Viewpoints: Is Addiction a Disease?

Date Released: 1 November 2016

 We’ve long heard we can’t blame people for their addiction because it’s a disease, but is it?

The case against: Nicole Lee, Associate Professor at the National Drug Research Institute, Curtin University. We used to think of “addiction”, or what we now call dependence, as a moral failing. This had the result of blaming the person who was addicted – it was a matter of willpower and they just weren’t trying hard enough. So the obvious solution was shaming and scolding until they did.

 The case for: Femke Buisman-Pijlman, Senior Lecturer in Addiction Studies, University of Adelaide. Our understanding of addiction or dependence is still growing and with it we change the way we describe it. A model to explain dependence can be useful to help a user or family member understand the illogical behaviour or help the general public understand the need for a specific treatment.

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Last Modified: 1 November 2016, 12:11 PM, by: Danielle Terrell

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