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A Critical Look At Brain Disease

Good Essays
Caitlin Martin
SYP4550
11/23/2015
Paper #2 A Critical Look at "Brain Disease" Addiction, such as drug or alcohol addiction, is explained by a Dr. Nora Volkow in a HBO series on addiction as "a disease of the brain that translates into abnormal behavior." This disease is known as brain disease which "refers to disruptions in the brain 's motivational and reward circuitry that results from the cumulative effect of repeated use of certain substances." The documentary, Addiction, drove home the point that drug addiction is a brain disease that is a chronic condition but one which can be treated and taken care of. These are the claims of Dr. Volkow and others in reference to people who deviantly drink or are addicted to either licit or
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As stated by Orcutt, "there may be no better example of how claims making by powerful groups in government, the media, and private enterprise has advanced the process of medicalization than the HBO Addiction Project."
The brain disease concept from this documentary series restricts our understanding of complex behaviors such as drug addiction or alcohol use as a large population of society wonders why these people don 't simply stop the negative behaviors that they are engaging in. This disease perspective sends a message to the public that an addict 's condition is amenable to a medical cure and that the language used is more to describe conditions such as schizophrenia and other such afflictions that have not been brought on by the sufferer themselves and that cannot modifiable by the person 's desire to do better. From the brain disease perspective; addiction is something beyond these people 's control and is in part contributed by genetic dispositions and a chemical imbalance in the brain among other things, and not something based on an individual 's choice and behaviors leading to heavy drug use. The studies from the video, as well as other sources, typically cite the brain as the organ in which addiction is said to reside yet this is not perfectly clear and has not been thoroughly scientifically explored. Images of the brain are shown in the videos, one of a normal healthy person and one of a person who has an addiction. While this is true to an extent,
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