Learn About the Biopsychosocial Model of Addiction

Many young men have recovered from their substance use disorders while facing challenges and obstacles along the way. Fortunately, there are different treatment tools and methods available to help along the way, such as sober living homes, Alcoholics Anonymous, and a therapeutic approach called the biopsychosocial model of addiction. 

What Is the Biopsychosocial Model of Addiction?

To understand the biopsychosocial model of addiction, we need to first look at a brief history of therapeutic approaches. In the late 1800s, Sigmund Freud laid the groundwork for psychoanalysis. Before this breakthrough, biological and genetic factors were used as the primary treatment for mental health disorders.

Once Freud came along, it caused a shift in mental health treatments. Some doctors still focused on biological and genetic components. Other doctors adopted Freud’s psychoanalysis approach. Yet, others developed their own approaches where they focused on environmental and social components. 

Then in the 1970s, George L. Engel proposed that there were more than biological factors to consider when treating mental illness. His approach included examining the psychological, environmental, and social components and how they influence one’s biological functioning related to mental health disorders. This new approach was named the biopsychosocial model.

The new model was initially developed for helping people improve their mental health. However, it was later adopted to help treat those suffering from alcohol and substance use disorders. 

Is Addiction Genetic or Environmental?

To say addiction is purely genetic or purely environmental would not be accurate. What the biopsychosocial model of addiction has demonstrated is many different factors can influence substance misuse and addiction as follows:

Biological and Genetic Factors

Our genetics can play a role in the risk of developing an addiction. If a family member was an addict, genetic factors could be passed down from one generation to the next. 

However, these genetic factors do not necessarily mean you would develop an addiction. Just that they are present, much like genetic factors related to mental health disorders. 

Yet, substance abuse could trigger a dormant mental health disorder. Conversely, a mental health disorder could trigger a substance use disorder.

Biological factors are related to imbalances of various chemicals in the brain. These imbalances could cause a predisposition and increased risk of developing an addiction. 

Social and Environmental Factors

Another component that can influence whether someone develops an addiction is related to social and environmental factors. For instance, if you are physically, emotionally, or verbally abused by your parents or siblings from an early age, turning to substance use is often a common coping mechanism. It allows you an escape from the abuse in your family.

You also have to consider if any of your immediate family members struggle with addiction. If so, access to drugs and alcohol becomes much easier, and it can be tempting to experiment with substances. 

Two social factors determining how likely you are to misuse substances are the type of social settings and friends you associate with. For example, many young men want to fit in with their peers, so they are more likely to give in when they are enticed to drink or try drugs. 

In addition, our coworkers could also be considered a social factor when they encourage us to drink or use drugs to help alleviate stress and anxiety related to our jobs. While they might mean well, their encouragement could be the factor that sets us on the path to addiction. 

Psychological Factors

We cannot ignore psychological factors and how they can influence addiction. We already mentioned how addiction could be triggered when one suffers from a mental health disorder. It is very common for young men who feel sad, depressed, anxious, and stressed out to turn to alcohol or drugs. 

Many young men are taught to keep things to themselves rather than share their feelings and seek help from a mental health professional. So, they tend to misuse substances that make them feel better, even if only temporarily. 

The Biopsychosocial Model of Addiction Treatment Methodology

As you can see, there are many factors to consider when it comes to addiction. Equally so, treating addiction requires addressing each of these factors for recovery to be successful.

For starters, part of addiction could be related to flaws in one’s thinking. So, various forms of psychotherapy are necessary to help learn how to identify negative thinking patterns related to addiction and replace them with new healthy thought patterns. 

Next, the physical components of addiction must also be treated, such as:

  • Learning how to eat nutritious, healthy meals.
  • Developing a regular exercise and fitness routine.
  • Addressing physical withdrawal symptoms
  • Developing positive coping mechanisms to deal with physical cravings. 

However, simply treating the psychological and physical components of addiction is not sufficient, as you must treat the entire body, mind, and soul. Therefore, the biopsychosocial model of addiction can ensure that all aspects, components, and factors of addiction are correctly treated. 

Structured Young Men’s Sober Living in Los Angeles

At New Life House, we provide access to structured sober living homes in Redondo Beach and the Los Angeles area for young men struggling with addiction. Our homes provide a stable, supportive, and caring environment where young men continue to work on their recovery using the biopsychosocial model of addiction. 

For further information about our sober living houses and how you can move in, please feel free to contact our admissions team today! 

Last Updated on February 21, 2024


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