Who’s “we”? by Jason Schwartz

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This article has been forwarded to me by several people. Its author has been writing a series of articles that seek to redefine addiction and recovery. As Eve Tushnet recently observed, “There’s another narrative, though, which is emerging at sites like The Fix and Substance.com.” This sentence is representative of this alternative narrative: “The addiction field has struggled with defining recovery […]

Dopamine and addiction – the difference between wanting and liking

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Dopamine is important for reward, but is it directly related to pleasure? Research suggests that dopamine is more important for ‘wanting’ (motivational drive) than for liking. You might have a pathological ‘wanting’ your drug of choice, even after you have long stopped ‘liking’ it. Opioids and endocannabinoids may be more important for liking. In this […]

Do we disable people by calling addiction a disease?

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I spotted a tweet a few weeks back vigorously opposing calling addiction a disease. A few weeks before this, someone I follow on Twitter was advocating for the terms “addict” and “alcoholic” to be abandoned because they are stigmatising. I thought of the tens of thousands of recovering people meeting weekly in Britain’s six and a […]

Addiction brain science – the dangers

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A week or so back I was exploring the potential benefits of framing addiction as a brain disease. Addiction brain science is a contentious issue and more so in the UK than in the USA. Over at Addiction & Recovery News, Jason Schwartz takes a look at an editorial in the journal Addiction which outlines some of the […]

Is addiction a brain disease? Does it matter?

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Is addiction a brain disease? It’s an interesting question. Researchers asked over 1,200 members of the public in Australia what their views were. Their paper, published in Drug & Alcohol Review, starts by laying out the challenges of finding consensus: In the USA, directors of the National Institute on Drug Abuse have argued that addiction is a […]

Faith in pharmacology

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Holy grails are few and far between. Pharmaceutical holy grails are no different. They are as rare as a moderate position in the Scottish independence debate. We have a few prescription drugs licensed to treat addiction and some make things significantly better, some have modest impacts, and some appear to have little impact. Regardless of […]

The disease of addiction. Disabling?

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I spotted a tweet earlier today vigorously opposing the notion of addiction as a disease. A week or two back, someone I follow on Twitter was advocating for the terms “addict” and “alcoholic” to be abandoned because they are stigmatising. I thought of the tens of thousands of recovering people meeting weekly in Britain’s six […]

Stigma: Overdosing on heroin doesn’t make you a scumbag

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On the day we heard that heroin was implicated in the tragic death of Peaches Geldof, I was reminded of another recent story. Thomas McLellan, a prominent US addiction researcher and policy advisor, lost his son to an overdose in 2008. A month or two back he wrote a piece  in the Huffington Post. He recounts that […]

Addiction is like diabetes, so treat it the same way

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Does addiction behave like diabetes? In some ways, yes. The two are common, acquired conditions influenced by genetics and environment. In the UK, diabetes is managed in primary care using the chronic care management model. Changes in legislation in the USA mean that there will be more focus on chronic disease management in the future. […]