The Biopsychosocial Model

I'm a clinician, not a neuroscientist, so I can't talk about the last little micro-molecule. I can talk about the things that I need to know in order to stay sober; things that tell me that I've got more than I can just pray away or wish away; but the rest is my experience, strength and hope. We'll begin with an overview of the Biopsychosocial Model of the disease of addiction.

Alcoholism was defined as a primary disease in 1955 and as a drug addiction in 1987. Stanley Gitlow, who was a leader in this field for years, called this disease "Sedativism". This term also fits diseases of compulsivity such as sexual addiction and sexual dependency. We have yet to get it accepted as a diagnostic disease in the DSM, but why can't it be? Sure there are plenty of people who are acting out who don't have sexual compulsivity. But there are many people in AA who don't have the disease of alcoholism. And plenty of people in NA who don't have the disease of drugism. If you ask me to tell you which players don't have a scorecard, I can't do it. So we accept all comers. You just get in there and find a great way to live.

So Gitlow saw that anything that changed the way I felt, was going to have a calming influence on my brain. I could take methamphetamine, lie down and go to sleep. That's because I don't have a normal brain. Normal people take meth and then run around like a headless chicken, until someone wrestles them to the ground and puts them to bed. But I could take it and go to sleep. So obviously it was a sedative for me, even though it's a stimulant in my brain. This is what Gitlow meant by Sedativism.

This is a chronic, progressive, fatal but treatable illness.