Addiction : Disease Or Choice Disorder?

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Disease or Choice Disorder?
Philip L. Fischer
Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis

Addiction – disease or choice? This debate is far more complex than many imagine. For us to even understand the discussion, we must have understand the terms. Addiction is commonly used as an equivalent for dependence which, according to John Jung, is “the state in which the user no longer seems to be able to control his or her usage… a strong physiological or psychological need to use alcohol or drugs” (2001, p. 40). According to Dr. Marco Diana, a disease or pathology is “A derailment from normal functioning of a system/organ/cell (physiology), and ultimately of the whole organism” (2013, p. 1). From my limited understanding of neurobiology, psychology, and behavior, I have come to the conclusion that addiction, whether to alcohol or other drugs does not meet the requirements of a disease. I will examine some arguments from both sides to illustrate the complexity of the issue, and why I have come to this conclusion. When Elvin Jellinek proposed the disease model of alcoholism in 1960, it was received as a welcome replacement to the moral model that had been held previously. This model posited that alcoholics could not control their drinking and required medical attention rather than incarceration (Jung, 2001, p. 41). Neil Levy, spoke against the disease model in his journal article published in Frontiers in Psychology in April 11th, 2013. His

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