is addiction a disease or a personal choice?

18 August, 2007

Via MindHacks, a very good post about the question of whether addiction is a disorder of the body or of the will. It is very creative in its use of what is often thought of as a 100% physiological and genetic disease as an example.

This topic is much in the media recently (perhaps someone is plugging a book and I have missed it?)  I recommend the post as an orientation to the issues.

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4 Responses to “is addiction a disease or a personal choice?”

  1. onecrazymom Says:

    Addiction is a form of weakness. Addicts have no will power. There is no bodily disorder that forces an addict (against their will) to try drugs for the first time. It is a weakness of character, plain and simple.

    I’m the sister of a hopeless drug and alcohol addicted young woman. We share the same genes and the same impulsive tendencies. I knew at a very early age that I would have to reign it in and always be mindful of what I did to and with my body. As a result, I don’t drink alcohol, smoke, or consume caffeine. I am smart and strong enough to know what I need to do in order to stay in control. She, on the other hand, is too weak and stupid to care.

  2. Ed Tajchman Says:

    addiction is a personal choice that can become an actual physical disease, if you alter the chemical balance of your body.

  3. Momb Says:

    There are circumstances where addiction is NOT a choice, per se. Specifically, use of a powerful drug prescribed by a physician can become addictive, even though the patient has not misused the drug. If you were in a serious accident and unconscious for a period of time, and doctors gave you morphine or codine for pain, you could certainly become addicted, and it would be totally uncontrollable by you. There are many instances of a physician prescribing an addictive drug out of necessity, knowing full well that it is addictive, with the reasoning that the patient is better off not being in pain (or whatever), and that of two evils, curing an addiction is the lesser of the evils compared to healing the patient , and is part of the care. Every brain is different and some people have the ability to overcome some addictions unassisted and some do not. To call addiction a character weakness is simpleminded; it’s like telling someone with cancer to get over it; it simply does not address any facts. To say some addictions are personal choice may or may not be true, depending on circumstances.

  4. Momb Says:

    Compared to NOT healing the patient, that is!


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