Social Model

The social model of addiction treatment accentuates the need for societal changes to aid individuals in recovering from alcohol or drug addiction. This approach focuses on helping individuals make positive lifestyle changes to maintain sobriety, often through community-based treatments. Recognising that addiction is influenced by social and environmental factors, the model sees individuals as more than just their addiction, prioritising overall well-being and social connections.

In understanding addiction, various models have been utilised over time. At WeDoRecover, we adopt the Social Model of Addiction to largely inform our approach in supporting and advocating for individuals struggling with addiction.

The social model posits that ‘addiction’ is not merely an individual issue but is largely constructed by societal factors.

This model stands in contrast to the traditional medical model of addiction.

According to the medical model, ‘addiction’ is viewed primarily as a health condition that should be treated by medical professionals. Individuals struggling with addiction are often seen as deviating from ‘normality’ or as abnormal. The condition is perceived as a problem of the individual.

From the medical model’s perspective, a person with an addiction requires fixing or curing. This viewpoint treats addiction as a tragedy and those experiencing it as deserving of pity. The focus within the medical model is on the limitations and what individuals cannot do or be.

Conversely, the social model identifies ‘addiction’ as the outcome of the interplay between individuals with addictive behaviours and a society rife with physical, attitudinal, communicative and social barriers. This implies that it is the societal environment that must evolve to allow individuals experiencing addiction to participate fully and equally within the community.

Adopting a social model perspective does not ignore the reality of addiction or its impact on the person. However, it challenges society to adapt and accommodate addiction as part of the wider spectrum of human diversity.

The social model aims to transform society to better include individuals with addictive behaviours rather than expecting these individuals to change to fit societal norms. It supports the belief that people dealing with addiction have the right to be active, contributing members of society, enjoying equality with others.

The social model of addiction is now increasingly recognised as the appropriate way to view and address ‘addiction’. It signifies a shift in how society perceives and responds to addiction issues.

People experiencing addiction are not to be seen as merely objects of charity, medical treatment and social protection but rather as subjects with rights, capable of asserting those rights, making decisions for their lives based on informed consent and being active participants in society.

In this framework:

Addiction is seen as a complex interplay between individual vulnerabilities and societal influences rather than solely a medical condition.

The barriers that contribute to sustaining addiction are not just the addictive behaviours themselves but include societal attitudes, policies and environments that fail to support recovery and integration.

It is not the addiction alone that hinders an individual’s full participation in society but rather the societal barriers that need to be dismantled.

Originating in the 1960s, this holistic approach includes group therapy, peer support and community involvement. It encourages active participation in treatment, creating resilience and skill development necessary for overcoming addiction. Peer support, a key element of the social model, offers empathy and shared experiences, helping individuals find motivation and understanding. The model also strives to create a safe, stigma-free environment, acknowledging the important role of family, friends and community support.

This approach, deeply rooted in the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and similar programs, highlights the benefits of peer support, attitude changes towards treatment, establishing strong support systems and learning new skills and hobbies for sustained sobriety. When combined with other treatments, the social model effectively facilitates long-term, positive changes in individuals’ lives.

What is Social Model? Addiction Summary

The social model of addiction and its impact on recovery. Explore the summary and key aspects of this approach. Get help from qualified counsellors.

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    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specialising in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance our organisation facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualised care that addresses the physical, mental and social needs of patients.

    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.

    Inpatient Rehab

    Rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.


    If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.


    Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

    Mental Health

    Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.

    Finding the right rehab close to you is simple with WeDoRecover. Our network includes the finest rehab centers, ensuring personalised, quality care for your recovery needs. Let Gareth Carter and our empathetic team help guide you to a center that feels right for you, offering expert care and support. Start your healing today by choosing a rehab that's not just close to you, but also that truly cares about your loved ones recovery.

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