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The Medical Aspects of Alcohol and other Drug Abuse Treatment

Despite all he advances in the scientific understanding of drug addiction as a disease, the vast majority of doctors continue to misdiagnose drug addiction and treat it as a psychological or moral problem.

A huge industry has grown out of the the psychological disease model of drug addiction. The psychological approach assumes that drug addicts choose to use because of a stressful past or inability to manage current problems. Many treatment professionals try to identify and treat the underlying psychological disorder that caused the patients' drug addiction. Unfortunately, the vast majority fail to find the underlying causes and large numbers of addicts never recover from their addictive disorder.

Decades of treatment programs have been based on a theory of addiction that virtually ignored the medical aspects of the disease of addiction. Most treatment programs grossly underestimate the medical consequences of addiction. It is this misconception of the nature of drug addiction that is responsible for the dismal results of so many well-intentioned treatment programs.

Although some advances have been made more treatment programs should adopt a new view of drug addiction--one which acknowledges the true biochemical complexity of the disease. A comprehensive diagnosis and evaluation of patients should reveal extensive malnutrition, food sensitivities, and physical pathology. Treatment protocols must include, at a minimum, information on proper exercise and nutritional lifestyle changes.

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