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Knowing this, one can believe addiction is a disease.



In a book entitled Treating Substance Abuse, Theory and Technique 2nd edition, says “This first and probably least controversial of the disease models can be termed the “medical consequences model.” (Page 11).

, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology at Boston College, is author of

For those of us in recovery, continuing to say that we have a disease sounds like we’re some sort of lepers to be kept away from society. And it sounds like there’s no hope for us when we say we’re sick with this ‘brain disease.’

Is it a choice or just an effect.

The big question regarding addiction is whether it is a choice, or a disease one acquires....

Schaler further objects to the disease model on grounds that it encourages passivity on the part of the addict. This it might well do if one imagined addiction to be a disease just like cancer, with a more or less inexorable progression. Indeed, it is this sort of simplistic, literal disease model that Schaler sets up for the kill. But it’s a straw man since few, if any, of Schaler’s opponents actually take such a view; they understand full well that playing an active role in one’s own recovery can dramatically affect the prognosis.

But surely it is possible to view addicts as responsible, moral agents (albeit agents who are severely compromised in the late stages of addiction) without resorting to obscure notions of libertarian free will which deny that choices have causal histories. Individuals, to be held accountable, don’t have to be free in some ultimate, contra-causal sense as Schaler so often implies, they just have to have the capacity to respond to, and anticipate, social rewards and sanctions. We are justified in assigning a certain measure of blame to the addict for his condition, not because his choice wasn’t determined by biology and environment, but because assigning blame (e.g., stigmatizing excessive drug use, withholding certain privileges) can help to modify future choices, both of the addict and those who witness his predicament. Libertarians imagine that only the radically autonomous core of self can be the proper object of praise and blame, but such a self, if it existed, would actually be immune to such influences. Only a self which is fully a function of biology and culture is the sort of self that moral injunctions could modify, and it’s all we need to ground a robust sense of moral agency.

"(Drug addiction) is a disease that tells you that you don’t have it.

What most people do not understand, is that no one really chooses to be an addict.

On the other side, lawyers for Philip Morris and other tobacco giants argue that smokers were well aware of the risks of smoking and could have chosen to quit anytime. After all, the Surgeon General’s report publicizing the danger of cigarettes came out in 1964, and many people do quit, some even after years of heavy smoking. Since the smokers bringing these lawsuits presumably knew the risks, it was their informed, uncoerced decision to continue smoking which explains the huge toll of tobacco-related sickness and death, not anything tobacco companies did.

There’s something to be said for why some people can be prescribed medications – with a known potential for abuse – and not abuse them, and why others become full-blown addicts. The same thing goes for people who spent their teen and college years “partying” – using weed, alcohol, cocaine, and club drugs – but then who seemingly are able to “just grow out of it.”

But, scientific evidence argues otherwise: addiction is a brain disease.
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To this day she questions that theory, because it really is a choice.

At one point, Schaler suggests that even a complete determinist could accept his free will model, as long as the distinction between voluntary and involuntary behavior is acknowledged (p. 69). But nothing in the rest of his book suggests he could seriously countenance a thorough-going determinism. After all, from a scientific explanatory perspective, the voluntary is just as determined as the involuntary, it’s just a matter of the causes involved: reflex arcs or complex interactions of biology and culture. This means that an "explanation" of addiction as a function of free will, willpower, or an ultimately personal choice (see quote above) is a patent evasion of any factual account of how the voluntary choice to use addictive substances actually arises. And Schaler’s book is a litany of such evasion, despite his occasional lip service to science. Held hostage by libertarianism, Schaler gives very short shrift to plausible explanations of addictive behavior, and ultimately does the field a grave disservice by denying the reach of science into the realm of choice.

Addiction: A Desease Or A Choice? :: Drugs Alcohol

, many will find something deeply attractive about Schaler’s thesis, since it stakes out a moral dimension to addiction which a full blown disease model seemingly lacks. By insisting that addiction is a choice within the control of the addict, Schaler joins other libertarian psychologists such as Herbert Fingarette, Stanton Peele, and Thomas Szaz in their appeal to the common sense notion of personal responsibility: no one starts drinking or smoking with a gun to their head, so if addiction ensues, who’s to blame? Not society or biology, surely.

People argue whether drug addiction is a disease or a choice

"And what of people who do not want to quit? Why explain their behavior using terms such as weak will and physiological addiction? Those people simply choose to continue smoking, even if a doctor or loved one has suggested they quit. They aren’t suffering from a weak will. They have an iron will: they choose to continue smoking against medical advice." (p. 59, emphasis added)

the disease and choice of drug addiction - UKEssays

"Most of us know people who smoked for years and then quit abruptly. Their bodies had adapted to nicotine and since they chose to quit, they did. Question: What do we attribute that behavior to? Answer: the exercise of free will.

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