When I reviewed the studies on psychiatric drugs and treatments most commonly used for mental health patients, I found very little or no evidence of effectiveness. The “disease model” of psychiatry and mainstream medicine does not work. In fact, numerous patients even got worse and a number of human rights legal cases have even been filed against brain drugs over the decades.
Why are people so readily satisfied with the short cuts and simplifications of the medical disease model of mental health? It seduces us to our wish for a quick fix and instant gratification that does not require us to struggle with life issues — as if changing our lives are as simple as popping a pill or abstaining from an addicting substance or activity. It gives the appearance of magic.
In addition, although insights from psychotherapy can be useful tools, I see a need to go beyond them too. You will surely need to work on your addiction or psychological disorder specifically. But what I believe the most crucial work is lies in what you need to think, feel, and do in regard to the direction of your overall life, of which addiction or a mental health problem is just one expression.
To heal beyond the drug-based or disease model concentrates on strengthening the “life skills” a person needs to replace an addiction or emotional dysfunction with deeper satisfactions and better ways of coping. These include personal, marital, and family therapy; emotional and social skills training; job skills; spiritual life savers; and stress management. Then, there is what I call a “community reinforcement approach” or involvement in therapeutic groups where people’s lives are addressed as a whole as well as their addictions.
The ultimate goal is “whole life” natural recovery and transformation — which disease-oriented treatment says is impossible. There is no reason why you are unable to shed the “addict identity,” for instance, and altogether put your self permanently on a new, healthy plane of existence. It is within reach. If you believe it, and act on that belief.