What Are Psychological Models of Addiction?
Models of addiction include medical and social models; however, psychological models of addiction receive professional and research support. According to this model, substance abuse arises from psychological abnormalities. Many professionals and researchers do not agree with the idea of an addictive personality; however, there is some agreement that substance abuse has psychological associations. Two psychological models of addiction include the psychoanalytic model and psychopathology model.
The psychoanalytic model of addiction involves conflict, unresolved trauma, and the ego as underlying causes of addiction. Conflict can occur within the mind and one way to resolve these conflicts and the associated feelings of rage, fear, or anxiety is to use alcohol or drugs. Others believe that our early relationships can influence substance abuse due to a failure to bond with our primary caregivers. Unresolved trauma is also a way in which substance abuse begins, according to this model. If an individual were to experience a traumatic event, they may try to cope with the trauma by abusing substances. This is often seen with those who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and have a co-occurring substance use disorder. Psychoanalytic theory is centered on a concept known as the ego, which has to do with how an individual interacts with the external world. If an individual has a fractured ego, they may abuse substances to self-medicate and reduce the pain of the fractured ego.
The psychopathology model states there is a high correlation for individuals with mental health disorders to self-medicate. This does not mean that all individuals with a mental health disorder self-medicate but rather the likelihood is present. This model also reviews how certain childhood disorders can lead to substance use disorders later in life. For example, there is a strong relationship between children with ADHD and the likelihood of developing substance use disorders later in life. The emphasis should be put on there is a likelihood for this to happen. Not every child with ADHD will develop a substance use disorder. Conduct disorders are another childhood disorder that indicate a high likelihood of developing a substance use disorder. Individuals with mood disorders, including bipolar disorder, also have a high rate of developing substance use disorders. This is more common in women than men. Some personality disorders have shown to be precursors to substance use disorders; however, it is difficult to evaluate whether the personality disorder exacerbates substance use or if the substance use accentuates the personality disorder.