(July 2015) Addiction is not a disease: A neuroscientist argues that it’s time to change our minds on the roots of substance abuse
One of those neuroscientists is Marc Lewis, a psychologist and former addict himself, also the author of a new book “The Biology of Desire: Why Addiction is Not a Disease.” …
Can a psychologist really be called a “neuroscientist”? Or is that a fancy term for a wanna-be neurologist?
“Addicts aren’t diseased,” Lewis writes, “and they don’t need medical intervention in order to change their lives. What they need is sensitive, intelligent social scaffolding to hold the pieces of their imagined future in place — while they reach toward it.”
ThisOldMan Jul 9, 2015
This article is based on the belief that no drugs are good drugs. It’s not that simple, as the many widely accepted benefits that non-psychoactive drugs in society amply demonstrates. The brain is an organ which, like any other, is under complex and not fully understood chemical control. Society’s fear of psychoactive drugs no doubt stems from our ignorance of the brain’s chemistry and, beyond perhaps even that, our fear of “losing control”. But it’s not clear, to anyone who has thought about it very deeply, that anyone is really in control of their own thoughts and feelings, whatever that may really mean. Like any other force of nature, psychoactive drugs have their uses and their abuses, and the real question is ultimately political: WHO DECIDES? I just hope it won’t be the authors of this article …
This is an interesting article (with 452 comments, although many seem to be from AA members). Further to ThisOldMan’s comment, I think the author doesn’t understand the power of certain drugs on the brain — the chemical mixture of drugs and neurons, how they interact, how they combust. (Combust: to be consumed by fire.) We can blame the drugs, or we can look at the whole picture, including the need (in some, desperation) to relieve both physical and emotional pain. And how some people are unable to meet this need without drugs (or gambling, video games, sugar, sex, etc.).
As one example, let’s look at cigarettes — if cigarettes don’t prove that addiction is real, I don’t know what would.
Just like there are many levels of depression, there are many levels of addiction. Some addictions are easily managed, but most can be managed with the right education. And the right help.
But if we truly want to help those who suffer from addiction, then we have to look at all the different sources of pain and how to prevent them. How do we prevent physical pain (part of the human condition)? How do we prevent child abuse, rape, and violence? How do we prevent loss and grief? We will never be able to prevent all pain, so we should know how to treat the side effects of all this pain, including PTSD, depression, and addiction.
Drugs are not the enemy — they are here to help us. Is it even possible to prevent the harms that come from drugs/chemicals? (Shall we ask the oil and gas industry?) Is it possible to prevent the harms that come from being human?
And now you can see why the drug war has failed — you can’t change human behavior through discrimination, shame, and jail (maybe in the short-term, but rarely in the long-term). Those who suffer from addiction know this, and now chronic pain patients know it, too.