Biological focused treatment addresses physical issues that contribute to addiction. This includes a wide range of considerations: everything from sleep and diet to body composition and brain chemistry. Biological treatment might also look at genetic predisposition to addiction and other health concerns like high blood pressure that can be aggravated by addiction. Treatment options include:

  • Sleep “hygiene”

  • Changes in diet

  • Drug tapers (Slowly weaning off of a substance with the support of a medical professional)

  • Inpatient hospital treatment to monitor potentially fatal side effects of detoxing or going “cold turkey”

  • Medications to do the following four things:

  1. Lessen severity of cravings (ex: Wellbutrin reduces cravings for Tobacco)

  2. Manage uncomfortable side effects of detox process

  3. Remove euphoric feelings or “high” that accompanies substance use (ex: Naltrexone for Alcohol and Opiates)

  4. Produce uncomfortable side affects when substance is used (ex: Antabuse makes people feel nauseous when they consume alcohol)

Treatment for Social factors addresses “social systems” that either block or promote addictive behaviors. The word “systems” refers to the complex web of groups and organizations that people belong to. Systems can be very personal (immediate family, circle of friends and support networks) or much more broad (cultural identity, gender identity and nationality).

The systems that a person belongs to can be used to either promote or block addictive behaviors. A person’s social network is a common example of a system that often promotes addictive behavior. When people decide they want to change their behavior, they often realize that they have to find an entirely new circle of friends. The same can sometimes be said for family systems. Options to address problematic social systems include:

  • Sober Living Environments
  • Family therapy
  • Couples counseling
  • Recovery Oriented “communities” such as:
  1. SMARTRecovery—uses cognitive/behavioral approaches to work with addiction)
  2. LifeRing Secular Recovery
  3. Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Annonymous, etc.
  4. Refuge Recovery (Buddhist Recovery Group)
  5. Overeater’s Anonymous
  6. Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
  7. Debtors Anonymous

Please feel free to contact me here with any questions or if you'd like to schedule a free 20-minute initial consultation.

Copyright © Dario Martinez, All rights reserved.


Psychological treatment addresses underlying mental and emotional factors that can either lead to addictive behaviors or reinforce an already existing predisposition to addiction. Common psychological “issues” such as anxiety, depression, ADHD, and trauma often play an important role in addictive processes. Treatment options include:

  • Individual therapy or counseling
  • Group therapy
  • “Psychoeducation” to learn more about addictive processes
  • Craving management “toolbox.”
  • Relapse prevention strategies
  • Mindfulness practices such as meditation to increase distress tolerance
  • Emotion Management techniques to decrease impulsivity
  • Psychiatric medication to lessen the severity of mental health “issues” such as anxiety and depression.

What is Addiction?

What Treatment Options Are Available?

By Dario Martinez

Before defining addiction, it might be useful to clear up some common misconceptions:

Addiction is NOT a lack of willpower, a moral issue or a character defect.

Instead, Addiction is a “biopsychosocial” condition that causes people to engage in compulsive behaviors, even when behaviors create negative consequences. The term biopsychosocial means that there are 3 primary factors that contribute to addictive behaviors:

1. “Bio” refers to a person's physical biology and genetics
2. “Psycho” highlights Psychological factors
3. “Social” refers to the environment and social systems that people belong to.

All three components are interrelated, and each person has a unique biopsychosocial makeup. If someone decides they want stop engaging in an addictive behavior, their biopsychosocial makeup becomes an important consideration because for some people, addiction has strong roots in their biology while other people use substances to manage psychological pain. Developing a deeper understanding of someone’s biopsychosocial makeup helps us determine how to focus treatment and which treatment options will be most effective.

Here is a brief description of treatment options available within each of the three components:

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