Social Models Application to Addicted Clients

Introduction: Demographic Characteristics and Addictive Behavior History

Social factors can play a critical role in addictive behaviors such as substance and alcohol abuse. In this regard, the social models of addiction imply that one’s habits develop based on the attitudes of family members or peers. According to Sussman (2020), programs implementing this method focus on peer-oriented processes that facilitate healing and rehabilitation. The case study chosen for this assignment features a 45-year-old Irish Catholic Caucasian male. This paper aims to apply the social models of addiction to the client from the case study, recommend treatment strategies, as well as discuss how sociocultural factors affect the social models and professional development.

To begin with, it is necessary to summarize my client’s demographic characteristics and addictive behavior history relevant to the social models of addiction. My client seeks treatment after serving time in jail for a severe automotive incident. He is a middle-aged divorced male who has two children, aged 20 and 18, with neither of them living in the same household. My client currently lives alone and frequently drinks, describing alcohol as his “way of life.”

He began drinking with peers during his teens and developed an addiction in the military with episodes of extreme alcohol abuse. Currently, he works in the construction industry, which is known for a high tolerance for alcohol abuse, which results in a lack of sanctions for related attitudes and poor work performance. My client has an older brother and father who both live in the same city and abuse alcohol. All three maintain contact and engage in excessive drinking. The client’s father and brother experienced numerous DUIs, episodes of extreme drinking, and arrests for public intoxication. As can be seen, family and friends are the primary environmental factors influencing addictive behavior in the given scenario.

Applications of Social Models

It is worth noting that the family systems model is pivotal in addiction treatment in this case. It focuses on the consequences of adverse behaviors within a family and addresses the problem with the social factors in mind. Furthermore, the public health prevention approach is essential as it aims to maintain the health of the whole nation with regard to every citizen (Fox et al., 2020). My client’s demographics and history suggest that he would benefit from the combination of the family systems model and the public health prevention approach since it would define the specific goals and desired outcomes. In other words, this method will address the problem in a holistic manner, considering the fact that individuals as social beings cannot be understood in isolation. Based on my interpretation, I would recommend involving my client in a sober support team with a mentor. During meetings, he would be able to develop self-confidence, self-esteem, and healthy attitudes to life, resulting in a change for sobriety.

Sociocultural Factors and the Social Models

In the given scenario, sociocultural factors such as family structure, family roles, peer influence, and community support negatively affect my client’s addictive behavior. In particular, his brother, father, and coworkers facilitate the drinking, and as a result, all aspects of social life are connected to alcohol. From the perspective of the social models, family relationships are pivotal in influencing the development of addiction (Fox et al., 2020). In the case of my client, his frequent attendance of bars also contributes to the environmental, cognitive, and behavioral factors influencing his alcohol addiction.

The media does not fully present social models of addiction with the same support shown to the medical, pharmaceutical, and recovery industries, resulting in an impression that genetics and pathology are the only factors (Sussman, 2020). In fact, sociocultural factors may contribute to addictive behavior. According to Fox et al. (2020), they include the sense of community, lifestyle appeal, stress relief, peer relationships, and familiar influences. At the same time, such factors as positive peer groups and healthy boundaries are the factors that can be helpful in overcoming the addiction from the perspective of the social models of addiction.

Sociocultural Factors and Professional Development

Awareness of sociocultural factors affects my professional development since it improves my understanding of the contributing factors of addictive behaviors. At the same time, I can observe how media portrayals of the disease model discount the role of social, familial, and environmental determinants of alcohol abuse. In my view, race, education, economic status, and neighborhood quality can negatively affect one’s chances of becoming addicted due to a number of associated risks for certain groups of people. Similarly, family structure, family roles, family systems, peer pressure, and community support can impact an individual’s chances of becoming addicted or recovering from addiction. Negative attitudes result in adverse consequences, while support and healthy behaviors decrease the risk of the alcohol problem.

The adoption of the social model of addiction can help me succeed as an addiction professional since this approach considers social and familiar factors as essential and develops effective recovery programs with this idea in mind.


To conclude, the social model of addiction is a framework that views social and behavioral factors and an individual’s relationships with others as contributing factors to developing an addiction. This viewpoint is critical since understanding the role of family, peers, and communication can offer an opportunity for comprehensive treatment programs, which tend to be more effective than the disease model. There is no universal procedure; hence, an individual’s background and sociocultural factors must be considered to achieve the desired outcomes.


Fox, H. C., Karim, A., & Syed, S. A. (2020). Bio-behavioral indices of emotion regulation: Potential targets for treatment in addiction. Current Addiction Reports, 7, 333-343. Web.

Sussman, S. (Ed.). (2020). The Cambridge handbook of substance and behavioral addictions. Cambridge University Press.

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