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Is addiction a disease or not - Essay Example

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June 2, 2015 Addiction: A Disease or An Extreme Form of Learning? Introduction The voluminous search on varied concerns regarding addiction could immediately be proven through the search engine. One’s own research on the topic generated as much as 32.3 million results in merely 0.22 seconds (addiction)…
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Is addiction a disease or not
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Is addiction a disease or not

1). Saah, on the other hand, provided the meaning of the term as “a personality disorder, (which) may also be seen as a worldwide epidemic with evolutionary genetic, physiological, and environmental influences controlling this behavior” (Saah: Introduction par. 1). The National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) presented its meaning as “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences” (NIDA par. 1). These definitions have disparities in terms of identifying addiction as a state of dependence, which is a behavioral or personality condition; as contrasted to it being identified as a disease of the brain. The aim of the current discourse is to determine whether addiction is a disease or just an extreme form of learning. Background and Review of Literature The history of having diagnosed addiction as an abnormal condition was noted to have originated from the 1800s where doctors allegedly worked with patients, identified to have been diagnosed with alcoholism and drug addiction, as confined in private sanitariums (Origins Recovery Centers). Only in 1934 was it disclosed that a particular doctor, Dr. William D. Silkworth, had apparently revolutionized finding appropriate and effective treatment for addiction through the establishment and close link of working and being supported by a group of committed individuals. As noted, “it was the doctor’s belief that an addict has both mental and physical abnormalities” (Origins Recovery Centers par. 5). At this stage, addiction has already been identified complex in terms of containing mental, as well as physical abnormalities; components which were separately identified in definitions noted above. From the study written by Sussman and Sussman, the authors explored the various definitions of addiction. Accordingly, the authors included “elements of addiction derived from a literature search that uncovered 52 studies include: (a) engagement in the behavior to achieve appetitive effects, (b) preoccupation with the behavior, (c) temporary satiation, (d) loss of control, and (e) suffering negative consequences” (Sussman and Sussman 4025). The authors have likewise uncovered the date of origin of examining addiction cases to the 1700s from the study written by Meyer entitled “The disease called addiction: Emerging evidence in a 200-year debate” (Sussman and Sussman 4036). On the contrary, addiction was emphasized that it was not at all a disease but instead, an extreme form of learning. Lewis contended that other emotions, such as love, also alter the brain; yet, not called a disease. He argued that “physical changes in the brain are its only way to learn, to remember, and to develop. But we wouldn’t want to call learning a disease” (Lewis par. 9). To this, he aptly concluded that “addiction (whether to drugs, food, gambling, or whatever) doesn’t fit a specific physiological category. Rather, I see addiction as an extreme form of normality, if one can say such a thing. Perhaps more precisely: an extreme form of learning. No doubt addiction is a frightening, often horrible, state to endure, whether in oneself or in one’s loved ones. But that doesn’t make it a disease” (Lewis par. 11). Analysis of the Definition of Addiction and Confirmation From the definitions that were provided, one affirmed that these ... Read More
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