Current Models of Addiction and Controversy

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Wanida Rattanasumawong
Rasmon Kalayasiri
Pichai Saengcharnchai


Background : Addiction is an important and serious global public health problem. People of all
levels who are involved suffer the harmful consequence of addiction. After centuries of efforts to
resolve addiction problems, we continue failing to produce adequate results. A recent research
has guided that to develop more effective public health policies, prevention and treatment
strategies, we need to understand the underlying concepts of addiction.
Objective : To explore the most recent articles and findings in terms of models of addiction
theory and to understand the basic concepts and controversies of these different ideas.
We focused on introducing three basic theories which included the moral model, the
bio-psychosocial model (BPS) and the brain-disease model of addiction (BDMA) by using
PubMed, Google scholar and other medical databases published between 1990-2017.
Result: Addiction behavior is a complex framework. There are a number of models that have
been posed in an effort to understand and explain addiction. The first model viewed addiction as
a moral failure. Today, the moral fell out of favor. However, the moral model is guiding principles
of some spiritual and twelve-step program. The second model, the bio-psycho-social (BPS)
model. BPS model is a holistic and multidimensional perspective in understanding and treating
addiction. A BPS practitioner would assess all the available factors (biological, psychological
and social) and the level to which each contribute to the addiction, and then decide how to
best combine them into an individualized recovery plan for the patient. The third model is the
brain-disease model of addiction (BDMA). This model emphasize the biological underpinnings
of addiction and provided clinicians with a framework to guide targeted interventions and
discover several effective medications.
Conclusions : Models of addiction is not entirely or perfectly understood. The different concepts
and theories have led to many more questions and still, ongoing, controversy


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How to Cite
Rattanasumawong, W., Kalayasiri, R., & Saengcharnchai, P. (2018). Current Models of Addiction and Controversy. Journal of the Psychiatric Association of Thailand, 63(3), 295–306. Retrieved from
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