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Biopsychosocial Model & Substance Abuse Treatment

What Is the Biopsychosocial Model & How Does It Apply to Substance Abuse Treatment?

When it comes to understanding behavior, including addiction, there are multiple approaches that can be taken. The three most common are a biological approach, psychological approach, and social approach. In the field of addiction, these three models and those who follow them are often at war, believing their way is best and offers the only true solution. But for most people, that’s simply not the case.

What Is the “Bio-psycho-social” Model?

The biopsychosocial model takes an inclusive approach to addiction treatment, combining all three elements of the above-mentioned treatment models into a workable approach. For most, this is the best treatment option, as addiction does not just impact one part of a person’s life, it impacts all of it. That’s why the biopsychosocial model of recovery seeks to treat the whole person, not just his or her addiction.

Because of this multi-dimensional treatment style, a more holistic approach is taken and treatment becomes personalized and flexible. The biopsychosocial model accepts the fact that every person’s pathway to addiction is different; what they experience is different, why they do it is different, and how they get better is different. This model takes that into consideration and is designed to address each person’s needs to increase the potential for life-long recovery.

Recover From Biopsychosocial Model & Substance Abuse Treatment

What to Expect from Biopsychosocial Addiction Models?

The biopsychosocial model takes three different approaches to treatment and combines them into one. Here is just a sample of what that can look like.


  • Biological: Addiction is a disease of the brain, but can be treated through therapy and behavior modification. It’s caused by a certain imbalance and some are more prone to it than others. This approach also addresses withdrawal symptoms and cravings, as well as the health problems created by addiction.
  • Psychological: This focuses on the psychological causes of addiction and the impacts it has. This can include past trauma, depression, and low self-esteem, and the impact drug and alcohol abuse has on mental health and well-being.
  • Social: This aspect of the biopsychosocial model discusses family and relationships and how they have both fostered addiction and can be utilized to support recovery. It discusses people, places, and things, and improving relationships hurt by addiction.

While not every model to addiction treatment works for everybody, an integrated approach like the biopsychosocial model provides a well rounded path to recovery that does more than just focus on the addiction. It works to heal.

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