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Brain disease addiction model (BDAM) or medical model is a modern approach to addictions stating that they are caused due to the changes in the human brain. BDAM is reinforced by Michael Miller, former president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, who states that addictions are neurological problems (Addcition.com Staff). The present paper offers an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of the medical model and its implication to addiction assessment and treatment.
Miller’s statement encourages addictions specialist to treat the problem as a disease instead of blaming the behaviors. His viewpoint is supported by Volkow et al. in their article “Neurobiologic Advances from The Brain Disease Model of Addiction.” In this article, the authors state that BDAM leads to elaborating effective preventive measures, treatment interventions, and public health policies that help to address the problem of addictions effectively (Volkow et al. 363). At the same, Heather et al. in their work “Challenging The Brain Disease Model of Addiction: European Launch of the Addiction Theory Network” criticize Miller’s approach. They claim that Miller’s suggestion is questionable since there are social and psychological issues that must be considered (Heather et al. 255). In short, Miller finds support and opposition among modern researchers.
As stated above, Miller supports BDAM or medical model of treating and assessing addictions. This model advocates that addiction is a disease that is caused by organic brain differences (Addiction.com Staff). Even though there is a behavior that leads to forming an addiction, the condition is purely neurological. The situation is similar to unhealthy eating leading to obesity and type 2 diabetes. The implications of this model to the assessment process are clear since addictions professionals tend to focus on the physical aspect of the condition rather than assessing the environment and psychological issues. BDAM encourages the use of advanced technology, such as CT scans, during the assessment process. In short, the medical model takes into consideration mostly the physical manifestation of the problem.
Relationships and Controversies
Models of addiction are closely connected to the assessment process. The moral model shows how addictive behaviors are wrong and should be punished. However, this approach is ineffective and does not offer any practical ways of addressing the problem. BDAM concentrates its attention on assessing and treating the physical symptoms. Even though this approach has shown some positive results, it is associated with prejudice that patients are out of control (Addiction.com Staff). The biopsychosocial model aims at taking into consideration all the aspects of the condition during the assessment. This approach is individualized, and there is no standard way of looking at the problem that may cause confusion. The medical model seems to be the most scientifically justified approach to addictions; however, the view invites paternalism since people view addicts as “requiring treatment that he/she might not wish to undergo, but as incapable of effectively deciding to accept a treatment recommendation” (Heather 253). In brief, there various controversies between models of addiction and their effects on assessment and no approach is perfect.
Michael Miller advocates BDAM or medical addiction model that is supported by numerous researchers. BDAM treats addictions as brain abnormalities that may be treated with traditional medical procedures, such as medications and surgeries. In terms of assessment, BDAM encourages addiction specialists to focus on physical manifestation rather than environmental and psychological problems. Even though the approach offers numerous preventative measures and treatment interventions, it is associated with multiple controversies and opposition.
Addiction.com Staff. “Redefining Addiction: Controversy Among Doctors.” Addiction.com. 2011, Web.
Heather, Nick et al. “Challenging The Brain Disease Model of Addiction: European Launch of the Addiction Theory Network.” Addiction Research & Theory, vol. 26, no. 4, 2017, pp. 249-255. Web.
Volkow, Nora D. et al. “Neurobiologic Advances from The Brain Disease Model of Addiction.” New England Journal of Medicine, vol. 374, no. 4, 2016, pp. 363-371. Web.