Join Statement on Dual Disorders: Addiction and other Mental Disorders

The World Association on Dual Disorders, the WPA Section on Dual Disorders and the Spanish Society of Dual Disorders have joined forces to clarify that:

Addiction is a Mental Disorder, not a voluntary, self-indulgent act

  • Dual disorders is a term applied to people who have an addictive disorder and another co-occurring mental illness. It is related to interacting neurobiological and environmental factors involved in behaviors of substance and non-substance related disorders. Nobody chooses to become addicted, and addiction is not a matter of weakness of will, a consequence of self-indulgent behaviour or a result of the mere pursuit of pleasure.
  • The above mentioned national and international scientific associations have drawn up a statement supporting the notion that addictions are mental disorders in response to unfounded claims to this assertion.
  • Patients with mental disorders, including addictions, should have access to a multidisciplinary care model that integrates and/or coordinates the mental health network and the addiction network, thereby avoiding the so-called “wrong door syndrome”.
  • The mental/brain disorder model of addictions has yielded to the development of effective preventive measures, treatment interventions, and public health policies. However, the concept of substance use disorders and dual disorders as brain diseases continues to be questioned, possibly because the neurobiological basis of these compulsive behaviors have not been fully explained.