By: Dr. Laura Pieri
The concept of addiction is often referred to as a disease. The disease model follows four principles: (1) there is a problem, (2) there is an underlying cause to the problem, (3) therefore there must be a “fix” to the problem, and (4) finally, the “fix” is applied to the problem. Psychiatry’s DSM5 refers to addictions as disorders, but the disease model applies just the same. Many factors underlie these disorders, from genetics to conditioning. Genetics, what runs in the family and influences behaviors, can increase the risk of developing an addiction. Similarly, how you are raised, and as well as your cumulative experiences in life, can also contribute to the risk of addiction. All these factors affect the way you think and feel about life and how you deal with life.
Disordered thought processing, or thinking, leads to disordered behavior. If this sequence is rehearsed and practiced long enough, it becomes engrained in the brain. Once engrained, disordered behaviors occur seemingly without thought; these behaviors are now “habits.”
At DPC the approach to addictions and the mental health conditions that often come with them follow the disease/disorder model. The problem(s) is clear, the causes are not. If the causes are not well understood or misunderstood, the treatment will be incorrect; the problem doesn’t get “fixed,” or worse, it’s made worse.
Care is tailored to each individual. A variety of methods are used, including psychotherapy, EMDR for trauma, adventure experiences and medications, to name but a few. In terms of medications, the least amount necessary is the philosophy: individuals are presented with well-explained medication options and are part of the decision-making process in this regard.
The treatment team at DPC is dedicated to determining the causes and conditions that lead each individual to addiction. Once identified, it is our mission to address these issues. As each disordered piece is identified and corrected, healing can finally begin. Here, together, people can confront themselves in the mirror of others who share their problems. Only then can people appear clearly to themselves and others and begin to live authentically. Until then, they are running from life.