This article addresses the claim that science has demonstrated that addiction is a disease of the brain. It identifies the significant opposition that exists to that claim amongst “scientists, academics and professionals interested in addiction” and provides references to source material that lays out the opposition.
The article cites numerous types of studies that underscore factors involved in addiction other than a putative brain disease. For example, it references a 2009 book by Gene Heyman and colleagues that examined large-scale longitudinal surveys and found that between 76 and 83 per cent of “respondents who had ever met DSM criteria for substance dependence” were in remission which “was achieved without benefit of treatment.”
That finding, the article notes, is incompatible “with the notion of a compulsive, chronic disease.”
The article also identifies problems inherent in the brain disease model of addiction and its impact on further study and resolution of addiction problems.
It was written by Nick Heather, Emeritus Professor of Alcohol and Other Drug Studies in the Department of Psychology at Northumbria University.