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Why Addiction Is Not a Disease: An Interview with Dr. Marc Lewis

Is addiction a disease or not? That’s one of the most pressing questions in addiction research and recovery today. Neuroscientist, retired professor, and author Dr. Marc Lewis is convinced that addiction is not a disease, and he explains why in this fascinating interview.

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Is Addiction a Disease? What Medical Experts Think

Some say that struggling with a substance abuse problem is a sign of bad decision-making and poor moral fiber. Experts disagree with this somewhat flip assessment. Sure, a bad choice might have gotten you started, but biochemical changes make it extremely difficult to stop. So, is addiction a disease, and if so, what is its target?

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Is Addiction a Disease? An Interview with Dr. Sally Satel (video)

In the last twenty years, the idea of addiction and the brain disease model - in other words, the concept that addiction is a disease - has soared in popularity.

It is supported by many respected individuals and organizations. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) currently defines addiction as “a chronic and relapsing brain disease.”

Similarly, the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) calls addiction “a primary, chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory and related circuitry.”

But does that mean that the millions of Americans who struggle with addiction cannot recover fully?

Do these definitions encompass the true nature of addiction, or is there more to the story? 

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