Social Approaches Addictions Recovery

Throughout this center on addiction we have emphasized the Bio-Psycho-Social-Spiritual (BPSS) model of addiction. We have reviewed that the development of an addiction rests heavily on individual biological factors. However, recovery from addiction rests heavily on individual psychological factors. In contrast, the social component of the BPSS model emphasizes the influence of social groups. Interestingly, social groups affect both the development of addiction, and the recovery from addiction.

Social approaches to addictions treatment fall into three basic categories. First, there is the macro-group (or cultural) approach. The macro-group approach evaluates the influence of large groups on the recovery process, and the effect of addiction on larger groups. Second, there is the micro-group (or social) approach. This approach considers an individual's smaller social circle of family, friends, and community. With respect to addictions treatment, the family is the most influential component of someone's social circle. Sometimes these two approaches are collectively termed a socio-cultural approach. Third, there is the social support approach to addictions recovery. This approach capitalizes upon the benefits social support. Social support groups are typically groups of people with similar problems and difficulties. They meet to discuss their hopes, disappointments, successes, and failures. Therefore, our discussion of addiction recovery would not be complete without reviewing these three social approaches to addictions recovery.


This TED video, "Transcending Addiction and Redefining Recovery," by Jacki Hillios addresses the questions: should we view someone "as their disease?" Does community and social support matter in addiction treatment? What does strength have to do with it?