Addiction Is A Brain Disease Essay

1119 Words Sep 26th, 2016 5 Pages
Leshner and Addiction
A prevailing belief in the field of addiction is that drug addiction is a “brain disease” characterized by “uncontrollable, compulsive drug craving, seeking, and use, even in the face of negative health and social consequences” (Leshner 2). In his article “Addiction Is a Brain Disease,” Alan I. Leshner claims that repeated use of drugs alters brain structure and function (1) and that once addicted, few are able to revert back to occasional use (2). Because of their “uncontrollable” behavior, he believes addicts cannot quit on their own and need formal treatment (4). Although Leshner’s ideas represent wide held beliefs in the psychiatric field, recently an array of studies, such as Rat Park and the Vietnam veterans, produce evidence that disproves Leshner’s beliefs that addiction is compulsive, does not exist on a spectrum, and needs professional intervention to resolve, and instead suggests that environmental factors play a larger role in addiction and recovery than was previously believed.
Although Leshner states addicts’ drug use is “uncontrollable [and] compulsive” to the point that it causes obvious harms, experiments conducted by Cart Hart and the study Cocaine Changes show that addicts retain control over their drug use. In his TED Talk “Let’s Quit Abusing Drug Users,” Carl Hart describes his experiment where he asked cocaine users to choose between five dollars in cash, and cocaine worth more than five dollars. He found a 50% split between the…
Open Document