Addiction Disease or What?

I went to an addictions seminar several years ago and the guest speaker was Gabor Mate. His theory on addiction is explained in his book “In the Realm of the Hungry Ghost: Close Encounters with Addiction” In his book he introduces the idea that addiction is not a disease or a primary disorder. He suggests that people who have been traumatized significantly are pre-disposed to addiction and ADHD. Stanton Peele PhD is another harm reductionist and suggests stress in life contributes to this addiction but disagrees somewhat with Mate about trauma being the sole reason people have addiction. Never-the-less both are in agreement that addiction is not a disease.

In addition, my early studies of William Glasser also suggest that disease is not appropriate terminology when dealing with addiction and other disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM). A practicing psychiatrist, he has also authored and co-authored numerous books on mental health, counseling, and the improvement of schools, teaching, and several publications advocating a public health approach to mental health versus the prevailing "medical" model. And there are many more theorist who don’t adhere to the disease idea.

One thing all the above professionals have in common is healthy relationships, love and attachment and have compassion on people who are experiencing symptom of mental health distress

I study Somatic Experiencing (SE) as I know it is a naturalistic approach to help people recover from PTSD and Trauma.  My belief is that trauma and PTSD are underlying causes to addiction, anxiety ADHD, depression and probably much more in many cases. SE is gentle non-threating way to resolve trauma and bring people to wellness. Recovery is within our grasp we just need to develop an ability to listen to our physiology and allow our body and autonomic nervous system to do what it does.

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Boise, ID Therapist

Tim DeSantis, LCPC, ACADC, SEP

  3350 Americana Terrace
Suite #210
Boise, ID 83706