Believing Addiction is a Disease May Be Bad for Your Recovery

How could believing addiction is a disease be bad?

addiction-is-a-diseaseThere are now several studies suggesting that individuals who believe their behavioral problems (either addiction or mental health) are a disease may have more trouble recovering from them. The most recent study found that individuals who believe obesity is a disease are less focused on weight loss.

If someone views himself or herself as having an addictive disease, there seems little benefit in trying to change that view (and possibly much to lose). However, if someone does not view addiction as a disease, is attempting to instill that view worthwhile?

Given that viewing addiction as a disease may be a high-risk belief, promoting that belief is inconsistent with promoting recovery. Unfortunately, many US addiction treatment facilities seem unable or unwilling to work with clients who do not adopt the disease perspective. A contrary approach is found at Practical Recovery, and SMART Recovery, which promote tools for recovery that are applicable regardless of someone’s beliefs about addiction as a disease.