Individualizing Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Treatment: Time to Fully Embrace a Chronic Disease Model

Richard Gustin, Jake Nichols and Peter R. Martin



The current opioid epidemic in the United States is changing our perceptions of the face of addiction. Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) has become pervasive and is affecting all ethnicities, races, socioeconomic classes, the young and the old. In 2015, 46 people will lose their life each day to a chronic brain disease that is going unnoticed and undertreated. Over the last five decades, numerous scientific and clinical breakthroughs have allowed for a better understanding of the mechanisms underlying addiction, and the development of medications that can help support a patient’s long-term recovery. All of those that have contributed to these advancements have aided in redefining addiction as a primary, chronic disease of the brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry; however, our treatment strategies have not necessarily advanced to the same extent as our current understanding of the disease. This commentary will explore how personal philosophies can bias treatments strategies and definitions of treatment success, and prevent adoption of chronic disease treatment models that would significantly improve the quality of life of those suffering with OUD. This is a challenge to consider how our views and stigma can impact a patient’s recovery. We are currently losing a battle with a disease that is taking the lives of 46 individuals daily; it is time to fully embrace a chronic disease model which comprises an integrated pharmacopsychosocial approach for treating the biopsychosocial disorder that is addiction to reverse these trends.

Published on: February 19, 2015
doi: 10.17756/jrds.2015-003
Citation: Gustin R, Nichols J, Martin PR. 2015. Individualizing Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) Treatment: Time to Fully Embrace a Chronic Disease Model. J Reward Defic Syndr Addict Sci 1(1): 10-15.