THE DISEASE MODEL 1
The disease model of alcoholism argues that alcohol addiction resultsin a brain disease. According to this model, excessive use of alcoholalters the brain structure and operation. However, those opposed tothe model argue that the brain always reacts to new experiences andas such, addiction is learnt. According to Branch(2011), the fact that the brain structure of alcoholaddicts differs substantially from that of non-addicts does not makealcoholism a disease. Branch argues that while the brain structure ofreaders varies from that of non-readers, reading is not considered adisease.
Those who support the disease model of alcoholism assert thatresearch shows that some people are more predisposed to addictioncompared to others. As such their exercise of free will is alteredwhenever they find themselves in an environment that favorsalcoholism. According to Dick & Agrawal (2008), research inalcoholism reveals that alcohol dependence is twice higher inidentical compared to fraternal twins. On the other hand, the criticsof the disease model argue that considering addiction as a diseaseunderestimates other factors that have proved vital in determiningwhether a person ends up an addict or not. Rose & Dick (2012) intheir twin studies found that genetic factors accounted for 8% of theindividual difference on whether a child began drinking alcoholbefore the age of 14 or not. The researchers also found that the samegenetic factors accounted for 30% of the individual difference onwhether children reported of having drunk alcohol in the absence ofparents. As such, I believe that there are several loopholes in thedisease model, hence my position that it is not a valid model.
Branch, M. N.(2011). Drug Addiction. Is It a Disease or is it Based on Choice? AReview of Gene Heyman`s Addiction: A Disorder of Choice. Journalof the experimental analysis of behavior, 95(2),263-267.
Dick, D. M.,& Agrawal, A. (2008). The genetics of alcohol and other drugdependence. AlcoholResearch & Health, 31(2),111-119.
Rose, R. J.,& Dick, D. M. (2012). Gene-environment interplay in adolescentdrinking behavior. AlcoholResearch and Health, 28(4),222.