I don’t get it

scott_pilgrim__noclue_getsit_by_nippey-d31sjjcYesterday, I read this, “we still don’t get addiction” article and was a little bemused.

The article presents an argument that addiction is a learning disorder and presents this as a controversial theory.

It’s not.

She also presents it as a theory that undercuts the ideas that addiction is a brain disease and that it’s a chronic disease.

It doesn’t.

Addiction is a disorder of learning. It’s also a disorder of motivation, a disorder of pleasure, a disorder of  memory, a disorder of stress responses and a disorder of choice. Environmental and social factors influence the development, course, severity and response to treatment. None of this is considered controversial.

Without much controversy, ASAM recently defined addiction as, “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.”

For years, I’ve advanced the idea that there are multiple mechanisms involved in addiction and that some addicts may have all of them, while people with  less severe substance use problems might have one or two. I’d also assume that we do not know of all the mechanisms.

Somehow, “we” still don’t get it.

The post is clearly meant to discredit most of the information we know and hear about addiction. Why? Especially on the basis of an idea that’s so widely accepted? I don’t get it.

I wasn’t the only person who noticed. DrugMonkey took exception with a post titled “Insinuations, misdirections, straw arguments and obsfucation in drug abuse journalism“.

2 thoughts on “I don’t get it

  1. You were bemused and I was left scratching my head. Although in her comments at the foot of the article the author summarises what she was trying to say which is not what she actually said. There’s also a ‘penny drops’ last sentence:

    “My entire argument is basically that if you reduce addiction to *just* biology or *just* culture or *just* any one piece, you will miss its essence. But you’ll have to wait for the book for that”


    1. Yes. I see now that the problem is our reading comprehension.

      It gets tiresome. A friend likened it to an overly certain food critic who has never cooked.


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