STAGE 4. Selecting the theoretical approach

What steps should be completed?

Step 1: Select the theoretical approach or approaches on which the intervention will be based


What are its bases?

According to this model (approach), addictive behaviour and drug dependence are the result of the interaction between psychological, biological and social determinants. The subject, in constant interaction with the environment, learns behaviours that are consolidated with time in the form of rules of action.

Practical implications

The Biopsychosocial Model emphasises the importance of promoting individual and social responsibility in the maintenance of health, understanding this to be a process of continuous development on a physical, psychological and social level. Therefore, the following practical recommendations are given:

  • It is necessary to intervene in all factors or elements that affect the substance dependence.
  • Interventions should be personalised.
  • The person, substance and environment must be taken into consideration throughout the intervention.
  • Drug addiction treatments should take into account the individual, the family and their immediate social environment.
  • Dependence not only involves physical problems, but also has repercussions in the psychological, family and social and employment spheres.
  • An interdisciplinary approach to drug dependence is required.
  • Treatment of addictions should be complemented by help with health, social and psychological problems.
  • There are different stages in the treatment of addictions, according to the development of the addiction.
  • The process of social inclusion is achieved by a person accompanied by the necessary social support from professionals who contribute backing and advice to the process to help the affected person use their own abilities to the full.



Engel GL. (1977). The need for a new medical model: A challenge for biomedicine. Science. 196 (4286):  129-136.