Should Addiction to Drugs Be Labeled a Brain Disease?

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Should Addiction to Drugs Be Labeled a Brain Disease? YES: Alan Lesher maintains that chronic use of drugs changes how the brain works so drastically that recurring use of drugs becomes its sole focus and thus addiction is a brain disease. Lesher says that determining physical or physiological dependency of drugs will no longer help the cause of addiction, ad that the main aspect of drug use is whether the drug eventually causes compulsive, uncontrollable cravings. It is these compulsive cravings that will do the most damage to the individual, their families, and society. Lesher says, “Addiction is a brain disease expressed in the form of compulsive behavior.” As with most chronic diseases, addiction should also be treated with multiple recurring treatments since the brain chemistry of addicts often causes them to relapse into drug use. Lesher makes his case that addiction is a brain disease by stating that addicts cannot quit taking drugs on their own because they require medical treatment like most ill patients. The authors final opinion on addiction is that initial drug use is present due to the voluntary behavior of the addict and while it does not absolve the user of their responsibility as it was their fault, once they have developed an addiction, their brain has chemically changed so much that they can not will themselves to quit and must be treated as though they have a medical disease. NO: Alva Noe states that addiction is not a disease of the brain. First, he points that not all addictions are chemical substances and there are many activities that can be addictive to people. These activities do not alter the brain in such a way to be able to say the addiction has changed the brain so much it is diseased. In addition, the American Society of Addiction Medicine declared addiction to be a brain disease based on findings that addictions effect

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