The Syndrome Model of Addiction Treatment Method

Addiction Recovery ModelHeavy Focus Toward Addiction Disorders Versus Addiction Types

At The Dunes, we treat addiction and its many expressions. Our philosophy is that there is an addiction disorder, not many different addictions. This view emerges from the Addiction Syndrome Model.1 This view considers addiction as a complex condition with a variety of signs and symptoms that are not always present for every person with the disorder. Consequently, addiction gets expressed in many different ways; for example, people have experienced addiction to alcohol and other drugs, gambling, shopping, and exercising. These various expressions of addiction have common causes and unique characteristics for each client. Expressions of addiction have shared and unique consequences. These addiction features result from the interaction of neurobiology, neurogenetics, psychosocial factors, cultural influences, and personal experience.

Addiction Recovery Model Includes:

Research reveals that both psychoactive substances (e.g., alcohol) and high frequency patterns of behavior (e.g., gambling) are important factors that can shift brain chemistry and emotional states. Despite having a wide variety of associated signs and symptoms, the Addiction Syndrome has a distinctive progression that reflects the underlying disorder. For example, people with addiction tend to experience some or all of the 3 C’s:

  • Craving that can range from mild to severe
  • Loss of Control
  • Continued involvement with the drug or behavior pattern despite the presence of adverse Consequences

We Help Determine the Primary Causes and Consequences of Addiction

At The Dunes, treatment focuses on the many causes and consequences of addiction. Staff at The Dunes identify, examine and treat the web of factors that led to the development and maintenance of addiction. This process of assessment and diagnosis begins with a thorough and careful evaluation of each patient’s psychological, social, and medical history. Once a working formulation is developed, Dunes staff work with each patient to establish a specific and individualized treatment plan. This plan is reviewed and revised throughout the treatment process to reflect client progress and difficulties. While at The Dunes, staff will teach clients how to substitute more healthful patterns for their addiction-related behaviors.

Individualized Treatment to Encompass the 3 C’s

This strategy permits and encourages individualized treatment. Various treatment modalities, fitted to client needs, offer the promise of more positive outcomes. For example, treatment might include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT), family and experiential therapies and pharmacotherapy. A treatment plan usually consists of an integration of a variety of treatment approaches. The Dunes staff match treatments to these specific needs of the client and their individualized plan is designed to provide the most effective treatment for them at that particular moment in their experience of addiction.

1 Shaffer, H. J., LaPlante, D. A., LaBrie, R. A., Kidman, R. C., Donato, A. N., & Stanton, M. V. (2004). Toward a syndrome model of addiction: multiple expressions, common etiology. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 12(6), 367-374.

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