Exploring Historical Views of Addiction





Exploring Historical Views of Addiction


Addiction to drug and substance elicits different reactions from people both affected and concerned with its effects. The effects brought about by alcohol lead to increased study and research on the topic of alcoholism. The direct and indirect effects of alcoholism result to detrimental impact on related families and society. Scholars and researchers in the physiological and psychological disciplines engage in various activities geared towards explaining the behavioral patterns exhibited by alcoholics. The ailments that alcoholics go through necessitate treatment and preventive measure’s adoption.

Dispositional Disease Model

The mainly recognized models for addiction are the moral and the dispositional disease model (Miller, 1993). The dispositional disease model agrees and disagrees conceptually with the moral system of dependence that gets credited through the evolution of time of the concepts.

The dispositional disease model postulates that alcoholism is an incurable disorder brought about by anomalies in the biological system of an individual. The concept about alcoholism viewership as a disease receives wide acceptance by the United States people. The disease model explains the difference that develops from alcohol related issues and moral issues where the involved culprit gets viewed as deserving treatment rather than social sanctioning (Jellinek, 1960). The disease model offers a predetermined alcoholism recovery procedure where the person involved should accept being an alcoholic, show a desire to change, admit powerlessness in change, and indicate a willingness to receive support (Miller, 1993). The disease model aids alcoholics in attributing their problems to disease rather than personal misbehavior that makes one hate himself. The majority of American professionals and the general public have subscribed to the view that alcoholism is a disease.

Disease Model Of Alcoholism

The global definition of a disease suits the disease model of alcoholism since it leads to, alteration of the normal functioning of the body processes. The disease model gives more accurate knowledge and assertion about alcoholism being a disease contrary to the conventional definition of a disease. The disease model views addiction as a unitary disease because it affects the selected few who are alcoholics that get addicted and those who do not get addicted no matter the duration of consumption. The disease model contradicts the moral model by attributing alcoholism to physiological causes. The concept, like the moral model agrees that there might be spiritual, psychological, and social causes of alcoholism (Jellinek, 1960).

Disease Model and Genetic Factors

The disease model credits genetic factors like brain chemistry as the causes of alcoholism. The research carried out by Native Americans show traces of alcoholism susceptibility thus approving the physical abnormality concept. The presence of social and psychological presence get viewed as a result and not a cause of alcoholism thus refuting the moral model. The lack of controlled drinking exhibited by alcoholics gets attributed to the person’s physiological factors that cannot get controlled by psychological factors that base on the moral cause (Miller, 1993). The concept proves the powerlessness experienced by alcoholics in controlling the alcoholism disease.

Moral Claim about Alcoholism

The final concept that varies with the moral claim about alcoholism posits that alcohol is an incurable disease and is irreversible because of the reignited desire when one returns to drinking. Even though the disease concept is logically the opposite of the moral model, the public finds a perfect intermix of the two models and clearly perceiving the causes of alcoholism. Both ideas make sense, especially the four assumptions in the disease model connect with familiar character defects associated with a syndrome (Milam,1984). The denial experienced when an alcoholic fails to accept the state of powerlessness leads to overindulgence in alcoholism that is a perfect example of intertwine between the moral and the disease model (Miller, 1993).

In summary, from the discussed assumptions about the disposition disease model, it is clear that alcoholism is an incurable, all in one disorder caused by a gene, physical abnormality. The procedure outlined in the alcoholism recovery links the dispositional disease model and the moral model. The alcohol conception frameworks should be integrated to provide a comprehensive treatment and prevention mechanism that will emancipate alcoholics from the addiction.

Work Cited


Jellinek, E.M. (1960).The disease concept of alcoholism. New Brunswick, NJ: Hill HousePres.

Miller, W. R. (1993). Alcoholism: Toward a better disease model. Psychology of Addictive

Behaviors, 7(2), 129–136.

Milam, J.R., & Ketcham, K. (1983). Under the influence: A guide to the myths and realities of

alcoholism. New York: Bantam Books.