According to this model, addiction can be seen as a form of self-medication, where individuals use substances or engage in addictive behaviors to alleviate symptoms of mental health disorders, such as anxiety or depression. Recent studies over the past couple decades have brought evidence to question that understanding, and now the nature of addiction has become a common point of debate among specialists and the public itself. Does a person become locked into addiction because it is a choice that they are making and continue to make, or is it a disease that warps their brain and takes choice out of the equation? These are the two sides of the addiction debate, and which side wins plays a critical role in how medical professionals should approach addiction treatment.

  • I found little help from my own field, which is divided into sometimes clashing schools of thought about how addiction works.
  • Your provider may want to do a physical exam and may request blood and urine tests.
  • Today, though roughly two-thirds of states have civil commitment laws that specifically include substance use, many are rarely used.
  • And the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain responsible for rational decision-making, judgment, and control of behavior gets weakened, its connections to other parts of the brain pruned away.
  • In fact, the most identifying difference between drug misuse and a substance use disorder is a loss of control over drug use.

Michael Cohen Faces ‘Grueling and Brutal’ Cross-Examination: Lawyer

is addiction a disease or choice debate

The self-medication model recognizes that individuals may use substances or engage in addictive behaviors as a means of self-soothing or managing distressing emotions. However, over time, this self-medication can lead to the development of addiction. Understanding the self-medication model highlights the importance of addressing underlying psychological factors when treating addiction. By providing individuals with healthier coping mechanisms and addressing their emotional well-being, it is possible to reduce their reliance on addictive substances or behaviors. The self-medication model proposes that individuals may turn to substances or addictive behaviors as a way to cope with underlying psychological or emotional issues.

  • As many as 14 states had laws on the books before the turn of the 20th century allowing for civil commitment for “habitual drunkenness”.
  • This is particularly troubling given the decades of data showing high co-morbidity of addiction with these conditions [25, 26].
  • While the debate on addiction may continue, it is important to find common ground and work towards effective solutions.

But Drugs Change the Brain

I understood addiction as a damaged condition that neatly divided me from the normal population. Addiction and physical dependence are often talked about as though they are interchangeable; however, they are separate phenomena that can exist without the other. 3 Someone using their opioid pain medications as prescribed can develop some physiological dependence but may not exhibit the compulsive behaviors of addiction. Conversely, some drugs may be used in a compulsive manner that indicates an addiction without physically relying on it to feel well.

The Role of Genetics in Addiction: Separating Fact from Fiction

A premise of our argument is that any useful conceptualization of addiction requires an understanding both of the brains involved, and of environmental factors that interact with those brains [9]. These environmental factors critically include availability of drugs, but also of healthy alternative rewards and opportunities. As we will show, stating that brain mechanisms are critical for understanding and treating addiction in no way negates the role of psychological, social and socioeconomic processes as both causes and consequences of substance use.

What is the most common addiction?

is addiction a disease or choice debate