Loading...

Can You Get Over An Addiction?

Written by:

at August 10, 2016

My posting from Monday (“What if Addiction Is Not a Disease?” https://soberlawnews.com/what-if-addiction-is-not-a-disease/) stirred a tremendous amount of controversy and discussion (https://www.facebook.com/soberlawnews/), all of which is healthy and necessary.  It appears I am not alone in asking (if not demanding) that we begin the movement towards a relatively standardized model of care (which includes both treatment, if needed, and more importantly, recovery support services).  I feel as if we are debating whether the world is flat, or whether leeches are the best form of medical care. It’s not that anyone is “wrong,” but there is science, and then there is experience.

In the June 25, 2016 Sunday NY Times’ Opinion Page, writer Maia Szalavitz writes a first-hand account in her piece: “Can You Get Over an Addiction?” about this very discussion. She writes:

There are, speaking broadly, two schools of thought on addiction: The first was that my brain had been chemically “hijacked” by drugs, leaving me no control over a chronic, progressive disease. The second was simply that I was a selfish criminal, with little regard for others, as much of the public still seems to believe. (When it’s our own loved ones who become addicted, we tend to favor the first explanation; when it’s someone else’s, we favor the second.)

We are long overdue for a new perspective — both because our understanding of the neuroscience underlying addiction has changed and because so many existing treatments simply don’t work.

Addiction is indeed a brain problem, but it’s not a degenerative pathology like Alzheimer’s disease or cancer, nor is it evidence of a criminal mind. Instead, it’s a learning disorder, a difference in the wiring of the brain that affects the way we process information about motivation, reward and punishment. And, as with many learning disorders, addictive behavior is shaped by genetic and environmental influences over the course of development.

[However, we] treat no other medical condition with such moralizing — people with other learning disorders aren’t pushed to apologize for their past behavior, nor are those affected by schizophrenia or depression.

Once we understand that addiction is neither a sin nor a progressive disease, just different brain wiring, we can stop persisting in policies that don’t work, and start teaching recovery.

Maia Szalavitz is the author of “Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary New Way of Understanding Addiction.”

Tags:

SOBER LAW NEWS IS A LEGAL WEBSITE PROVIDING NEWS, COMMENTARY AND OPINIONS ON THE ADDICTION TREATMENT AND RECOVERY SERVICES INDUSTRIES. THE ARTICLES REPOSTED ON THIS SITE TAKE AN IN-DEPTH LOOK AT CURRENT TRENDS IN THIS DYNAMIC HEALTH CARE SECTOR AND THE LAWS THAT GOVERN ITS REGULATION AND GROWTH. OUR HOPE AND PURPOSE IS TO PROVIDE RELEVANT AND ACCURATE INFORMATION TO THE PUBLIC AND TO POLICYMAKERS THAT WILL HELP GUIDE THE PROVISION OF ADDICTION TREATMENT OUT OF THE SHADOWS AND INTO TRANSPARENT, MAINSTREAM HEALTH CARE. THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS WEBSITE IS FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND IS INTENDED AS A PUBLIC SERVICE. ANY QUESTIONS OF A LEGAL NATURE SHOULD BE DIRECTED TO AN ATTORNEY, AND THE INFORMATION ON THIS WEBSITE IS NOT INTENDED TO REPLACE LEGAL ADVICE FROM A LICENSED ATTORNEY IN YOUR STATE. BY USING THIS WEBSITE, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU MAY NOT RELY UPON OR REFER TO THE CONTENTS AS BEING LEGAL ADVICE OR GUIDANCE PROVIDED BY JEFFREY C. LYNNE, ESQ., WITHOUT HIS PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This