion that solution-focused brief psychotherapy (SFBP) has worked well for individuals with SUD, and more modern group-based SFBP approaches have continued to be successful [121, 122, 127].

While making a decision is itself a mental act, a mental act or event does not cause behaviour alone, but is one part of the complex process between neuronal firing and action. Once an intention has been formed for example, to use substances one is aware of the intention, though intention itself does not sufficiently cause the individual to seek out or use drugs. From a neuroscience perspective, it is difficult to see such actions as completely free, particularly when explanations of natural phenomena are understood as causally ordered. The notion of free choice becomes particularly troublesome due to the conscious experience of acting freely. As Searle (2004) argues, “there is a striking difference between the passive character of perceptual consciousness and the active character of what we might call ‘volitional consciousness’“ (41). People often debate the best and most effective approach to addiction treatment and recovery.

Does viewing addiction through the biopsychosocial model change…

Along with genetics, another contributing factor to the risk of addiction is one’s psychological composition. Some individuals may be more affected by the rewarding effects of drugs of abuse because they are trying their best to regulate painful emotions. MBSR and similar strategies that target aberrant learning have been shown to interrupt the progression of addiction to opioids [107]. Mindfulness trainings reduce the intense neural reactivity to drug-cues, reduce cravings, and uncouple negative affective states from the previously induced, self-medicated state [108].

the biopsychosocial model of addiction

It is important to note that one person’s reaction to the reward experience may be quite different from another’s. This realization should help us cultivate empathy for those with addiction—it is very likely that others truly do not know how drugs make them feel. As advocates of mental health and wellness, we take great pride in educating our readers on the various online therapy providers available. MentalHelp has partnered with several thought leaders in the mental health and wellness space, so we can help you make informed decisions on your wellness journey.

Applying a solution-focused mindset to other psychotherapies, including CBT and MBSR, has also led to positive outcomes in the treatment of SUD and depression [127, 132]. Another advantage of SFBP is its cost effectiveness, due to its brief duration yet surprisingly long-term positive outcomes for many. Although no studies to date have examined the efficacy of SFBP specifically for the treatment of OUD, application of this approach to OUD seems promising.

Addiction-related behaviours affect the health of both individuals and communities, either protectively or harmfully. The behaviours influence the extent an individual is able to mobilize and access resources to achieve goals and adapt to adverse situations (Raphael 2004). For example, an individual’s socioeconomic status is correlated with increased negative consequences from substance use, such as increased sharing of used injecting equipment and higher prevalence rates of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) and hepatitis C (Strike, Myers, and Millson 2004). The factors that increase an individual’s risk for addiction are numerous, yet they all find their place in the biopsychosocial model of addiction (Marlatt & Baer, 1988). Taken together, this model provides a holistic conceptualization of addiction that acknowledges the complexity of the disorder and provides guidance toward a solution, which must necessarily be multifaceted and holistic as well. The more we know about the biopsychosocial model, the more we can foster accurate empathy for those with addiction and work toward effective treatment and prevention efforts.

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