Is Addiction A Disease Or A Choice?


The question I get asked the most as an addiction specialist is “is addiction a disease or a choice”  Is it nature’s fault or is it all about nuture? The debate has been going on for years. Without going into a full academic essay about this and citing all sorts of clever people, my answer is always the same. It is both….

At the Medical College of Wisconsin, Dr. Robert Risinger scans the brains of human addicts while they watch a video of people getting high on crack. It’s what they call a “craving” video. He then shows them a hard-core sex film.

The brain scans show the addicts get more excited by the craving videos. The drugs become more powerful than sex — because addiction’s a disease that changes your brain, says Dewey.

Dewey is suggesting that drug users don’t have free will.

He believes that they they actually lose their free will as the cravings become so overwhelming.

But if they don’t have free will, how come so many people successfully quit?

Addiction expert Sally Satel acknowledges drug addiction and withdrawal is “certainly a very intense biological process.” But she is one of many experts who say the addiction-as-brain-disease theory is harmful to addicts — and wrong.

Many doctors agree, saying you can still choose not to take drugs, even if they do cause changes in your brain.…/addiction-matter-choice
So although I get asked this question time and time again and answer that i find that both the ideas of addiction being a disease or a choice are important the thing that really appears important to me is how you deal with the problem behaviour. Is it not more important to seek help to stop the behaviour and then explore at your leisure what it is that might have triggered the behaviour initially?

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